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Constitution Trump Truth

Avenatti And His Fallacious Argument For Indicting The President

Rep. Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.

On September 13, 2018, Michael Avenatti made the case for President Trump’s indictment in the opinion section of The New York Times.  There are only two flaws with Avenatti’s argument. It has no basis in fact. It has no basis in law.

First, let us recall who Avenatti is. He is the attorney for Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, two of the least trusted names in America. He is also a media hound who has a predilection for involvement in celebrity cases. But despite his lucrative legal ventures, Avenatti has not been without his legal and financial troubles. Avenatti’s law firm has been forced into bankruptcy on at least two occasions, and he has personally been subject to multiple accusations of financial shortcomings in his professional dealings.

So, naturally, one would expect that The New York Times would be especially careful in accepting a piece dealing with a matter in which Avenatti was directly involved.

Think again.

First, let’s take the absence of supporting facts.

In order to prosecute anyone in the United States, much less the President, there must be some evidence that a crime has been committed. Avenatti has none. As a matter of fact, in his article, all he says as to the factual basis for indicting the President is, “there are many indications that there is [sufficient evidence to support an indictment of President Trump] – the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 election, and prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, who are investigating payments to my clients, Stormy Daniels, and Karen McDougal, should present their evidence to grand juries.”

That’s it. That’s all he’s got. A wish. A desire. Never mind that the Special Prosecutor has admitted that he has yet to find any evidence of collusion. And never mind that the payments made to Avenatti’s client have a very high bar to clear before rising to the level of criminality. These are obstacles utterly ignored by Avenatti, but they present no difficulties to either him or The New York Times.

Under any other circumstances, I would be in a position to conclude my commentary since the case can move no further, except that Avenatti is allowed to continue.

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So now let’s look at the absence of supporting law.

Having established his airtight factual case for prosecuting the President, Avenatti turns to the matters in law. Here, he makes the argument that the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, should be prosecuted so that the Supreme Court may rule on the constitutionality of whether the President is immune to prosecution. (I kid you not.)

I submit that Avenatti couldn’t care a hare’s foot as to the Supreme Court’s opinion on the President’s immunity to prosecution. In my opinion, his only interest lies in moving his case forward and staying in the spotlight. Regardless, the resolution of an academic argument regarding the balance of power between the executive and the judiciary is hardly a sufficient reason to prosecute the President, and of course, The New York Times should know that.

But more to the point, Avenatti makes no compelling case that the President is even subject to prosecution by any method other than impeachment. Article I, Section 2, Clause 5, expressly states, “The House of Representatives . . . shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.” Further, Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the United States Constitution makes it perfectly clear that the power to try the President lies with the Senate:

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.”

And finally, and most directly on point, Article II, Section 4 states, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

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With these three phrases, the Framers created a system by which a miscreant president can be found subject to trial, tried, and convicted. True, the Framers did not use the word, nor address the possibility of, prosecution, but this fact does not open the door to Avenatti’s argument. It completely closes it. Let us recall that the federal government (the national government to the Framers) is a government of enumerated powers. If it is not in the Constitution, then it was not a power for the national government to employ.

The fact that prosecuting or indicting the President is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution serves as a pretty stark repudiation of the remedy for the highest-ranking official of the land. Moreover, a close reading of Article II, Section IV, pretty much lays to rest any foundation for a different interpretation, “The President. . . shall be removed from Office on Impeachment of, and Conviction for. . . ” That’s it. That’s the only remedy available.

If the President were to be convicted as a result of his impeachment and then removed from office under the legislature’s judiciary powers, he or she would no longer be President and would, at that point, be subject to criminal prosecution. That’s when a jurisdictional officer becomes empowered to prosecute a former president.

It seems pretty clear-cut that the House of Representatives is the President’s grand jury and the Senate his judge and petit jury, but Avenatti, in his fallacy, argues to the contrary using a case involving none other than Bill Clinton; Clinton v. Jones.

The first error Avenatti makes in deploying this case is his conflation of the rules applying to civil litigation with those involving a criminal case.

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Clinton was a civil lawsuit brought against the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, by Paula Jones for damages involving her alleged sexual harassment. In it the President argued that he was not subject to litigation because, in carrying out the duties of the Office of the Presidency, he was too busy to properly defend himself. Additionally, it would be inappropriate for the President to be subjected to depositions and other inquiries in mounting his defense as such activities would inevitably interfere with his abilities to carry out his duties as President. The Court disagreed, holding that no one, even the President, is above the law, and the trial was allowed to move forward.

But the prosecution of a president is a criminal matter for which the ruling in Clinton would not apply, nor would the conclusion that no man is above the law because even in arguing that the President is immune to prosecution, he would still be subject to the Constitution of the United States and the remedies divined by the Framers of that foundational document.

In Men In Black, Agent Kevin Brown, the character played by Tommy Lee Jones, picked up a copy of three curbside tabloids calling them, “the best investigative reporting on the planet. Go ahead; look at The New York Times if you want to. They get lucky sometimes.”

Although he was right in principle, he erred in giving The New York Times too much credit.

Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.


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Constitution Supreme Court Trump Truth

Trump And GOP Win-Win With Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh

Rod Thomson

President Trump’s announcement Monday of District of Columbia federal appeals court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court creates a likely win-win for Trump and Republicans.

