Posts Tagged ‘States Rights’

The Uncivil War

FOLLOW THE TEXAS EXAMPLE - Texans to TSA: You Keep Scanners, We’ll Keep Privacy

You’ve heard the Texas jokes, such as: A New Yorker points to Niagara Falls and tells a Texan, “You don’t have anything like that!” To which the Texan responds, “Naw, but we got a plumber who can fix it in 30 minutes.”

But they don’t joke about their rights and responsibilities, which is why they’re considering a plan to impose jail time on federal workers who want to enforce Obamacare provisions and are in the hunt to be the first state to require presidential candidates to document their constitutional eligibility.

Now, a government advisory board in Austin, joined by a team of citizen groups, is asking the city council there to tell the federal Transportation Security Administration that the government can keep its invasive airport pat-down procedures and nude-imaging scanners, and they’ll keep their privacy.

It is the Austin Airport Advisory Commission that has resolved, in a petition to the city council, that it is recommending the city “oppose theinstallationof [advanced image scanners] at [the Austin airport] and further oppose the practice of invasive body searching and encourages the city council to inform the TSA, the state and federal delegations of such opposition.”


The dispute over the invasive procedures has been heating up since before Thanksgiving,after the federal government announced it was ramping up security at the nation’s airports. It is installing X-ray machines that look through a person’s clothes, essentially allow TSA personnel to view a nude image of the passenger.

Alternatively, TSA employees have been giveninstructionsto pat passengers’ bodies, including private parts, in a procedure critics have called a government-sponsored sexual assault.

Several lawsuits have been filed over the procedures, and some states have announced plans to prosecute TSA agents who violate state pornography or sexual assault laws. Also,doctors have warned of a long list of contagious diseases agents could pass from one passenger to another in the process. And there have been warnings the scanning machines could cause cancer.

Further,a petition, already signed by tens of thousands, was launched demanding action against the intrusive airport screening procedures implemented by Janet Napolitano.

The Austin resolution, signed by Dale Murphy, chairman of the Austin Airport Advisory Commission, included a list of statements that:

  • WHEREAS, the [Advanced Image Technology] AIT health risks for passenger and screener, for short term and long term exposure, lack of health safety standards, and medical issues are not conclusively determined by a non-partisan evaluation; and
  • WHEREAS, privacy rights, especially for children, sexual assault victims, medical prosthetic users, children, senior citizens, women susceptible to breast cancer, pregnant women and other physical and/oremotionalchallenged travelers have not been satisfactorily addressed; and
  • WHEREAS, the TSA’s actions at other airports currently operating them have been the source of derision, ridicule, embarrassment, and other negative connotations reflecting poorly on the airport in question. These actions include the management and are therefore construed to be within their operating policy; and
  • WHEREAS, impact on passenger screening operations at the security checkpoints have been demonstrated by the TSA’s own video capture to routinely require at least three and up to ten times longer processing times compared to current standards, exacerbating the delay factor for a flight; and
  • WHEREAS, the AITs themselves most importantly can be rendered ineffective or marginally by their own admission (A March report from the GAO found that such scanners might not have detected the hidden explosive used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab); and
  • WHEREAS, the U.S. constitutional 4th amendment issues precluding unreasonable search and seizure, suspension of criminal process, and other basic freedoms of encroachment by the federal government cases being challenged in court are yet to be resolved.

The resolution also explained that the city itself is responsible for actions on its airport property.

The city board is being joined bya citizens’ campaign that is operating under the name

Testimonials include those of Austin resident Wesley Strackbein, a seventh-generation Texan, who recently told the city council that Washington “has declared war on the Constitution, and it’s time for Austin to fight back.”

“As you well know, the TSA has mandated the use of naked body scanners and intrusive pat-downs at our airports where no probable cause for wrongdoing has been shown – a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment,” he said. “This abuse is outrageous, and it must be opposed. Your own Airport Advisory Commission has rightly urged you to forbid the scanners and invasive pat-downs at Austin’s airport. Travelers at ABIA must be protected.”

