NAPOLITANO: Bad days for freedom – Washington Times

NAPOLITANO: Bad days for freedom – Washington Times.

Government is free to violate our civil rights at will

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Presently in America, nearly half of all households receive either a salary or substantial benefits from the government. Presently in America, nearly half of all adults pay no federal income taxes. Presently in America, the half that pay no income taxes receive the bulk of their income courtesy of the government, but ultimately from the half that do. This money is extracted involuntarily from the paying half by a permanent bureaucracy that extracts and gives away more each year no matter who is running the government. The recipients of these transfer payments rely upon them for subsistence, so they have a vested financial interest in sending to Washington those who will continue to take your money and give it to them.

It is no wonder that we are now saddled with the micromanagement of health care by the same bureaucratic mindset that mismanages the U.S. Postal Service and everything else the federal government runs. It should not be surprising to know that presently in America, half of the people actually want the government to take care of their needs. The same was the case under communist regimes, but here those folks vote.

Hence, we have laws that force us to be charitable to those whom the government designates as worthy of our charity, that limit the amount of salt that restaurants can put into our food, that permit the government to watch us on street corners and subways and in the lobbies of buildings, that let the president fight wars of opportunity, that permit the Federal Reserve to print money with no value and inflate prices and destroy savings, that allow the government to listen to us on our cellphones and use those phones to follow us wherever we go, and, according to CIA Director David Petraeus, that let the government anticipate our movements inside our homes.

As of the last week in June, the government has a vast new power that was brought to us by the Supreme Court’s latest attack on personal freedom. Congress can now lawfully command any behavior of individuals that it pleases – whether or not the subject of the behavior is a power granted to Congress by the Constitution – and it may punish noncompliance with that command, so long as the punishment is calleda tax.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s whimsical query during the Supreme Court oral argument on the health care law about whether Congress could make him eat broccoli suddenly isn’t as funny as it was when he asked it, because the answer is: It can fine him for not eating broccoli, so long as it calls that fine a tax.

Quick: If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? Answer: Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make a tail a leg.

How did we get here?

We got here because voters and the government we elected, and even the courts the popular branches appointed and confirmed, have lost sight of first principles. When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are a part of our humanity, and when we fought and won the Revolution under that premise, and when the first Congress enacted that language as the first federal law, this became the irrevocable recognition of the natural law as the basis for our personal freedom and limited government. Since our rights come from our humanity, they don’t come from the government.

But you would never know that from looking at the government. In New York City, where I work at Fox News Channel, we are all embroiled in two disputes this summer over the constitutional role of the government in our lives. The mayor, a self-made billionaire who likes donuts and has bodyguards but wants to tell others how to live in private and in public, is trying to ban soda pop in containers larger than 16 ounces and wants the police to be able to stop and frisk anyone on a whim – and all in the name of health and safety. He is actually banning freedom.

Imagine Jefferson being told what to eat or stopped and frisked on a whim. And then imagine the Supreme Court telling him that he must pay a tax if he fails to comport his personal, private behavior as Congress – which doesn’t believe in privacy or personal freedom – commands.

Here is how you can tell that these are bad days for freedom: Does the government need your permission to violate your rights, or do you need the government’s permission to exercise them? The answer is painfully obvious.

Presently in America, what are we going to do about it?

Andrew P. Napolitano, a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. He is the author of “It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government Is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom” (Thomas Nelson, 2011).

The death of the states. – Tea Party Nation

The death of the states. – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Judson Phillips

The United States started out as an unusual experiment.  When America was a young nation, people referred to it as, “These United States,” not the United States.

 Now we are seeing a radical change in the United States.  This is certainly not a change for the better.   What is this change and why is it so bad?

 The change we are seeing is the death of the individual state.

 Our founding fathers envisioned a union of states with a weak national government and stronger state governments.   There were certain things that a national government would be required to do, such as regulate trade (the Constitution is very explicit about this) and provide for the common defense.

 One of the greatest quotes about the individual states came from then Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who called the states, “The laboratories of democracy.”

 Brandeis’ idea was simple.  The states were sovereign and could compete with each other for the best ideas. 

 Today, the laboratory of democracy is closed.  Today, the sovereignty of individual states is dying.  The only question is when will the actual death occur.

 State sovereignty has been on the wane for decades.  As the power of the Federal Government grew, the power of state governments diminished.  At first this was slow and gradual.  Much of it was done voluntarily, as states gave up their rights in exchange for federal tax dollars. 

 On Monday, the Supreme Court decided the case of Arizona v. the United States and five unelected people in little black dresses gave the deathblow to state sovereignty.

 Antonin Scalia writing his dissent said that.  He wrote that the majority’s decision, “deprives States of what most would consider the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there. Neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports this result.”