But while the Democratic/media establishment talking points were well lined up ahead of whoever was the nominee, the reality is that there is almost nothing Democrats can do about it. Thanks to Sen. Harry Reid’s short-sighted power play changing the rules on how judges are confirmed when he was Majority Leader, it now only requires 51 votes — or 50 votes plus the Vice President — to approve Kavanaugh.

The Republicans are at 51 in the Senate right now. So both pro-choice Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, would have to vote against Kavanaugh. But they have both already voted for him to be on the appeals court, one step below the Supreme Court. They both voted for Justice Neil Gorsuch last year. The likelihood of them voting against him now is remarkably thin.

But there is more to the Democrats’ hurdle of blocking Kavanaugh.

Five Democrat Senators are running for re-election this November in traditionally red states that Trump won by double digits. Five more are running in states Trump won by smaller margins, including Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson in the polls for that Senate seat. (Although Nelson pre-emptively said he would vote against whoever was the nominee — so much for advise and consent.) Their re-elections hinge on being seen as centrists willing to work with the President. But the #resistance wing of the Democratic Party will be firing endless barrages at Kavanaugh and pushing every Democrat Senator to vote against him while hoping to flip one or two Republican votes. Highly unlikely.

It’s a bad position for these five Democrat incumbents: Joe Manchin, W.V; Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.; Jon Tester, Mont.; Claire McCaskill, Mo. and Joe Donnelly, Ind. If they stay centrist in appearance and vote to approve Kavanaugh then their odds of re-election improve, but Trump and the GOP (and America) win the new Supreme Court Justice going away. If they cave to their liberal base, then Trump-supporters in their states will be more fired up to come out and work against them, perhaps costing them their re-elections. Also good for Trump and Republicans.

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It is just a very long shot that Democrats and two Republicans could stop this nomination. The timing of this fight is beneficial for Trump and the GOP.

It’s also imperative to appreciate the historicity of this moment, the opportunity laid before the President and his supporters.

Trump’s appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch has proven to be everything conservatives could want as Gorsuch showed his metal as a Constitutionalist judge, opining based on the U.S. Constitution and establishing a firm, traditional American understanding in his first cases issued two weeks ago. In every one, he was solidly in the line of the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, whom he replaced.

But now, with the nomination of Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump and Republicans have the opportunity to cement a pro-Constitution, pro-traditional American majority on the Supreme Court for the first time in generations. This is not a conservative vs. liberal breakdown in the sense of normal politics, as the media simplistically paints it, but a Constitutional vs. political activist court division. Political conservatives want originalist, textualist judges even if they do not rule on an issue the way conservatives want. Liberals want judges who act as a third law-making body, pushing a progressive agenda.

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Kennedy was a swing vote on cases, sometimes with the Constitutionalist wing and sometimes with the progressive activist wing. But he himself was not a Constitutionalist. He flopped all around absent a grounding legal philosophy, depending on his personal views of the issue, not the law.

Kavanaugh can replace Kennedy as a strong originalist like Gorsuch and cement the Constitutionalist majority.

From all conservative Trump supporters to all Never-Trumper conservatives: You’re welcome.

Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist and current TV talking head, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Constitution Fourth of July Free Speech Freedom Freedom of Religion Truth

Protecting Beautiful Freedoms For Even Ugly Actions On This Fourth Of July

Rod Thomson

On the Fourth of July, we celebrate American independence from a distant tyrannical king in 1776. But it wasn’t just a break from, it was a break to — to the beautiful freedoms encompassed in the First Amendment and supported throughout the Constitution, a break unheard of in history but one heard around the world.

As we stand 242 years later, it is not hyperbole to say that those beautiful essential freedoms are under attack perhaps like never before, because now the attack is on whether they are even proper and right — heretofore the American assumption. The two bedrocks underscoring our liberties are freedom of religion and freedom of speech, the first two in the First Amendment. They are supported by the concept of equally applied law and order. There has been a chipping away at those from college campuses to judicial opinions to state and federal laws.

But something different is happening now, at this moment, in real time: Ideas and actions fiercely antithetical to these essential American liberties are popping into the mainstream, winning some elections, and one of the two major political parties in the country is rapidly embracing the destructive ideas and actions. This is complicated by an untrustworthy media that leaves Americans increasingly in different information camps.

The good news is that, at this moment, on this particularly Fourth of July, it does not appear a majority of the American people are embracing this counter-American Revolution. And it may backfire on the Democratic Party that is accepting it — at least in the short term. The problem is the trend, and the speed at which this change is occurring, and thinking it will go away on its own is akin to thinking the British would have just left on their own. Trends such as this will gain momentum and adherents unless they are pushed back against, fought — beautiful ideas fighting ugly ideas.

And this is the call of our day to all freedom-loving Americans. We follow in the steps of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, every signatory to the Declaration of Independence, every debater of the Constitution, every Minuteman and Colonial soldier in the field of battle. These were all willing to sacrifice their lives, their fortunes and their futures for the essential liberties that generations of Americans — including millions upon millions of future immigrants — would thrive under for nearly two and a half centuries.

Those who believe it is right for people to be forced by government to create products for what violates their religion, must be defeated. Those who believe that access to free contraceptives is not only a right but more important than the religious liberties of those who do not want to provide those, must be defeated. Freedom of religion must be defended.

Those who would force people through coercion to say what they do not believe, and who would deny freedom of speech to those they disagree with, must be defeated. Those who would deny any speech that offends or hurts the feelings of someone else, must be defeated. Freedom of speech must be defended.

