Eric Holder a Convert on State’s Rights?

Photo Credit: WND

Photo Credit: WND

The 10th Amendment long has been a favorite of more conservative- and libertarian-leaning Americans for limiting the power of the federal government with respect to the states.

The amendment particularly has been invoked by opponents of President Obama’s many moves to expand the federal government’s reach, including in health care and state law enforcement.

So when Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, invoked the 10th Amendment in the Justice Department’s decision to not challenge state lawmakers in Colorado and Washington who challenged federal statutes by passing laws legalizing possession of marijuana, a Colorado congressman wanted to know the extent of Holder’s conversion.

“The real question is, ‘Does this mean that states now have the right to pre-empt federal law under the 10th Amendment?’” wrote Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in a letter to Holder.

The letter came after Holder confirmed publicly that the Department of Justice, which repeatedly has said that states cannot deviate from federal law, would defer to Colorado and Washington state laws regarding marijuana.

Read more from this story HERE.

State’s Rights Bill Protecting Alaskans’ Right To Keep And Bear Arms Introduced

photo credit: housemajority

(SitNews) – Alaska Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) introduced a bill on Wednesday defending Alaskans’ Second Amendment rights in light of President Barack Obama’s announced plans to curb gun violence.

“We began work on this bill before the President’s announcement today, and now I’m extremely glad we did. Twenty-three Executive Orders have been signed into law without a review from Americans’ elected representatives,” Chenault said.

Chenault said, “Tragedy is not a license for federal encroachment of constitutionally protected freedoms. We can all agree that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was an absolute tragedy. But what we fundamentally disagree on is how you meet the challenge it presented. The President is using it to further his liberal agenda to try and disarm and disenfranchise law-abiding Americans from their enshrined Second Amendment rights. No one should be comfortable with that, regardless of where you sit on the issue.”

“As a father, I prayed for those who lost children in the incident, and was sickened that someone would prey on our children,” Chenault said. “The President shouldn’t parade out children and pull on emotional heart strings on something as important as executing orders to circumvent the Congress and weaken the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Former Fairbanks Representative Mike Kelly stood up for Alaskans’ gun rights during the 26th Legislature, and I hope to carry on his legacy with this new bill.”

Read more from this story HERE.

Wyoming Lawmakers Propose Bill to Nullify New Federal Gun Laws

photo credit: cliff1066

Wyoming lawmakers have proposed a new bill that, if passed, would nullify any federal restrictions on guns, threatening to jail federal agents attempting to confiscate guns, ammunition magazines or ammunition.

The bill – HB0104 – states that “any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming.”

The bill is sponsored by eight Wyoming state representatives ad two state senators. If passed, the bill would declare any federal gun regulation created on or after January 1, 2013 to be unenforceable within the state.

In addition, the bill states would charge federal officials attempting to enforce a federal gun law within the state with a felony – “subject to imprisonment for not more less than one (1) year and one (1) day or more than five (5) years, a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00) five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or both.”

The bill also allows the Attorney General of Wyoming to defend a state citizen from any prosecution by the United States Government.

Read more from this story HERE.

Marriage and Self-Government

On Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments in two cases that are at the center of the same-sex-marriage controversy. One concerns the power of people in the states to govern themselves on the question, the other the complementary power of Congress to define “marriage” for purposes of federal law.

At issue in both cases is whether courts should even be hearing them, because there are knotty questions of standing (and also of what should happen to lower-court rulings if the Court rules that parties did not have standing). If the Court does reach the merits in these cases, it should find its way toward a defense of the right of republican self-government.

In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the justices will consider the constitutionality of Proposition 8, an amendment to the California constitution affirming that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. The people of the state passed it by referendum in 2008, shortly after the state supreme court ruled that the state constitution, unbeknownst to anyone until then, required official recognition of same-sex marriage. In the federal lawsuit that followed, Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. district court in San Francisco conducted a sort of show trial, ignoring all relevant precedents in holding that the protection of conjugal marriage rests on irrational bigotry.

This decision went too far even for a Ninth Circuit panel led by the oft-reversed Judge Stephen Reinhardt. The appeals court affirmed Judge Walker’s decision but did not imitate his reasoning, holding instead that, having recognized same-sex marriage, California could have had no rational basis for changing its mind.

The Supreme Court should reverse these lower-court rulings, and straightforwardly affirm the right of the people in any state to act, constitutionally or legislatively, to adopt the traditional view of marriage as a relationship oriented toward procreation. The justices need not themselves hold that view — they may consider it outmoded or rationally inferior to a conception of marriage that treats it first and foremost as an emotional union of adults — to see that the Constitution erects no barrier to it, and that states therefore have the freedom to act on it.

Read more from this story HERE.

Report: US States Are Less Free Than Canadian Provinces

photo credit: abdallahh

A new study on economic freedom in North America has concluded that some American states are less free than the provinces of our northern neighbor Canada.

“Canadian provinces now lead US states in average economic freedom, with the provincial average at 6.8 compared to 6.7 out of 10 for US states,” claims the new study by the Fraser Institute.

Topping the list of the most economically free subdivisions of North American countries is the Canadian province of Alberta, followed by Delaware, Saskatchewan, Texas and Nevada.

On average, American states lose to Canadian provinces in a number of categories, including regulation of credit, regulation of business, and legal system and property rights. While the average of economically free regions is higher in Canada, it is worth noting they have both the most free state, Alberta, and the least free state, Prince Edward Island, which is located off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The Freedom Index for North America was calculated using ten components in three basic areas: size of government, takings and discriminatory taxation, and labor market freedom. The number one issue affecting U.S. states’ freedom is the amount of government spending.