He explained the federal government “cannot use one constitutional power as a club to bludgeon another constitutionally protected right. In the name of protecting us, Washington cannot suspend citizens’ right to free speech, right to due process, right to keep and bear arms – or ‘right to be secure in their persons.’ To do so would break our charter covenants and subvert the very foundation of this Republic.”

Strackbein said the city’s options are clear.

“Now is the time for this council to interpose against the unlawful demands of Washington – to check the TSA’s tyranny at the Constitution’s gate. This means that the naked body scanners and groping pat-downs must be banned at ABIA,” he said.

He told WND, “Momentum is building to see Austin become a safe-haven for liberty.”

The government has maintained an unchanged defense of the procedures, with TSA chief John Pistole writing in USA Today recently, “These machines are safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy. … Rigorous privacy safeguards are in place to protect the traveling public. All images generated by imaging technology are viewed in a walled-off location not visible to the public. The officer assisting the passenger never sees the image, and the officer viewing the image never interacts with the passenger.”

Pistole also claimed that the technology “cannot store, export, print, or transmit images,” although federal document indicates otherwise.

Politico over the holidays reported, “On the day after Christmas, readers of The Washington Post were given a real treat:pictures of naked men. The men in the pictures were fully clothed, but they were naked nonetheless, because the pictures came from airport full-body scanners. The machines provided graphic pictures of the male anatomy. True, they were no more graphic than Michelangelo’s David or Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (that’s the naked guy with his arms and leg stuck out), but both of those were depictions, not actual people trying to heft their wheelie bags on the conveyor belt.”

Texans Move to Nullify Federal Education?

A new article in The Austin-American Statesman reports that Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the Texas State Board of Education, has introduced a new bill to the board that would nullify the Federal Board of Education’s claim to authority in Texas. The resolution posted by The Statesman reads as follows:

The resolution posted by The Statesman reads as follows:


WHEREAS the members of the State Board of Education as elected officials. have each independently taken an oath to uphold the Constitution ofthe United States; and

WHEREAS. preserving the integrity of our Constitution is essential to preserving both the appropriate jurisdiction of and the limitations upon our federal government; and

WHEREAS unauthorized government intrusion beyond the parameters outlined within the Constitution is tantamount to a direct assault upon the rights ofthe states and ultimately an assault upon the rights of the sovereign, the people; and

WHEREAS. to allow such a blatant attack upon the rights of the states and the people to go unchecked would be to allow the establishment of tyranny; and

WHEREAS. in preserving and upholding the Constitution. it is incumbent upon this Board to also recognize the Constitution’s nature as a document of enumerated powers and that the 10th Amendment specifically reserves all other rights not enumerated therein to the states and the people; and

WHEREAS. authority over educational policies does not fall within the purview of the Federal government and. as such all efforts by the federal government towards such control are unconstitutional; and

WHEREAS, any federal legislation that attempts to impact the direction ofeducational policy’ is made in excess of Congress’ authority and devoid of any merit; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Education is an unconstitutional bureaucracy. an inappropriate tinancial burden upon the taxpayers ofthe United States and without authority to impose any meaningful or substantive restrictions upon the state of Texas or any’ of its independent school districts.

RESOLVED that the Texas State Board of Education does hereby publicly declare the Department of Education to be an unconstitutional entity which is totally devoid ofany rightful authority; and be it further

RESOLVED that the Texas State Board of Education will not in any way acknowledge or recognize directives regarding the establishment of educational policy lor the state of Texas from either the Department of Education or from unconstitutional federal legislation; and be it further

RESOLVED that this resolution shall be presented to the Department of Education and that a copy of this Resolution be included in the permanent records of the State Board of Education; and be it further

RESOLVED that said Department of Education shall be put on notice that any such unconstitutional directives given by it to the Texas State Board of Education will be met with the principle of nullification and the clear admonition of “Don’t Mess with Texas!”

WITNESS our signatures this day of   ___ in the year of our Lord two thousand and _ Austin, TX

Though far from a reality, the very existence of this bill is an indication that the Federal Government’s monopoly on education policy may be waning.  Dunbar’s motivation for the removal of Federal control may be rooted more in her own personal theology than liberty, but her bill could easily be taken up by mainstream Texans who simply want to have a say in what their children are taught in public schools.