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We must keep the wall of tyranny far on the other side of the beautiful freedoms. Ugly speech by Nazis, Fascists, Communists, racists, white supremacists, black supremacists, anti-Semites, fake news providers, and the rest must be protected by the beautiful freedoms. As long as the worst and most hateful speech is protected, then we know that all speech is secured.

Growing parts of the country, including those dominating higher education, would seek to block all of what they determine to be ugly speech. No. There is no place to stop. It’s all free with the few exceptions for incitement to riot (and those very cautiously) or its not free at all.

We free Americans, who know history and understand the world, have a duty on this Fourth of July to not just remember and celebrate, but to be redouble our vigilance on behalf of the beautiful freedoms. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the founding fathers and our following forefathers who protected freedoms with pen and paper, soapbox, microphone and ballot box and, when necessary on the fields of Gettysburg, the trenches of France, the shores of Normandy and Iwo Jima, the mountains of Korea, the jungles of Vietnam and the sands of Iraq.

We can do no less.

Rod Thomson is an author, former journalist and current TV talking head, and is Founder of The Revolutionary Act. Rod is co-host of Right Talk America With Julio and Rod on the Salem Radio Network.


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Constitution Free Speech Freedom Liberty Truth

Fighting For Liberty In The Fog Of Cognitive Dissonance

by KrisAnne Hall, JD

The Southern Poverty Law Center has put me on their “anti-government extremist hate group” list for four years in a row now. I have yet to comprehend how teaching the Constitution, the very document that created government, makes me “anti-government.” Nor do I understand how teaching historical facts and the words and principles of the founders of America makes me an “extreme hater.”

I am told that I should expect this kind of personal attack from Marxist groups like SPLC. However, the other day, someone called me an “anarchist” because I write articles that expose the unconstitutionally expanded nature of our government and how that is destroying our Liberty. This particular instance of name calling came from a conservative. I am not upset with this person and hold no fault with them.

Here is why, and the thought I would like you to consider.

Most of my writing deals with current laws and their Constitutionality based upon fact, law, and history. I work very hard to keep opinions out of it. When the true concept of limited government is presented it causes internal conflict, not just with liberals, but even within “conservative” groups.  

Americans have been, for generations, convinced to accept increasingly more government intrusion in our lives. Over the course of these years, our government has grown to exercise nearly unlimited power to regulate every aspect of our lives…from the milk and the cereal we eat in the morning to the sheets and bed that we sleep in at night. We have been conditioned not only to accept this but to believe that we need it.  

The consequence is that we are being consumed by these regulations and now have a government with unlimited power of surveillance. We have a government that actually believes that “shall not be infringed” can be interpreted to mean, “yes we can make reasonable regulations.” We have a growing society that believes the Freedom of Speech doesn’t actually mean “freedom” and doesn’t really apply to “everyone.” New generations could grow just as comfortable with even greater intrusions as we are now with cameras on street corners, computer and internet intrusions and cell phone surveillance.

Many Americans have become lazy in luxury, pacified in prosperity, or even simply complacent and compliant in their comfort. So when we attempt to present the truth about these intrusions upon our Rights and the destruction of our Liberty — because for generations we have been made to feel comfortable and safe within them — it scares people. 

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But fear does not overrule our rights and we have an obligation to shine the light of truth so future generations will not pay the price for our apathy, ignorance, or complacence. Samuel Adams warned: 

“Let us remember that ‘if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.’ It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers of the event.” The Boston Gazette, 14 October 1771

However, shining a light in a room where no light has been seen for days is painful…but we are talking not about days, this darkness has been consuming America for generations. Real Liberty seems radical in today’s environment of ubiquitous government presence. True Liberty seems extreme when Americans have become comfortable with the daily control of government. Real Liberty will challenge what we have believed to be true our entire lives. And it may even make people call you names and want to deny this truth.

Please do not get angry with them. It is what psychologists call “Cognitive Dissonance.”

You should expect it. Everyone must come about their awakening to Liberty in their own way. My personal awakening took years. If you read my story you will see that I was not born a “Constitutionalist” and had a complicated transformation. There is hope for those who have been taught lies their entire life. My story is proof. Unfortunately, some will never come to accept truth at all. But that does not change our responsibility; we have a responsibility to speak truth and seek wisdom. Be patient with those who resist knowledge. But more importantly, no matter how much they deny the truth, no matter how many names they call you, don’t stop speaking the truth!

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I promise I won’t. I am no more an anarchist than Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, or James Otis, Jr. I am not “anti-government,” I just know that our federal government was created to be very limited and specifically defined in its authority, and it must be that way for Americans to have the Liberty promised in our Constitution. I would love to live in a place where no government is necessary, I just understand the depravity of man will never allow that to be reality. So I stand with Thomas Paine and believe that “government in its best form is a necessary evil, in its worst form, an intolerable one.”

We can work together to break the Cognitive Dissonance. We can endeavor to speak truth with love, in patience. We can refuse to tolerate lies and manipulations in order to have comfort and peace. We can refuse the dictated narrative and make our voices be heard. 

We can say, “if there be trouble, let it be in my day so my child may have peace.”

