“Those who created this country chose freedom. With all of its dangers. And do you know the riskiest part of that choice they made? They actually believed that we could be trusted to make up our own minds in the whirl of differing ideas. That we could be trusted to remain free, even when there were very, very seductive voices – taking advantage of our freedom of speech – who were trying to turn this country into the kind of place where the government could tell you what you can and cannot do.” – Nat Hentoff
Professor warns of Washington putting partisan politics over strengthening the nation
Our Constitution has become a suicide pact.
That’s the view of Thomas Jefferson, expressed in an 1819 letter to jurist Spencer Roane, when he said “If this opinion be sound, then indeed is our constitution a complete felo de se” (suicide pact). The opinion Jefferson referred to is the legitimacy of judicial review, the idea, as he put it, that “gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres.” He warned that accepting such a doctrine makes “the Judiciary a despotic branch” that acts as “an oligarchy.”
That “opinion” has been accepted. The despotism has befallen us. The oligarchy reigns.
In recent times federal judges have ruled that Arizona must provide driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, states such as Utah and Alabama must allow faux marriage, and a Wisconsin voter-identification law is unconstitutional. And these are just a few examples of judicial usurpations that continue unabated and go unanswered. But the answer, which needs to be given first and foremost by governors, is simple:
No – I will not abide by the court’s unjust ruling. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and, insofar as the central government or judiciary violates it, it renders itself illegitimate. As the governor of my state and head of its executive branch, I am charged with the enforcement of its laws. And we will recognize no more unconstitutional juridical or federal dictates.”
(Note: while my main focus here is our much abused judicial review, I’m advocating the same course with respect to all unconstitutional dictates.)
If this seems radical, note that even Abraham Lincoln agreed, saying in his first inaugural address, “[I]f the policy of the government, upon the vital questions affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court…the people will have ceased to be their own masters, having to that extent resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.”
The process I’m advocating here is known as nullification. And should anyone still think it radical or unprecedented, know that we’d only be taking a leaf out of the Left’s book. Explanation?
What do you think “sanctuary cities” are?
They’re places where liberals have decided they’re simply going to resist federal immigration law.
What do you think is happening when states (e.g., Colorado) and leftist municipalities ignore federal drug laws? Nullification is happening.
Yet no matter how egregious, un-American, unconstitutional and despotic the federal or judicial usurpations, the conservative response is typified by what Utah governor Gary Herbert said – feeling oh-so principled, I’m sure – after the federal faux-marriage ruling: “[U]ltimately we are a nation of laws and we here in Utah will uphold the law.” Yes, we’re supposed to be a nation subject to the rule of law.
Not the rule of lawyers.
And our governors are allowing subjection to the latter, feeling noble playing by rules the Left laughs at.
It’s not surprising that revolutionary spirit has been cornered by liberals. The only consistent definition of “liberal” is “desire to change the status quo” – it is revolutionary by definition. In contrast, the only consistent definition of “conservative” involves something antithetical to revolution: the desire to maintain the status quo. Of course, it completely eludes conservatives that today’s status quo was created by yesterday’s liberals. And one modern status quo is to lose culture-war and political battles to the Left. And, boy, do conservatives ever maintain that one. They’re like a guy who goes into a fight, gets poked in the eyes and kicked in the kneecaps, loses, and then the next time still thinks he’s got to follow Queensbury rules.
We hear a lot of talk about “states’ rights.” Ex-Texas governor Rick Perry was a good example of a big talker. But where’s the beef? Merely flapping lips doesn’t sink big-government ships. There have been nullification efforts by state legislatures, mainly regarding federal gun-control law, and many sheriffs across the country have vowed not to enforce such law. And Alabama’s Judge Roy Moore is currently defying a federal faux-marriage ruling. This is laudable, but why are the chief executives MIA? If only we had a governor with the guts of a good sheriff.
We’re meant to be a nation of states, not a nation state. But rights mean nothing if you’re not eternally vigilant in their defense, if you don’t actively stand against those who would trample them. In 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder threatened Kansas with legal action over a new anti-federal-gun-control state law. If the courts ruled against the state, what would Governor Sam Brownback do? Make some “principled” comments about the rule of law(lessness) and then assume the prone position?
