Hat tip: Tenth Amendment Center
by Rob Natelson
May 22, 2010
It is a document designed to protect our freedom by imposing law on those who wield political power. Without such law, Americans would be under the constant threat of tyranny.
The word “constitution” did not always refer to a particular document. The word is based on the Latin verb constituere, which means to arrange or decide. In its original English sense, a “constitution” was how a political system was set up. People spoke (and sometimes still speak) of the unwritten and evolving “constitutions” of Britain and of the ancient Roman republic.
As I explain in The Original Constitution, the American Founders acknowledged a huge debt to the British and Roman traditions, but they consciously rejected the British and Roman approach to constitutions. Specifically, they rejected the “evolutionary” and “unwritten” constitutional idea in favor of a written document that would lay out the rules in an clear and organized fashion.
There were only a few precedents for this approach: Sweden’s “Instrument of Government” was probably the first. Under Oliver Cromwell (1649-58), the English adopted a short-lived “Instrument of Government,” and then a short-lived “Humble Petition and Advice.” The name of the latter English constitution suggests how little those documents tempered Cromwell’s autocracy.
by: Michael Boldin
hat tip: Tenth Amendment Center
March 25, 2010
Governor Gary Herbert has made Utah the third state to pass the “Health Care Freedom Act” into law. House Bill 67 (HB67) was introduced by Rep. Carl Wimmer and passed the House and Senate by votes of 53-20 and 22-7, respectively.
The bill “prohibits a state agency or department from implementing federal health care reform passed by the United States Congress after March 1, 2010, unless a state agency reports to the Legislature regarding costs and impact on state reform efforts.” It authorizes the state legislature to specifically approve or deny implementation of federal health care legislation.
In short, it requires the state “to opt out of federal reform when the state determines that opting out is in the best interest of the citizens of the state.”
Governor Otter of Idaho signed similar legislation last week, and issued the following statement:
“Congress and the White House are working out their scheme for pushing through a healthcare ‘reform’ bill that has more pages than the U.S. Constitution has words. I guarantee you that not a single member of the House or Senate has a complete understanding of that legislation any more than they understood all the implications of the USA PATRIOT Act back in 2001,” Governor Otter said. “What the Idaho Health Freedom Act says is that the citizens of our state won’t be subject to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control.”
Yesterday, Governor McDonnell signed the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which passed the legislature there last month.
More than 2 dozen other states are considering similar legislation or state constitutional amendments to do the same. Many legislators and governors are calling for a federal lawsuit to affirm the principles of the state laws. But some constitutional scholars, including famed legal theorist Randy Barnett, have indicated that decades of precedent from the supreme court makes such legal challenges difficult, at best.
Hat tip: Tom Mullen’s Blog
by Tom Mullen
Thursday, March 4, 2010
The U.S. Constitution is widely believed to have been written to limit the powers of the federal government and protect the rights of its citizens. Inexplicably, this belief is held even by those who acknowledge that the constitutional convention was called for the express purpose of expanding the powers of the federal government, supposedly because the government under the Articles of Confederation was too weak. That this was the purpose of the convention is not a disputed fact. Nevertheless, most people who care at all about the Constitution continue to believe and promote the “Constitution as protector of rights” myth.
To the extent that the Constitution enumerates certain powers for the federal government, with all other powers assumed to be excluded, it does set some limits on government. When one includes the first ten amendments of the Constitution, it also protects certain rights. Indeed, the ninth amendment makes the very important point that the specific protections of certain rights does not in any way deny the existence of others, while the tenth amendment makes explicit the implied limitation to enumerated powers in the Constitution itself. At first glance, the so-called “Bill of Rights” seems to confine government power within an airtight bottle, rendering it incapable of becoming a violator of rights instead of protector of them.
However, this theory does not hold up well under closer examination. To begin with, the Constitution itself does not protect a single right other than habeas corpus, and that comes with a built-in exception. What the Constitution does do is grant powers, and not just to a representative body, as the Articles of Confederation did, but to three separate branches. That leaves it up to the Bill of Rights to serve the purpose of protecting our rights. Generally, those ten amendments protect our rights under extraordinary circumstances, but not under ordinary circumstances. More specifically, the Bill of Rights provides protections for the individual during situations of direct conflict with the federal government, such as when one is accused or convicted of a crime, when one is sued, on the occasion of troops being stationed in residential areas, or when one speaks out against the government or petitions it for redress of grievances.
by Marc Gallagher
hat tip: Liberty Maven
February 27th, 2010
Editor’s Note: Sometimes it’s good to listen to the other side with an open mind because perhaps they know better. This article about Ron Paul was sent to us by our neo-conservative friend, Richard Deekbag, founder of the following website (we apologize for the length of the URL):
I mean just look at the guy. Ron Paul is all skinny, old, and wrinkly. His speeches are rambling diatribes supporting the long debunked conspiracy theory known as the U.S. Constitution. Everyone knows the Constitution expired more than 100 years ago and has no place in our Conservative-Progressive-Democratic-Socialist-Liberal-Republican (ConProDemSocLibRep) society.