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KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Categories
Christianity Constitution First Amendment Freedom Freedom of Religion Liberty

Supreme Court’s Christian Baker Opinion Is No Win For Freedom Of Religion

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered its opinion on a highly anticipated case regarding the right of a baker to refuse to design and create a wedding cake for a gay marriage ceremony based upon his religious convictions. However, for the SCOTUS, this appears not to be a case of religious freedom, but one of unjust government discrimination.  

Jack Phillips, a practicing Christian, often refused to design and create baked goods based upon his religious beliefs. His store was closed on Sundays and other Christian holidays, he refused to create or design desserts for Halloween, and he refused to make desserts that contained alcohol. Phillips did not refuse to serve the same-sex couple who later filed a complaint. He only refused to design and create a cake for their wedding. He remarked that he would be happy to design and create cookies, birthday cakes, shower cakes, or brownies — just not a wedding cake due to religious objections.

The same-sex couple filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission and the commission, after several hearings, decided that Phillips violated Colorado’s public accommodation laws by refusing to create and design this wedding cake for the same-sex couple. The Colorado commission did not accept Phillip’s defense of religious conviction.

Members of the commission, on record and as justification for their decision, mocked Phillip’s beliefs and compared his religious convictions to slavery and to the Holocaust. The Supreme Court found in favor of Phillips in a 7-2 opinion, based particularly on the statements of the Colorado commissioners.

There are some very significant points that must be made to clarify this carefully written opinion.  Because of the great public anticipation over this case, there will be a tendency to make more of what was said than was actually said, and mischaracterize the magnitude of this decision.

 

  1.  Not a Matter of Freedom of Religion

The court did not render its opinion on the basis of religious freedom. They did not declare that private business owners are free to discriminate based upon religious beliefs. As a matter of fact, they said the opposite.

“It is the general rule that [religious and philosophical] objections do not allow business owners and other actors in the economy and in society to deny protected persons equal access to goods and public services under a neutral and generally applicable public accommodations law.” (Page 9)

“Colorado law can protect gay persons, just as it can protect other classes of individuals, in acquiring whatever products and services they choose on the same terms and conditions as are offered to other members of the public.” (Page 10)

Phillips made multiple statements asserting his refusal to make the cake was based upon religious conviction. However, it seems the Court only references these objections for the purpose of condemning the Colorado commissioners’ apparent discriminatory statements voiced against Phillips. This Court never asserted that Phillips was justified in his refusal based upon his right to religious freedom.

It is not clear that this is an overall victory for private business owners or Christians to publicly maintain their convictions.

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  1.  Clergy Cannot be Compelled

The court took time to clarify that it should be “assumed” that “when it comes to weddings”, “a member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds could not be compelled to perform that ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion.”  (Page 10)

It’s interesting that the Court feels that it should be obvious and therefore not questioned that a professional clergy maintains full right to expression of their freedom of religion, but a baker does not. It would seem that the court sees the possession and expression of fundamental rights like freedom of religion as inherent in a profession rather inherent to all persons.

 

  1.  It’s Not Freedom of Religion, It’s Freedom from Discrimination

This Court did not declare that Phillips’ personal objections justified his refusal to bake this cake. Instead they took a safer and more politically correct approach by finding that the Colorado commissioners’ statements applied the Colorado public accommodation law in a discriminating and biased manner.

The Court says “the baker, in his capacity as the owner of a business serving the public, might have his right to the free exercise of religion limited by generally applicable laws.” (Page 3) However, the government cannot use Phillips’ religious beliefs as the basis for the application of their laws.

Justice Kennedy points out that when commissioners on the Colorado commission made statements describing Phillips’ faith as “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use,” and equating his refusal to design and create a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage to the acts of slavery and the holocaust, they began down the path of discriminating against him. In addition to these condemning statements, the Colorado commission had, at the same time, determined that three other bakers could refuse to bake cakes critical of gay marriage, contrary to their secular convictions, making clear their bias and discriminatory application of this otherwise “neutral” law.

The majority opinion determined that it was this discriminatory act by the Colorado commission that required the court to overturn this case. Again, for the majority opinion, this appears not to be a case of religious freedom of expression, but one of unjust government discrimination.

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  1.  Gay Marriage Was Not Legal Yet

The Court, almost in passing, also mentioned that Phillips’ may have been justified in his refusal to design and create this wedding cake, because Colorado had not legalized gay marriage yet. His refusal, at that time, was not only in compliance with State law, but also a refusal to participate in an illegal activity.  Perhaps Kennedy added this point of fact as a way of publicly saying to business owners in States who have legalized gay marriage, you have no argument to withhold your services if State law compels service.

 

  1.  What About Freedom of Speech?

There is one aspect of personal rights the majority opinion mentions but strangely never fleshes out: the matter of freedom of speech.

The majority court introduces the question: Is the government’s law forcing Phillips to design and create a cake contrary to his personal message, a violation of freedom of speech? But then, in what seems to be a lapse of concentration, the majority opinion never answers this question definitively. It isn’t until we get to Justice Thomas’ concurrence that we find a truly worthy discussion of this important element.

Thomas’ opinion on the matter of freedom of speech is so thorough and so supported by precedent it makes one wonder why the majority court refused to give this topic its due consideration. Justice Thomas points out that it is well within the history of the Supreme Court to support the expression of offensive beliefs in the name of freedom of speech. After all, he reminds us, if the burning of a flag or a 25-foot cross (Virginia v. Black), or designing and creating “a film featuring Klan members brandishing weapons and threatening to ‘Bury the niggers,’ (Brandenburg v. Ohio) are all protected speech, then surely designing and creating a cake ought to fit these categories as well.