This is why I say not one governor is truly qualified to be president: If a chief executive will not oppose federal tyranny while the head of a state government, why should we think he’d oppose federal tyranny once head of the federal government?
History teaches that entities don’t willingly relinquish power; it didn’t happen in 1776 and it won’t happen now. People are generally quite zealous about increasing their power, though. This returns us to the courts’ usurpations. Do you know where the power of “judicial review” came from? It was declared in the 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision – by the Supreme Court.
That’s right: the Supreme Court gave the Supreme Court the Supreme Court’s despotic power.
Of course, unilateral declarations of power are not at all unusual historically. It’s what happened whenever an agent of tyranny – whether it was a conquering king, communist force or crime syndicate – took over. But these despotisms were enforced, as Mao put it, “through the barrel of a gun.” It wasn’t usually the case that the subjects rolled over like trained dogs lapping up lawyer-craft. Oh, it’s not that I don’t see the crafty lawyers’ position. I might like to crown myself Emperor of America, but, should I insist I possess this unilaterally-declared status with enough conviction, I may get a stay in a mental institution. The courts get to dictate to everyone else and spread insanity all the way around.
Perhaps it needn’t be stated, but the power of judicial review isn’t in the Constitution. So is it any wonder that a federal court, concerned about Barack Obama’s comments relating to the judiciary, asked his administration in 2012 to submit a formal letter indicating whether or not it recognized the power? Judicial review, being an invention, is dependent upon the acquiescence of the other two branches of government.
Oh, and what is Obama’s actual position? He believes in the court’s power – when it serves his agenda. Otherwise, he’s willing to ignore court rulings himself, as he did when suing Texas over voter ID in 2013. (In fact, never mind the courts. Obama ignores duly enacted federal law he doesn’t like.)
We can even learn from Obama.
The idea of judicial review is thoroughly un-American. As Jefferson also pointed out, judges are not morally superior to anyone else, having “with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps.” Despite this, he wrote in his letter to Roane, while we’re meant to have “three departments, co-ordinate and independent, that they might check and balance one another,” judicial review has given “to one of them alone, the right to prescribe rules for the government of the others”; moreover, he continued, this power was given to the very branch that “is unelected by, and independent of the nation.” Jefferson then warned that this has made the Constitution “a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.” And our country is being twisted along with it as patriots twist in the wind.
Jefferson’s position is just common sense. We cannot be a government of, by and for the people if 9 unelected Americans in black robes can act as an oligarchy and impose their biased vision of the law on 317 million Americans. That is not what the Founding Fathers intended.
Nonetheless, most conservatives are waiting for the next election or the next court ruling or the next president to right the ship, but they and their republic will die waiting when remedial action can be taken now. Nullification – when properly exercised, it’s a fancy way of saying “standing up for the law of the land.” Were I a governor, I’d tell the feds to pound sand and that if they didn’t like it, to send in the troops. I might ultimately end up in federal prison, but I’d light a fire and spark a movement – and become a hero and martyr to millions.
It’s waiting there for you, governors, glory and God’s work. We just need a leader, someone with greater passions for principle than “for party, for power.” It’s waiting.
Rise, American hero, rise.
Don’t believe a word that they say about the economy:
It’s always “peaches and cream” with this administration and the idea that the American economy is well on its way to recovery, is just another lie among money. Supposedly, the “Great Recessions” ended 4 years ago, stocks and bonds have done well because of “cheap” money manufactured by the Federal Reserve, but to the average American it is still a very dark picture. We lost 8.8 million jobs during the recession and the country has only recaptured 70% of those jobs back.
As of the latest statics 58% of the adult population has a job and the last time it was that low was 1983 and if you consider the increase in population it makes the picture even darker.
For the last 8 years the American economy has averaged 2.5% growth and that is like treading water in the middle of a hurricane. For all practical purpose, this is a no growth economy and without growth there is no way that the country can pay our debts without borrowing more money.