 Today, state lines are becoming little more than antiquated lines on a map.  Pretty soon, the only power a state will have is the ability to make license plates. 

 Lawyers often say bad cases make bad law.  Arizona was a bad case.   Arizona had no choice but to bring its lawsuit.   We can lay the blame for this one right at the feet of Barack Obama and the Party of Treason.

 However, when we talk about assaults on state sovereignty, the Party of Treason is not alone in this.  Many of the big government expansions that have eroded state sovereignty have occurred under Republican Presidents. 

 If the Republicans are successful in taking the White House and the Senate (they will keep the House), then we will see the next incarnation of attacks on state sovereignty. 

 That will come in the form of Federal Tort Reform.   Some Republicans want to impose Federal Tort Reform on all of the states. 

 Many people have a knee jerk reaction to tort reform.  Oh, we don’t like the trial lawyers.  We don’t like lawyers, period.  Let’s hurt the lawyers.

 Since 1787, states have regulated state courts.  Since 1787, states have regulated licensed professionals in those states including doctors, lawyers and others.  In Federal Court, unless there is a lawsuit governed by a specific federal statute, state law controls the federal courts.  Lawyers cannot be admitted to practice before federal courts until they are admitted before the highest court of one of the states.

 To allow the Federal Government to impose tort reform on the states wipes out some of the last vestiges of state sovereignty, namely the ability to make its own laws.

 State sovereignty has always been the bulwark against they tyranny of a massive federal government.  Our founding fathers knew that.   That is why they purposefully made the Federal Government weak. 

 In the last century, citizens have stood by and watched as the Federal Government grew at the expense of the state government.  As the power of the Federal Government grew, the freedom of the citizen diminished. 

 As of Monday, state sovereignty is pretty much dead.  The only question now is when do we start calling our nation The United State of America?

EDITORIAL: Arizona fights ‘intrusion of obnoxious aliens’ – Washington Times

EDITORIAL: Arizona fights ‘intrusion of obnoxious aliens’ – Washington Times.

States need to protect themselves when Washington won’t

The Supreme Court ruled that the state of Arizona checking the citizenship status of people detained or arrested for other offenses is not racial profiling. The court, however, refused to address the core issue: What can states do to protect their borders when the federal government refuses to enforce the law?

The ID check provision of S.B. 1070, the Arizona immigration statute had drawn the most heat in the public debate. The law’s supporters were branded as racists, and liberal politicians exploited the controversy to pander for money and votes. While the justices noted the legal mandate could be applied in a discriminatory way, there was no evidence this had taken place, and that the law on its face was deemed constitutional. Justice Antonin Scalia noted in concurrence that Arizona’s measure, “merely tells state officials that they are authorized to do something that they were, by the [federal] government’s concession, already authorized to do.”

“In passing S.B. 1070, Arizona sought to enforce existing federal law in a way that the Obama administration wouldn’t,” Rep. Ben Quayle, Arizona Republican, told The Washington Times. He said the ruling was “an incomplete victory” but “empowers Arizona to enforce the law and keep its people safe.” The aspects of the rule that were struck down – those which imposed state criminal penalties for immigration violations – were nullified on the basis of the doctrine of federal supremacy, but the court refused to offer options to frustrated states trying to compensate for Washington inaction during a crisis.

Arizona and other states are fighting the Obama doctrine of cherry-picking which legal requirements the chief executive will enforce. This was the basis of the policy announced June 15 that the government would give large numbers of illegal immigrants de-facto amnesty by suspending deportation proceedings against them and allowing them to work in the country legally. The Department of Homeland Security added fuel to the fire Monday by announcing it was suspending agreements with Arizona police over enforcement of federal immigration laws. These and other actions call into question President Obama’s commitment to his sworn executive duty under Article 2, Section 3, Clause 4 of the Constitution to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Justice Scalia protested that the states, as sovereign bodies, have a right to various forms of self-defense to prevent, in the words of James Madison, “the intrusion of obnoxious aliens through other states.” He said this case dealt with “the defining characteristic of sovereignty: the power to exclude from the sovereign’s territory people who have no right to be there.” He stated, “neither the Constitution itself nor even any law passed by Congress supports” the notion that Arizona cannot detain and remove people present in the Grand Canyon State illegally.

America is at a crossroads in the desert. The framers of the Constitution didn’t envision a president preventing states from upholding the law. Mr. Obama’s actions eviscerate the Supreme Court’s logic and prove the very point made by backers of S.B. 1070 and similar legislation. When the federal government abrogates its constitutional duty to protect the states, the states must protect themselves. A statute on the books is useless when the occupant of the White House calculates that it’s in his political interest not to enforce it.

The Washington Times

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