Your Declaration of Independence from Obama and Pelosi

Do you remember the Contract with America? Millions of Americans came together to demand action from Washington on issues ranging from abortion and gun rights to out of control spending and regulation. And we won. Conservative candidates swept the polls and held back Washington’s power grabs, waste and self-indulgence for almost a decade. That was 16 years ago. Since then, politicians have abandoned America. Election after election, we see the same results. Incumbents get comfortable, outsiders become insiders, and before we know it… everything we worked for vanishes in the haze of bloated budgets, waves of illegal immigration, and outbursts of federal power. It’s time for a new Contract. We have gathered the 10 most important conservative issues into a list that we demand action and adherence to

Declaration of Independence
We, the undersigned American voters, are disgusted with the antagonism of many of our elected and appointed government officials toward American values, their violations of their oaths to uphold our Constitution, and their manifest disdain for our God-given, constitutional rights and liberty. The words and deeds which have come from such an attitude have made our federal government the most serious threat to the safety and freedom of Americans in our time.
You, our elected and/or appointed officials, are our representatives. Your authority over us is not unlimited: it is limited by our fundamental law, our Constitution. We expect you to uphold, not subvert, our fundamental values. We expect you to abide by your oath to support our Constitution. If you represent us, you should publicly support—in action as well as in speech—at least the following American principles:

Article I: Limited Government
The federal government has been given clearly limited and defined powers in the Constitution in order to preserve our freedom. The idea of Big Government running every aspect of our lives—from healthcare to the cars we drive—is revolting and unconstitutional. The founding fathers designed separation of powers with checks and balances into the Constitution to decentralize power and preserve our liberty. A constitutional amendment requiring term limits for all publically elected officials is necessary. Presidents, congressmen, senators, and judges who violate the Constitution’s limit on the powers of their offices—and do not work to prevent other officials’ transgressions of those limits—must be removed from office.

Article II: Gun Rights
The Second Amendment guarantees private citizens the right to keep and bear arms. The federal government has no authority to restrict this right in any way, shape, or form. Federal officials who do so must be removed from office.

Article III: Courts
Judges should interpret the law by studying the intentions of the framers of the Constitution and its amendments, and by adhering to legal precedents which are based squarely on those intentions. Judges who legislate—or amend our Constitution—from the bench must be removed from the bench.

Article IV: Federal Spending
Unconstitutional legislation and fiscal irresponsibility have produced out-of-control deficit spending that is crippling our future—and our children’s and grandchildren’s. The only way to bring Congress under control is to restrict how much they can tax and spend and one way to accomplish this is through a balanced budget amendment. Legislators and presidents who engage in uncontrolled spending must be removed from office.

Article V: Energy
Americans should be free to pursue energy options which use our own resources, don’t tax us to subsidize politically-favored groups, and don’t enslave us to foreign countries. We need sensible, constitutional environmental rules—not environmentalist extremism—the removal of impediments to the development of nuclear and other forms of energy, and freedom to drill in Anwar and elsewhere. Politicians who stand in the way of energy independence must be removed from office.

Article VI: Personal Responsibility
Government handouts in any form take from some to give to others and create dependence. Government does not exist to provide for its citizens and our Constitution does not authorize such legalized theft. Current federal compensation programs, including “corporate welfare”, should be phased out—and politicians who advocate such things should be removed from office.

Article VII: National Defense

A strong national defense is a constitutional as well as a practical necessity in this hostile world. Our citizens and our national interests must be protected. Terrorists should be tried in military tribunals and not given the rights of American citizens that so many of our troops have died to defend. Our military forces must be kept second-to-none: by a large margin. Politicians and officials who weaken our national defenses must be removed from office.

Article VIII: Borders
Secure borders are essential to the defense of our lives, liberty, and property. There is a legal way to come to this country and we welcome those who do so. Those who do not are breaking the law and should be treated as criminals. Amnesty is not an option for those who came here illegally. Politicians who advocate anything less must be removed from office.

