Tag Archives: Constitution

Federalism strikes back

Writing in the Washington Times, Kansas’ own Greg Schneider, a professor of history at Emporia State University and Kansas Policy Institute senior fellow, explains that respect for the tenth amendment and state sovereignty is good for the country. He also calls for a reaffirmation of federalism, a system where power is shared between a central government and the states.

He also tackles the claim that criticism of President Barack Obama is racially motivated.

Federalism strikes back

10th Amendment resurgence should have come sooner

By Gregory L. Schneider

We’re seeing a re-emergence of constitutional principles and federalism across the country. It’s a major issue in the health care reform debate, as Tea Party activists and others have refocused attention on the long-dormant principle concerning the individual mandates to purchase insurance and excessive spending by the federal government.

The idea that powers not explicitly delegated in the federal Constitution “are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” as stated in the 10th Amendment, is a powerful one. Given the overreach of Washington and public disgust with politicians’ disregard for the people’s will, a healthy dose of state sovereignty and a reaffirmation of federalism is a good thing.

Continue reading at The Washington Times

Andrew Napolitano: Man is free, and must be vigilant

At Saturday’s general session of the RightOnline conference at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano told an audience of 1,100 conservative activists that the nature of man is to be free, and that government and those holding power are an ever-present danger to freedom.

Napolitano is Senior Judicial Analyst at the Fox News Network and the author of the books Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History, The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land, and A Nation of Sheep.

Napolitano told of how at the time of the founding of the United States, there was the natural rights group — Madison and Jefferson — which believed that, as Napolitano said: “Our freedom comes from our humanity. It is as natural to us as our physical bodies are. The yearnings that we have to be free are — if you use a 2010 phrase — hard-wired into us by the supreme being that created us.”

But Hamilton and Adams believed that without government there can be no freedom. Since government protects freedom, government can restrict freedom in bad times.

The natural law argument won the day, and that’s why there is the Bill of Rights, he told the audience. But in the second year of Adam’s presidential administration, Congress enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it illegal to criticize the government, including the president and congress.

Napolitano asked: How could those who once risked their lives during the American Revolution come to write such laws once they assumed power? Many people in government have an urge to tell others how to live their lives, he answered. “This is the core of the problem with government from 1787 to 2010. If you must look for any defect in any candidate in either party for any office: If they want to tell you how to live your life, vote them out of office.”

War is a time when rights can be lost, as when Lincoln locked up newspaper publishers in the North because they criticized his presidency.

Napolitano told of the Espionage Act of 1917, which makes it illegal to talk someone out of being drafted, working in a munitions plant, or supporting the war. It’s still the law today, he said.

Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural address, reminded us that the states created the federal government, not the other way around. Napolitano said that he would have added “And the power that the states gave the federal government, they can take back from the federal government.”

Shifting topics a bit, Napolitano said the government wants to give away your money in your name. It uses the Mafia model. “Taxation is theft,” he said. It presumes that the government has a higher right to your property than you do. “If the Constitution is to be taken seriously, if you own the sweat of your brow, if you own your ideas and that which you create with your own hands: It’s yours, it’s not the government’s.”

He told of a recent interview with South Carolina Democratic Congressman James E. Clyburn, where Napolitano asked where in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to manage health care? Clyburn replied: “Judge, most of what we do here in Washington is not authorized by the Constitution. Where in the Constitution is it prohibited for the federal government to manage health care?”

Napolitano said Clyburn’s first answer was frank and candid, as well as accurate. The second answer, he said, reveals a “profound misunderstanding of the nature and concept of limited government.”

Our role in this moment is to defend freedom, he told the audience in closing.

Second amendment decision not permanent

By Karl Peterjohn

The United States Supreme Court narrowly agreed today that the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individuals right to possess firearms. Sadly, this was a narrow, 5-4 decision that could be changed when another 2nd Amendment case works its way to the Court when its membership changes.

This has happened in the past. In fact, my lawyer friends tell me that it is not unusual for this to happen.

Yet this is an individual right. The United States could not have been created if this had not been implicit among the rights claimed by our colonial forefathers.

One overlooked fact is that this right is clearly called out in many state constitutions. This includes Kansas where Section 4 in the Kansas Bill of Rights states: “Bear arms; armies. The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be tolerated, and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.”

That’s clear language. The people have this right and not the “national guard” as the statist left has been alleging. The fear expressed here if of standing armies, not individuals and their firearms. Now, this is not to say that this language cannot be misconstrued. It can and in Kansas, it has.