Read more from this story HERE.

Untold Story of 2012 Election: GOP Thrives Outside Beltway

Once again, the collective wisdom among the talking heads on TV, editorial boards across the country and the consultant class on both the right and the left is that the Republican Party is on the ropes and basically needs to become more like the Democratic Party if it wants to survive. One hears this “helpful advice” with some skepticism, as it is a verbatim repeat of the voices of 1964, 1974, 1982, 1986, 1992 and more recently 2008. That history and more importantly, a look at the hard numbers tell a different story.

Republicans made historic gains at the state level in 2010, hitting their historical high watermark with a gain of more than 700 seats and securing control of 61 legislative chambers. A look at what happened last Tuesday shows that while Democrats had a good day at the federal level, Americans just reaffirmed the decision they made two years ago to put a majority of state legislative chambers in Republican control. And despite outrage from folks like Rachel Maddow over the reforms enacted by GOP-controlled legislatures over the past two years, in the same election that Americans reelected Barack Obama, they also issued a vote of confidence in what Republicans have done to put state fiscal houses in order.

Standing in stark contrast to the outcome of the presidential and U.S. Senate races, Republicans strengthened their control of state capitols on Nov. 6. The GOP went into 2012 with unified control of the governor’s mansions and legislatures in 24 states and will come out with full political control of 25 states. Democrats will head into 2013 with a disadvantage at the state level, having total control of just 13 states.

This is significant. While we may expect more of the gridlock in Washington that we’ve have seen over the past two years – evidenced by President Barack Obama’s continued insistence on tax hikes on small businesses and a GOP House majority returning to Capitol Hill with a fresh mandate to continue opposing them — the states, over three-quarters of which are completely controlled by Republicans or Democrats, are unobstructed from moving in whichever direction the party in power chooses.

In these single party states, we will get to see each party test its product and observe the results. Californians just voted for a $7 billion annual tax hike and awarded Democrats a supermajority of the Legislature, giving them free reign to pass further tax increases on energy, soda, plastic bags and a host of other new levies that they have long wanted to impose but couldn’t. The fact that California has a two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes and that the GOP had over a third of the seats in that Legislature was the only thing preventing the tax floodgates from opening in Sacramento. That check is no longer there.

Read more from this article HERE.

Secession, States Rights, and Constitutional Conservatives

Since the election last week, there has been a lot of handwringing among conservatives. Many believe that the United States has descended into a new phase of dependency, where too many citizens and crony corporatists are wedded to DC largesse. Some think this and the cultural decline is irreversible, that America is headed for the abyss.

So how do they react to what they perceive as the “new normal”? Increasing numbers of news reports suggest that at least a few disgruntled Americans see the dissolution of the United States as a viable option. The word “secession” is cropping up in the blogosphere like never before.

Consistent with this, most Restoring Liberty readers have likely seen at least one or two articles on the White House citizen petitions relating to secession. You may have also seen Ron Paul’s recent comments on the subject. Even Justice Scalia has weighed in on the topic.

Given the history of the Alaska Independence Party (we actually had a governor elected from the AIP ticket), you probably won’t be surprised to hear that Alaska hasn’t been immune to this. Several days ago, there was an attempt to pull me directly into a resurgent secessionist debate in Alaska. Emails began to circulate including one suggesting that “the only alternative for the survival of any form of government that was intended by our founding fathers is secession from the union and a declaration of independence of Alaska.”

I fundamentally disagree with this approach. As I noted last week in my post-election breakdown, our country still has hope.

Admittedly, we have widely divergent views on the role and scope of government. I am equally certain that we are becoming increasingly divided on many cultural issues.

These divides were reflected by the startling 40% swing between a number of states in votes for Romney as opposed to Obama (e.g., Utah 73% Romney, Hawaii 70% Obama, Wyoming 69% Romney, Vermont 67% Obama, etc.). Some believe this degree of polarization hasn’t been seen since the Civil War.

Many of our differences seem insurmountable.

But within the context of the state’s rights model – directly patterned off of what the Founders originally intended – these intractable differences can reside quite well together, albeit in different states.

The Founders intended that the states retain a great deal of autonomy. The central government was severely limited, granted only those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

By legal malfeasance, we’ve now ginned up a myriad of powers that the drafters never intended the Constitution to confer upon our national government. That has straight-jacketed the states into a homogenous mass of laws and regulations that were never intended. Rather, the states were intended to be the ultimate legal arbiter in most areas.

As we continue to spend trillions we don’t have, DC will inevitably lose financial power. The country will inevitably face serious economic pain. And the nation will inevitably look for solutions from outside of the narrow parameters set and enforced by the Establishment.

The solution of getting back to an honest interpretation and application of the Constitution with respect to the respective powers of the federal and state governments will allow our increasingly diverse peoples in this country to apply their expectations of government at the state level.

Liberals, conservatives, libertarians, socialists, the religious, and the secularists can all embrace this approach. Fight your fights in the state of your choice. Set your own education policy. Establish your own regulatory schemes. Permit natural resource extraction as you see fit, all without interference from the feds. Abandon the sinking ship of DC dominance.

So if you are an advocate for secession, please reconsider and redirect your energies toward a real solution that will restore liberty and can accommodate the “new normal” of the United States.