Obama kept reform Muslims out of summit on extremism
The White House excluded members of a prominent group of reformist Muslims
from its terror summit this week, apparently because President Obama rejects
their argument that such groups as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are
actually motivated by Islam.
A group of 23 prominent Muslim reformers signed a full-page ad
in the Sunday New York Times on Jan. 11 asking “What can Muslims do to
reclaim their ‘beautiful religion’?”
But Obama and officials throughout his administration deny any connection
between Islam and the terrorists beheading and burning their victims in a
reign of terror in the Middle East.
Muslim reformers say the administration is ignoring them because they
disagree with Obama’s refusal to acknowledge the Islamic roots of the
Some of the most prominent reformers have argued for years that the
ideological and theological roots of Islamist extremism must be addressed,
but administration officials carefully avoided exactly that subject during
Obama’s three-day summit.
Those ‘Muslim Human Chains’ Around Synagogues and Other Staged Photo Ops by Patrick Poole
People are wetting themselves over on Twitter right now after Muslims formed a human chain around a synagogue in Oslo, Norway, yesterday following the terror attack this week at a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Here’s some of the reaction, beginning with GOP pollster Frank Luntz:
In reality, the world needs MORE CO2, not less!
Nearly 200 countries may sign a modest Kyoto II climate treaty, say December 2014 media reports from Lima, Peru. But will they agree to stop using coal to generate electricity? No. Curtail their economic growth? No. Cease emitting carbon dioxide? Maybe, but only a little, sometime in the future, when it is more convenient to do so, without any binding commitments. Then why would they sign a treaty?
Primarily because they expect to get free energy technology transfers, and billions of dollars a year in climate “mitigation, adaptation, and reparation” money from Western nations that they blame (and which blame themselves) for the “dangerous climate change,” rising seas, and “extreme weather” that they claim are “unprecedented” and due to CO2 emissions during the 150 years since the Industrial Revolution began. These FRCs (Formerly Rich Countries) have implemented low-carbon energy policies and penalties that have strangled their economies, dramatically increased energy prices, and killed millions of jobs. But now poor developing countries demand that they also transfer $100 billion per year, for decades (with most of that probably going to their governing elites’ Swiss banks accounts).
Where is this likely to take us? President Obama has long promised to “fundamentally transform” the U.S. economy and ensure that electricity prices “necessarily rocket.” His edicts are doing precisely that. And now Christiana Figueres, the UN’s chief climate change official, has declared that her unelected bureaucrats are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global] economic development model.” Her incredible admission underscores what another high-ranking IPCC official said several years ago: “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”
Why would any sane families or nations consign their fates to such insane, perverse arrangements? The arrangements are being imposed on them, through force, fabrication, and fraud.
Poor, middle, and working class families will get little but more layoffs, further reductions in living standards, and longer postponement of dreams. But meanwhile Climate Chaos, Inc. (Big Green, Big Government, alarmist scientists, crony corporatist “Green” energy companies, and allied universities and scientific groups) will become richer, gain more control over our lives and livelihoods, and rarely be held accountable for the damage they cause. Retracting their “dangerous manmade climate change” tautologies would endanger their money, power, and reputations.
That’s why their hypotheses, assertions, intentions, and computer models always trump reality. It’s why they are increasingly vicious and relentless in vilifying realist scientists who challenge their “97% consensus” and “manmade climate catastrophe” mantras – and in demanding that the news media ignore experts and analyses that do not toe the Climate Chaos line. They denigrate realists as “climate deniers” (deliberately suggesting Holocaust denial) and “oil industry shills” (while hiding their own suspect ethics, data “adjustments,” and Big Green billion-dollar Russian and other funding sources).
Realists get precious little (or no) oil money and constantly underscore the role of climate change throughout Earth and human history. What we contest is the notion that climate and weather fluctuations today are manmade, unprecedented, and dangerous. Alarmists deny that Earth’s climate is often in flux, solar and other natural forces drive weather and climate, and atmospheric CO2 plays only a minimal role. Real-world evidence demolishes virtually every alarmist claim.
Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.