However, the people have this power and this language clearly says so. Like the First Amendment in our federal Bill of Rights that begins, “Congress shall make no law…” when it comes to religion, speech, or press. Despite this, the regulation of speech continues and even thrives. Efforts to continue to destroy our 2nd Amendment freedoms will continue.

The odious statist mayor in Chicago has said that they will continue to flout the 2nd Amendment. However, this is a victory for freedom, but only by a tiny 5-4 margin.

Limits of government and rights of people to be addressed in Wichita

This Friday (May 7) Sarah McIntosh will address members and guests of the Wichita Pachyderm Club. Ms. McIntosh’s presentation, titled “Make No Law,” will discuss the constitutional powers and limits of the federal government, versus the rights of the people, with a particular focus on the interaction of rights and powers in the health care law and the upcoming right to bear arms Supreme Court case.

All are welcome to attend Pachyderm club meetings. The program costs $10, which includes a delicious buffet lunch including salad, soup, two main dishes, and ice tea and coffee. The meeting starts at noon, although it’s recommended to arrive fifteen minutes early to get your lunch before the program starts.

The Wichita Petroleum Club is on the ninth floor of the Bank of America Building at 100 N. Broadway (north side of Douglas between Topeka and Broadway) in Wichita, Kansas (click for a map and directions). Park in the garage just across Broadway and use the sky walk to enter the Bank of America building. Bring your parking garage ticket to be stamped and your parking fee will be only $1.00. There is usually some metered and free street parking nearby.

Kobach explains Arizona illegal alien law

The following op-ed from the New York Times by Kansan Kris Kobach, who was involved in the forming of the law, explains the law and speaks to its critics.

On Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a law — SB 1070 — that prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens and makes it a state crime for an alien to commit certain federal immigration crimes. It also requires police officers who, in the course of a traffic stop or other law-enforcement action, come to a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien verify the person’s immigration status with the federal government.

Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it “misguided” and said the Justice Department would take a look.

Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done. The arguments we’ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually:

Continue reading at the New York Times.

For one Kansan, hope springs eternal

Following is commentary and reporting from Patricia Houser, a former resident of Wichita now living in St. Paul, Kansas. She and her husband have five children and two grandchildren. She is active in her church and Boy Scouts of America, and is the Neosho County Republican Party Chair. She says her political activism began with the prolife movement in Wichita’s Summer of Mercy, and dedicates her time helping prolife candidates.

Lately, I have felt discouraged by the way our current government, on both the Federal and our State (Kansas) level, has displayed an “I don’t care what the people say, I will do what I want” attitude. I am convinced this behavior is not what our Founding Fathers mandated in our Constitution. They wrote “We the People” for a profound reason, the people are the government; elected officials merely serve and represent the will of the people. All elected officials and most bureaucrats have sworn an oath to uphold and obey our Constitution, yet it is obvious that many of these people do not honor the oath they swore to uphold and disregard it, pushing their own agenda instead. We have blindly trusted them to do what is best for us for too long, and unfortunately, they have betrayed us.

The Good News

Last Saturday I witnessed something which gave me hope. I attended the Kansas GOP State Committee Meeting. One of items on the agenda was the adoption of the state platform. The committee which wrote the proposed platform held seven town hall meetings around the state for local Republicans to give their input. The committee then put these ideals on paper.

These ideals acknowledge God as the source of our rights and privileges, call for fiscal responsibility, reduce government’s size and power, limit entitlements, and encourage Americans to retain the principles which have made us strong while developing innovative ideas to meet today’s challenges. The platform was offered for debate. No member of the assembly offered any criticism and it was passed with 111 yeas to only one nay vote.

Three minor resolutions were proposed. All three were passed. The most contentious moment of the meeting came over whether to spend the money to print the new platform as a supplemental insert to the GOP Handbook.

What a contrast to our legislatures. My heart was lifted by the near unanimous resolve of the members to honor God and the Founding Fathers’ vision for our country. I was proud to have been a part of this event.

Constitution class to be held in Wichita

Constitution and immigration law professor Kris Kobach will be teaching a free class on the history and relevance of the U.S. Constitution. Professor Kobach, a Constitutional law professor at UMKC Law School and former adviser to Attorney General John Ashcroft, is one of America’s top authorities on the Constitution. He will be teaching on the original meaning and understanding of the text and how it is coming under assault with the passage of the health care bill and the overall usurpation of power by an ever-expanding government.

The class will run three hours in length. The first two hours will be focused solely on the Constitution, and the last hour will be dedicated to taking any questions you might have.

The date for this free event is Saturday, April 24, 2010 from 9:00am to noon. The location is the Boston Recreation Center in Wichita, located at 6655 E. Zimmerly.

A map to the location is here. This event has a Facebook event page.