After all it was Ru Paul’s isolationist ideas that lead America into its darkest period following the Revolutionary War after his idiotic idols, the Founding Fathers, defeated the British occupiers. Well, they were more like friendly visitors than occupiers. Visitors that honored the American colonies by taxing them heavily and treating them like peasants.
Everyone knows by now that Ron Paul’s efforts to abolish the massively successful Federal Reserve bank is kookier than cookies. The Fed has been our savior over and over and over and over and over again over the years. If it weren’t for the Fed the so-called “Great Depression” would have been much shorter. That’s a gigantic problem because we needed it to last much longer just to prove that government regulation is the lifeblood of the economy!
by Tom Mullens
Hat tip: Tom Mullens Blog
Saturday, February 27, 2010
If you are going to listen to Washington politicians at all, it is always best to listen to the party that is currently out of power. After each election, it is the job of the losers to try to attack the winners in any way they can. Often, they inadvertently advocate genuine principles of liberty in the process.
During the 8-year nightmare that was the Bush administration, it was the Democrats that stumbled upon these principles in their efforts to regain the throne. It was they who pointed out that the government should not be spying on its own citizens, that the president was assuming un-delegated powers through executive order, and that it was neither morally justified nor prudent to invade a third world nation that had committed no acts of aggression against the United States and lacked any reasonable means to do so. Their hysterical mouthpiece, Keith Olbermann, even went so far as to cite a long-forgotten document, the U.S. Constitution.
Of course, it is now abundantly clear that these arguments were made simply out of expediency. With the Democrats in power, it is now the Republicans’ turn to “fight City Hall,” and they have rolled out their usual rhetoric about small government, free markets, and traditional family values. Moreover, they, too, have rolled out the U.S. Constitution and waived it around in opposition to the Democrats’ plans to “spread the wealth around.”
Let’s take note that the Republicans are now correct in opposing the main tenets of the Democratic agenda, including expansion of government involvement in health care, “Cap and Trade,” and other wealth redistribution schemes. Amidst all of the usual noise coming from Washington and its media pundit class, it is only the Republicans that are making any sense at all.
by Paul Craig Roberts
The Washington Times is a newspaper that looks with favor upon the Bush/Cheney/Obama/neocon wars of aggression in the Middle East and favors making terrorists pay for 9/11. Therefore, I was surprised to learn on February 24 that the most popular story on the paper’s website for the past three days was the “Inside the Beltway” report, “Explosive News,” about the 31 press conferences in cities in the US and abroad on February 19 held by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an organization of professionals which now has 1,000 members.
I was even more surprised that the news report treated the press conference seriously.
How did three World Trade Center skyscrapers suddenly disintegrate into fine dust? How did massive steel beams in three skyscrapers suddenly fail as a result of short-lived, isolated, and low temperature fires? “A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7,” reports the Washington Times.
flickr image by wallyg
Hat tip: Utah Tenth Amendment Center
Written by: Gary Wood
27. Feb, 2010
Sen. Margaret Dayton (R-Orem) introduced SB-11, Utah State-Made Firearms Protection Act on January 25th, 2010. By February 16th the legislative debates were over and the bill was passed by both houses and sent to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature. After 10 days of public debate, with both sides of the issue encouraging action Gov. Herbert signed this fundamental legislation into law.
In a written statement Gov. Herbert explained his reasoning. “There are times when the state needs to push back against continued encroachment from the federal government. Sending the message that we will stand up for a proper balance between the state and federal government is a good thing.” Opponents will spend the next several days declaring their stance and criticizing his decision. At the same time the federal government will realize Utah has joined with Montana and Tennessee as states serious about the need for our federalist republic to be restored.
Our federal government is to be supreme in all matters pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. The improper precedents and usurpations under the federal judicial rulings surrounding Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (known as the Commerce Clause) are not supreme simply due to the fact they are outside the original meaning. By signing SB-11 Gov. Herbert places Utah in a position of proper authority while pressing the issue of supremacy back into the courts. As more states join this courageous move governing can begin the necessary restoration that will ultimately lead to the protection of people’s rights and responsibility.
by Derek Sheriff
Hat tip: Tenth Amendment Center
While speaking to a large crowd of over a thousand people on the campus of Arizona State University last December, Congressman Ron Paul mentioned one thing that might come about as the result of the federal government habitually ignoring the Constitution: Nullification.
About five minutes into the video segment which you’ll find below, he said, “There’s not much attention paid to the Constitution in Washington. There’s not much attention paid to it by our executive branch of government. And we don’t get much protection from our courts. So one thing that might finally happen from this if the people finally feel so frustrated that they can’t get the results out of Washington — They’re going to start thinking about options. They might start thinking about nullification and a few things like that.”
As someone who attended that rally and was doing my best to represent my state’s chapter of The Tenth Amendment Center, I know I cheered very loudly and was very pleased when the rest of the crowd applauded enthusiastically.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with the concept of state nullification, it was the idea expressed by then sitting vice president, Thomas Jefferson, when he authored what came to be called the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. The resolutions made the case that the federal government is a creature of the states and that states have the authority to judge the constitutionality of the federal government’s laws and decrees. He also argued that states should refuse to enforce laws which they deemed unconstitutional.