Article IX: Right to Life
Human life unquestionably begins at conception. Ending the life of an unborn child via abortion is murder, is truly unconstitutional, and must be outlawed. Politicians whose character does not agree with this must be removed from office.

Article X: States Rights
The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The federal government has usurped many powers from the state governments. These powers must be returned to the respective states—for the sake of constitutionality and of our freedom. Politicians who oppose states’ rights must be removed from office.

We the people of these United States declare that we will support candidates who support these principles and work against those who violate them.

McCollum v. ObamaCare

Florida Attorney General and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is leading the charge to protect states from an intrusive federal government.


The Wall Street Journal
• AUGUST 6, 2010

“The brazen nature of this administration is undermining the basic rule of law, the confidence of the public, and taking away states’ authority—creating an ever stronger federal government. My role is to make clear we’re not going to put up with this.”
So says Bill McCollum, Florida’s attorney general, now vying to be governor of the Sunshine State. It wasn’t so very long ago that the job of a Republican governor was to promise lower spending, policies to encourage job growth, freedom in education, tax relief.
In the age of Obama, Republican governors and candidates are redefining their role to become defenders in chief against an overweening federal government that is siphoning away states’ power and crushing them with new costs.
That’s why 20 states are suing for the constitutional overthrow of ObamaCare. It’s why Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal threw in with a lawsuit to kill the federal drilling moratorium. It’s why Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is challenging federal immigration policies. It’s why 18 governors in March signed a letter demanding the Senate protect their states against EPA climate rules.
Democratic governors, too, have felt compelled to protect their citizens. The EPA letter was signed by West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Kentucky’s Steve Beshear. Oklahoma’s Brad Henry is scoring the administration for its “net neutrality” policies. Montana’s Brian Schweitzer and Wyoming’s Dave Freudenthal both signed laws curtailing federal power over firearms.
Florida attorney general and GOP gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum is leading the charge to protect states from an intrusive federal government.
Mr. McCollum is perhaps the brightest example of this expansive shift in thinking. The flighty leadership of (formerly Republican) Gov. Charlie Crist, has, over the years, cast Mr. McCollum as a de facto head of his party’s more principled wing. He was the most visible state politician, for instance, to oppose the stimulus bill and early on he warned Congress that its health bill was likely an unconstitutional affront to the states.
When Democrats thumbed their noses, Mr. McCollum began assembling attorneys general to join him in litigation designed to bring down the law in its totality. He filed suit minutes after the president signed the bill.
Talk to Mr. McCollum and he will reel off an exhaustive list of recent mandates and laws that are sapping state powers. In addition to health care, Mr. McCollum has filed a brief in Arizona’s immigration fight, argued against the $20 billion federal oil fund that strips his office of its ability to work with BP on local claims, and demanded from the feds more authority to tackle Medicaid fraud.
He’s waged these fights in the effort to preserve state officials’ ability to govern effectively, though in the process he’s tapped into a deep voter discontent with Washington. Mr. McCollum is in a bitter primary fight with Rick Scott. The businessman has been relatively short on policy proposals, but way long on money. He’s spent a record-shattering $25 million of his own running ads casting the race as an outsider versus a “career politician.” The fact that Mr. McCollum is still swinging, despite being outspent 5 to 1, is partly due to his defense of Florida against Washington.
Only last week the Florida Chamber of Commerce—representing 140,000 state businesses—endorsed Mr. McCollum; one reason was his fight against health care. That fight has even earned the “career politician” the backing of activist groups seeking to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment allowing Floridians to opt out the federal health law, and of tea party leaders such as Dick Armey.
The McCollum stance has become so defining that in a recent debate among candidates vying to succeed him as attorney general the fight was over who would continue his lawsuit. Mr. Scott has been forced to support the litigation. And it has allowed both Republicans to paint Democratic candidate Alex Sink—who opposes the suit—as a Washington handmaiden.
Democrats have in return pounded Mr. McCollum, calling his health-care suit a political stunt on the taxpayer dime. This is somewhat amusing coming from a party whose own view of an attorney general’s duties consists of legally torpedoing companies, sharing the booty with trial lawyers, and using the recycled donation proceeds for re-election.
Mr. McCollum has brushed off the criticism of his lawsuit, noting that the cost of the handful of lawyers in the attorney general’s office working on this issue pales in comparison to the costs ObamaCare would impose on Florida.
This is in fact the heart of the McCollum argument. The federal Medicaid program, he notes, could soon be eating up 36% of Florida’s budget—and that’s before ObamaCare’s new costs. Federal health, education, environmental and labor mandates are chipping away at the states’ ability to keep their taxes low, to grow jobs, and to devote money to their own priorities.
The backlash extends beyond Florida. A whopping 39 gubernatorial elections will be held in November; in nearly all, candidates—and not just Republicans—are running on promises to fight the Washington power grab. “This is a wake-up call,” says Mr. McCollum. “It’s a defining issue of today.”