By the terms laid out by Justice Thomas, this case should have absolutely been decided in favor of Phillips on the merits of freedom of speech. Why the majority court would introduce this element, and then not complete its thought on the matter is puzzling. Why the majority court would choose a single justification for their opinion when they could have had two compelling arguments is equally puzzling.

 

  1. The Dissent

One final matter worth discussing is the dissent written by Justice Ginsburg, joined by Justice Sotomayor. Not surprisingly, Ginsburg feels that this case should have been decided in favor of the same-sex couple.  However, her argument against the majority opinion is so weak it makes clear her bias.

She does not address the fact that gay marriage was illegal at the time Phillips refused to design and create the cake. She does not even broach the freedom of speech aspect. Instead she asserts that the biased statements of a few commissioners against Phillips, during a government hearing in judgment of Phillips, do not rise to the level of “hostility” toward Phillips and therefore cannot be the justification for overturning this case.

Apparently, Ginsburg believes in a lower standard of discrimination for government than private citizens by claiming that these clear and impermissible words of hostility placed on the record by members of the commission and used as justification for their decision were not an exercise of content discrimination, yet the baker refusing to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage, that was currently against the law, and violated his religious beliefs, was discrimination.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Congress Constitution States Truth TSA

TSA Ignores Feckless Congress, Bullies States In Power Grab

By KrisAnne Hall

The Transportation Security Administration is now standing virtually alone, above the law, above Congress and above the Constitution.

It is ignoring the law which created it and bullying any airports that attempt to deploy a private security force — which they are allowed to do under the law — with the threat of creating an effective “no-fly zone” at that airport. It is bullying states such as Texas that try to ban pat-downs.

In reality, there is absolutely no oversight or accountability of the TSA, now a rights-threatening monster created by a Congress intent on looking the other way.

I wrote recently about the secret list that the TSA has created to identify any passengers who have offended TSA agents. Congress is not privy to this secret list, or apparently that it even existed. Congress is not establishing the policies that get someone on the list, nor have they established that people are noticed and a procedure created to petition to be removed. This is a purely arbitrary power resting in the hands of individual, unaccountable agents.

But this not a new dynamic. For the TSA and Congress, it is actually a designed one.

Most Americans do not know that the very congressional act that created the TSA, also established that airports could replace federal TSA agents with private security two years after the law was enacted. However, in January 2011, when more than 16 airports had tried to opt out, TSA refused to leave these airports and the director of the TSA put a “freeze” on the airports’ ability to opt out, violating the very Act that created the TSA.

When the TSA violated this Act with their policies and actions, Congress didn’t step up and remind them of the existing law. Instead, Congress passed a new law, HR 658, reasserting the “right” of the airports to opt out of TSA screeners and required the TSA to notify all airports of this “right.” Yet, in a questionable move, Congress also then gave the Secretary of Homeland Security, the directing agency over the TSA, the authority to approve or deny an airport’s “request” to transfer to private security screening.

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In summary, Congress told the airports they had a “right” to opt out of federal screening and then put the TSA in charge of approving or denying this “right.” If the TSA has the authority to approve or deny their own employment, then the airports do not possess a right to transfer to private screening, they merely possess a privilege granted by those they wish to remove.

Would that not mean that by all form and function, our airports are now occupied through force by the federal government? That, by definition, is despotism.

Unfortunately, this point is proven by the fact that in 2011, Texas lawmakers attempted to pass a law outlawing TSA pat downs. The FAA responded immediately by threatening to turn Texas into a de facto “No Fly Zone” if the law was signed. Of course, Texas backed down. If the federal government can deny a State’s right to internally govern itself, this is a violation of the delegation of Constitutional powers expressly enumerated and a violation of the reserved powers of the States expressly identified in the 10th Amendment.

There is no constitutional authority for the TSA to exist, much less wield unchecked power within the states. This unconstitutional agency was created by Congress through the pretense of “national security” and it is failing miserably.

According to James Bovard in the Los Angeles Times, “the Department of Homeland Security concluded last year that TSA officers and equipment had failed to detect mock threats roughly 80% of the time. In Minneapolis, an undercover team succeeded in smuggling weapons and mock bombs past airport screeners 95% of the time. An earlier DHS investigation found the TSA utterly unable to detect weapons, fake explosives and other contraband, regardless of how extensive it’s pat-downs were.”

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Americans have been deceived into trading their essential liberties for a completely non-existent security. We have a private or state option that would likely be more effective and one that could more closely be overseen through the states.

Congress has created this monster. They have made TSA above check and balance, above the law and Congress, and above the Constitution itself: not only the 4th Amendment, but also the 1st Amendment, 6th Amendment, 7th Amendment, 8th Amendment, and 10th Amendment. It is time for the American people to stand up to Congress, the DHS, and the TSA and assert our Right to keep ourselves “secure.”

It is time Americans replace this ineffective, intrusive and secretive unchecked system with one that follows the law and the Constitution, and where the States protect the internal security of the people while the feds are limited to the specifically enumerated powers.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Categories
Constitution Government States Truth

Secret TSA List Violates The Constitution

By KrisAnne Hall

According to a memo received by the New York Times, in February of this year the TSA developed a brand new “secret watch list.” This list is for special people who don’t necessarily qualify for the big “No Fly” list, but for people individual agents of the TSA feel have been “offensive” or have created “challenges to the safe and effective completion of screening.”

