Monday, November 22, 2010

"The Constitution will never enforce itself"

In this speech, posted at the Tenth Amendment Center, Geoff Broughton, Colorado state coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center explains why nullification is not only legal, but very necessary, if the Constitution is to be enforced against an out-of-control federal government.

Nullification is necessary, he writes, because power is a finite resource. The federal government can only increase its power by taking it away from the states and the people. For this reason, while we should be opposing acts in Congress like Obamacare and cap-and-trade, opposing it there is not enough. We must use our state legislatures to stand up to the feds when they exceed their Constitutional limits.

Mr. Broughton then raises an objection that I have often read in discussions on this subject: What about the Supremacy Clause? This is what he writes:

1997 “Mack/Printz vs. the US” Where two County Sheriffs sued the Federal Government over the Brady Bill. This was a law that forced county Sheriffs to run background check on their citizens who bought handguns at the expense of the county, and any sheriff who did not comply with this law would be subject to arrest. These sheriffs argued that this law violated the tenth amendment. This case was heard and ultimately won before the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia writes for the majority, “…the Constitution’s conferral upon Congress of not all governmental powers, but only discreet, enumerated ones.” And in a direct challenge to this interpretation of the Supremacy clause, he writes, “It is incontestable that the Constitution established a system of dual sovereignty” he also states “This separation of the two spheres is one of the constitution’s structural protections of liberty. Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the federal government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.”

But there is really a supremacy clause, and it states:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” This clearly states the Constitution and laws that carry out, follow and continue the Constitution are the Supreme Law of the land. [Emphasis here and in the passage below is Mr. Broughton's]

General welfare clause? The centralizers love this one, too; but they ignore James Madison in the process:

The general welfare clause has been interpreted by those favoring a strong central government to mean that as long as the law was meant to be in the “general welfare” of the union, congress has the authority to pass it. The argument against this is the Virginia plan, which was introduced by Madison at the Constitutional Convention. This plan would have created a National Government that gave the central government the authority to do anything it wanted. It is important to remember this plan was rejected by the delegation, and more importantly, it was never ratified by “we the people”.

James Madison, considered the ‘father of the Constitution’ and the author of the defeated Virginia plan, stated the following about this interpretation of the “general welfare clause”.

“Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them.” Think on that a second. Now let me give you one of my favorite quotes from James Madison. “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

While my posts stress the need to prepare ourselves for independence, I have also stated that independence is the last resort. The first resort is to use nullification to strengthen the United States Constitution against those who are establishing a tyranny in the District of Columbia. The success of nullification will make independence unnecessary.

But at all times, we must remember that government is instituted to protect the liberties of the people. First. Last. And all the time.

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