Virginia Suit Against Health Care Law Moves Forward

New York Times
August 2, 2010

A federal judge has refused to block a challenge to the Obama administration’s health care law brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The administration had asked the judge, Henry E. Hudson of Federal District Court, to dismiss the challenge by Virginia’s attorney general, Ken T. Cuccinelli II.
Mr. Cuccinelli had argued that Congress, in passing a measure that requires people to buy insurance or face a penalty, exceeded its limits under the Constitution’s Commerce Clause and tax powers. Mr. Cuccinelli had also argued that the federal law violated a state law, the Virginia Health Care Freedom Act, which declares that residents cannot be forced to buy health insurance.
Mr. Cuccinelli is one of 21 state officials fighting the health care law, and this is the first ruling by a federal court on the important question of whether states have the standing to sue.
Monday’s opinion does not address the merits of the health care law. It has no direct effect on the other state challenges, but it may influence the other judges.
In its briefs, the federal government argued that “this court would have to make new law and ignore decades of settled precedent” and “step beyond the proper role of the judiciary” to claim jurisdiction and block the legislation. Case after case has shown that the government’s powers to regulate interstate commerce and to create taxes reach far.
The federal government argued that Virginia had no standing to sue over the law, and that it had not stated a case it could win.
Judge Hudson, who was appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush, disagreed. In a 32-page opinion, he wrote that the law “radically changes the landscape of health insurance coverage in America.”
The case, he wrote, “raises a host of complex constitutional issues”; the notion that the government’s authority could include “the regulation of a person’s decision not to purchase a product” was new to the federal courts, the judge concluded, and so the state’s protest could not be dismissed outright.
A Justice Department spokeswoman, Tracy Schmaler, played down the ruling as “merely a procedural decision by the court to allow this case to move forward,” and predicted that the law would withstand court scrutiny.
“We are confident that the health care reform statute is constitutional and that we will ultimately prevail,” Ms. Schmaler said in a statement.
Stephanie Cutter, a Democratic consultant working with the White House, posted an entry on the White House blog attacking the opponents of the law.
“Having failed in the legislative arena, opponents of reform are now turning to the courts in an attempt to overturn the work of the democratically elected branches of government,” Ms. Cutter wrote. “This is nothing new. We saw this with the Social Security Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.”
“All of those challenges failed,” she said. “So, too, will the challenge to health reform.”
In a statement, Mr. Cuccinelli said he was “pleased” with the decision.
Randy Barnett, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center who was an early critic of the health care law on constitutional grounds, said, “This decision establishes the seriousness of the constitutional challenges to the individual mandate.” Lower courts, he added, “should be striking the law down” until the challenges reach the Supreme Court, which alone has the authority “to expand Congress’s power, if it wants to.”
Jack Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School who has expressed skepticism over challenges to the health care law, argued on his blog that “it is still very likely that the Supreme Court will uphold the individual mandate,” if the case gets that far.
“This is the very beginning of the very beginning of a process that will go on for a long time,” Mr. Balkin said in an interview.
Judge Hudson, in his opinion, recognized that the ruling was narrow and preliminary, and that there was much more to come. “While this court’s decision may set the initial judicial course of the case,” he wrote, “it will certainly not be the final word.”

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