So if you don’t like where the agent’s hands are roaming, or you question a TSA agent’s authority, motives, or honesty, you get to be on this new list.  

According to the memo and anonymous TSA agents interviewed by the New York Times, being on this list allows other TSA agents to identify you as a “problem.” The TSA claims the list cannot impel “extra screening” at checkpoints, but those of us who fly often know how ridiculous it can become when you are “randomly chosen” to for extra screening.  

The feds already have multiple “watch lists” and being on this new list won’t put you on the “no fly” list, so why does the TSA need a new, super-secret one?

Kelly Wheaton, TSA deputy chief counsel, says the TSA needs a list for passengers who have been demonstrably unruly at, or near, checkpoints. Matthew F. Leas, a TSA spokesman, said in an email to the Times, that the agency “wants to ensure there are safeguards in place to protect Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and others from any individual who has exhibited disruptive or assaultive behavior at a screening checkpoint and is scheduled to fly.”  

According to the Times, Federal security directors, top TSA security officials at airports and top Air Marshals’ supervisors can nominate individuals to be put on the watch list. Only the TSA administrator, his deputy and the top two officials at the agency’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis may add or remove people from the database.

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This is clearly unconstitutional. There is no notice given that you are being put on a list, and no apparent way for you request to be removed from this list. If the government can secretly put an American on a list that could lead agents to identify that American and impose regulations or even lead to some kind of discriminatory activity, this is a violation of every American’s Right to Due Process; Rights that are expressly enumerated in the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Democrat of New Jersey, said during a House homeland security subcommittee hearing: “What I don’t want — what I think no American would want — is an excuse for unfair, secret profiling that doesn’t even offer a chance for people to contest their name appearing on such a list…I am concerned about the civil-liberty implications of such a list.” Hugh Handeyside, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Washington Post, the policy gives the agency wide latitude to “blacklist people arbitrarily and essentially punish them for asserting their rights.”

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Those who fought for the foundations of America lived through a nearly identical exercise of federal power. For those living under British Rule in 1761, they called these laws, “the worst instrument of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever was found in an English law-book.” (For a history refresher to see the alarming parallels with today’s TSA, read this article on the history of our 4th Amendment.)

We all should be concerned about the implications of a single agent, within a federal agency, possessing unlimited and unchecked power over Americans!

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. She is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and has an internationally popular radio and television show. Her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com. Get the book “Sovereign Duty” to learn what the designers of our Constitution wanted Americans to do when their federal government became bloated and out of control. Find this book on Amazon, Barns & Noble, Wal-Mart, and many other merchants.


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Categories
Constitution First Amendment Free Speech Truth

KrisAnne Hall On President Trump, Twitter And The First Amendment

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

President Trump has been blocking people from his @realDonaldTrump account. A federal judge says Trump is violating the First Amendment. Is the right to freedom of speech being violated by Trump through his actions on Twitter? The answer to this question requires a two-step Constitutional review process.

First, Twitter is a private forum, run by a private company. Something becomes a violation of rights when the government is the offender. People do not have their rights violated when Twitter, as a private company, censors and blocks persons from their forum. Private businesses still retain the right to refuse to do business with customers, regardless of the confusion created by the recent issues with photographers and cake bakers. Additionally, people do not have their rights violated when they are blocked on Twitter by another private individual. The principle here is: No government actor, no violations of rights.

But this is not only a question of Twitter blocking customers. This is a question of the President of the United States, a government actor, blocking discussion from his Twitter feed. So the question is: Is Donald Trump a private citizen or a government actor?

The argument could be made that the @realDonaldTrump account is Trump’s personal account and as a private account maintained by a private citizen, people being blocked do not have their rights being violated. However that argument fails the moment Donald Trump discusses “presidential business” on this “private” account. 

Trump transforms his private account into the account of a government agent through his own choice of topics discussed. Since Trump is president, he is a government agent. Since Trump uses his Twitter account to discuss presidential business the account is not private, it becomes a public forum. Therefore, those blocked by Trump on his @realDonaldTrump account are having their voice silenced by a government actor regarding public affairs. This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of speech.

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The quick fix for Mr. Trump is to not block anyone, or to stop using the @realDonaldTrump account to discuss public business and confine that conversation to the @POTUS account. That way he may maintain control over his truly private account and leave government business to the government account.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.

 

Categories
Constitution Immigration Judges Truth

States Have Power Over Sports Gambling, Not Over Illegals

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

To assert that sports gambling and immigration and naturalization are the same undermines the authority of the Constitution itself, and has the potential to create the very crisis the creators of the Constitution were attempting to avoid.

The U.S Supreme Court recently rendered an opinion in the case Murphy v. NCAA regarding the State’s ability to legalize sports gambling. The majority Court opined that the 10th Amendment made the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional, thereby taking the stance that the States were not only not bound by this federal law, but that the States could indeed, pass legislation to legalize sports gambling within their State. (To better understand this particular opinion, please read this explanation.)

There are many, from judges to media pundits, who now profess that this opinion regarding States’ power and sports gambling will also set a precedent to justify several States’ actions to ignore federal laws regarding immigration and naturalization. I would not even be surprised if some federal judges attempted to use this argument to render certain federal laws regarding naturalization void.

However, this is not the conclusion that can be drawn if we are to follow the Constitution and the terms of this contract that binds the States into the American union.

 

  1. The Controlling Law is the Constitution, Not Precedent

The controlling law in this matter, first and foremost, is not precedent set by a judge or court, but the Constitution itself. We know through Article 6 Clause 2 of the Constitution (the Supremacy Clause) that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. We also know from this clause that only the laws made by Congress that are within compliance with the Constitution are the Supreme Law of the Land. Several drafters of this Constitution spoke on this matter making the conditional nature of federal laws even more clear.

“…the power of the Constitution predominates. Anything, therefore, that shall be enacted by Congress contrary thereto, will not have the force of law.” James Wilson, 1787 Ratification Debates

“No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”  Alexander Hamilton, Federalist #78

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The Supremacy Clause itself declares that laws made by Congress that are inconsistent with the powers specifically enumerated to the federal government are not binding upon the States.  Within the Bill of Rights is the 10th Amendment, which serves as further clarification of this separation of powers between the States and the federal government.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” 10th Amendment (emphasis mine)

 

  1.  Delegation of Powers Makes the Legal Distinction

It is within the distinct separation of powers between the States and federal government that the Constitutional difference exists between States legislating sports gambling and States denying the Uniformed Rules of Naturalization. Simply put, the power to establish Uniform Rule of Naturalization is a power delegated to the federal government through the States’ Constitutional compact; the power to make laws regarding gambling is not. (NOTE: The assertion that the federal government is empowered to regulate gambling through the “commerce clause” is an errant expansion of federal power through judicial “interpretation” that was not intended by the drafters.)

The authority to make the Uniform Rule of Naturalization was expressly delegated to Congress through Article 1 section 8 clause 4 of the Constitution:

“To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;”

It could not be clearer. The purpose of this power being delegated was to correct serious problems that had arisen through the Articles of Confederation due to “the dissimilarity in the rules of naturalization” that James Madison identifies in Federalist #42 as “a fault in our system.” Madison appropriately defines “naturalization” as the classification that bestows upon an alien “all privileges and immunities of free citizens.”

In the previous Constitution, the definitions of citizenship were left to the independent States creating not only confusion amongst the States, but as Madison asserts, a potential for “embarrassment” and “chaos.” When the States established their own standard of naturalization, creating different standards across the Union, an alien could enjoy the benefits of citizenship in one State but not others. So an alien who enjoys the benefits of citizenship in one State could bring the legal claim to demand the benefits of citizenship in other States who have different standards.

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Madison said this claim would establish that “the law of one State be preposterously rendered paramount to the law of another, within the jurisdiction of another.” Those who ratified the Constitution considered this to be a problem too serious to not be provided against. Therefore, the power to establish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization was established; to ensure a single standard from State to State for aliens to become citizens and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

 

  1. States of the Union Must Recognize the Authority of the Constitution

Every State that enters the Union under this Constitution, must agree that this power is delegated to the federal government and must admit they do not have the authority to alter those standards. If they do so, they are violating the terms of the Constitution they agreed to when entering the Union and are breaking their fiduciary duty to the other States.

The federal exercise of the power over the standards for naturalization is consistent with the Constitution, by the terms of the Constitution, and the States are bound by it. Any alteration of this standard is not only contrary to the intent of the Constitution, but also contrary to the very language itself. Cities and States who are allowing aliens to vote, to hold government office or to participate in tax payer benefits and welfare are violating the terms of the Constitution and their duty to the other States.

 

  1. Gambling and Naturalization are not Constitutionally the Same

The Supreme Court was correct in its opinion to say that PASPA does not control the States.  However, to claim Murphy v. NCAA creates a precedent that will allow States to create their own standards for applying the benefits of citizenship to aliens is errant and dangerous. If the courts suggest that a State can create its own standard for citizenship, then what will prevent a State from refusing citizenship status to people based upon their religion, skin color, or political ideology, and then subsequently demanding that standard upon other States?

Finally, as Madison explains in Federalist #42, “If we are to be one nation in any respect, it clearly ought to be in respect to other nations.” The entire purpose behind the States creating the federal government is to be a representative on behalf of the States in foreign affairs. The manner in which an alien becomes a citizen is just as much a foreign affair as a domestic one.  To have uniformity in that manner not only makes for better foreign relations, but will also, as Madison again explains, foster “the harmony and proper intercourse among the States.”

For the State to create laws contrary to the Constitution is quite different from a State creating laws when the power has been reserved to the States. That distinction is what the 10th Amendment is all about. Gambling is a power reserved to the States; Naturalization is a power delegated to the federal government. To assert that the two are the same, undermines the authority of the Constitution itself and has the potential to create the very crisis the creators of the Constitution were attempting to avoid.

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.


 

Categories
Constitution Founders Government States Supreme Court Truth

Supreme Court Rediscovers States Rights, But…

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

In a baby step back toward protecting reserved state powers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overturned a 25-year-old federal law called The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). The Act was originally signed into law in 1992 to target organized markets for sports gambling.  This federal law was not a flat ban on sports-gambling schemes, but only a law that prohibited States from permitting sports gambling by State law.

In an opinion written by Justice Alito, the majority of the court decided this law was a violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. Alito says, “The legislative powers granted to Congress are sizeable, but they are not unlimited. The Constitution confers on Congress not plenary legislative power but only certain enumerated powers. Therefore, all other legislative power is reserved for the States, as the Tenth Amendment confirms.” The Tenth Amendment limitation is referred to by the court as the “anti-commandeering doctrine.”

The people of New Jersey want to legalize sports gambling but PASPA makes it illegal for States to legalize any “sports gambling schemes.” The people of New Jersey argued that this federal law infringed upon the State’s sovereign authority. The State relied upon two cases; New York v. US (1992) and Printz v. US (1997) that struck down federal laws that imposed improper regulatory powers upon the States. In Printz v. US, the Supreme Court used Federalist Papers 39 as support for their opinion in which James Madison explained:

“[T]he local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority, than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere. In this relation, then, the proposed government cannot be deemed a NATIONAL one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.”

In these cases, the Supreme Court recognized that there are separate and independent jurisdictions that exist within the two sovereign spheres of government; the State and the Federal. When the power has not been delegated to the Federal government, that power remains with the State and outside of the Federal government’s power to impose laws upon the State. Following this same standard, established by the Tenth Amendment in the Constitution, Justice Alito and the majority recognized the State’s authority to regulate gambling lies within the sovereign realm of the state’s authority and that Congress directing state legislatures to prohibit sports gambling is not an enumerated power delegated by the Constitution to the federal government. Alito wrote:

“The anti-commandeering doctrine may sound arcane, but it is simply the expression of a fundamental structural decision incorporated into the Constitution, i.e., the decision to withhold from Congress the power to issue orders directly to the States.”

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It is refreshing to see the Supreme Court return to this fundamental and essential truth; that the States are independent sovereigns and the federal government can only lawfully exercise powers that have been properly delegated. This Court also recognized the constitutional principle of the sovereignty of the States in NFIB v. Sebelius when Chief Justice Roberts, writing the majority opinion said:

“In the typical case we look to the States to defend their prerogative by adopting ‘the simple expedient of not yielding’ to federal blandishments when they do not want to embrace federal policy as their own.  The States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it.”

Although this is just a small step, Alito and the majority court may be steering the federal government back in the proper direction; one not only required by the Constitution but also by those who wrote it.  Alexander Hamilton makes this very clear in Federalist #78:

“There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”

Hamilton is explaining in this text that for a federal law to be valid, it must not only comply with the text of the Constitution, it must also be consistent with the “tenor of the commission under which it is exercised.” The Constitution requires adherence to the intent of the drafters as well as the words of the document. In a display of adherence to this intent, Justice Alito quotes the Declaration of Independence and Madison’s Federalist #39 in his majority opinion to once again remind the people and their Congress that the States are sovereign.

“When the original States declared their independence, they claimed the powers inherent in sovereignty — in the words of the Declaration of Independence, the authority ‘to do all…Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do’…the States…retained ‘a residuary and inviolable sovereignty.’”

However, one point Alito seems to miss in his opinion is that the power to regulate gambling is not a power that is delegated at all to the federal government. He claims that “[c]ongress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own.” In this broad assertion of power, Alito actually sides with Justice Ginsberg and the dissent; that the federal government is realistically unlimited in its exercise of power. Justice Thomas, in his concurring opinion, is the only Justice who denies this assertion of unlimited authority:

“Unlike the dissent I do “doubt” that Congress can prohibit sports gambling that does not cross state lines.”

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Indeed, you may search the entire text, you may scour the writings of the drafters of the Constitution, but you will never find an authority delegated to the federal government to regulate such activity. The assumed authority to do so comes from an interpretation of the Commerce Clause, in which the federal government stretches the meaning and application way beyond the “tenor of the commission” of the Constitution. As Madison explained in 1792, during the Cod Fishery debate, the clauses within the Constitution are not powers delegated at all; they are merely explanations of “the purpose of the powers which are delegated.” These clauses were never intended to be boilerplate blank checks written to Congress to create whatever law they could somehow justify. Madison issues a very stern warning against using these clauses for that purpose.

“…for if the clause in question really authorizes Congress to do whatever they think fit…it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited government established by the people of America.”

What Alito suggests is that the powers of the federal government are not limited by the Constitution, but by mere will enforced by interpretation of clauses. Alito seems to only differ from the dissent in policy but not in principle. However, as Alito does assert in his opinion, the Tenth Amendment is very clear: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” However, his final statements seem to assert that there are no reserved powers that rest within the States.

What Alito is really saying is that all power exists within the federal government and anything the feds choose not to use, is then “available” to be exercised by the States. Alito’s claim then becomes the very manifestation of Madison’s warning, transmuting the limited nature of the federal government to one that is limited only by its own interpretation and desire for power. Alito is not supporting a Constitutional Republic, but an unlimited federal kingdom that grants permissions to its vassal colonies — the states.

There should be no doubt as to the limited authority of the federal government. There should be no doubt as to the reserved powers and sovereignty of the States. Both are well documented within the Constitution and in the drafters’ explanations of the Constitution. However, this fundamental and essential principle necessary for the existence of our Constitutional Republic still eludes too many of our justices who claim the federal government can regulate the lives of the citizens in whatever manner they choose, as long as they can create an articulate justification and manipulate the Constitution, irrespective of the tenor in which it was written.

It is a step in the right direction to see the Court once again asserting the Sovereignty of the States.  However, what is the real difference between the majority and minority opinions when they both support an unlimited congressional authority over the people and left over power for the States?

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.


Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever, and a lot of sources are not trustworthy. Whatfinger.com  is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time from good sources.