Tag Archive: politics

Detroit residents use Second Amendment to defend their homes
By Detroit Free Press (MI) March 29, 2014 6:55 am

ConstitutionFrances Williams said she knows the people on her block near St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church on Detroit’s west side.

Good people. Law-abiding people. Homeowners.

She wiped a tear as she talks about the anguish she believes her friend of 20 years and neighbor a few doors away must be going through. Police said the neighbor shot and killed two men trying to break into his house on Dexter this morning.

It’s unfortunate that two people died, but the break-ins have to stop, she said.

“We’re just tired, basically. … We’re not going to live in fear. People are just doing what they have to do, you know, and just as anybody else, we value our lives, and we’d like to be able to live out our lives in peace,” Williams said.

William’s neighbor, a man in his early 50s who repairs buses for the city, is the latest in a string of cases where Detroit residents have resorted to using weapons to fend off intruders. If prosecutors decide that Tuesday’s killings on Dexter were justified, it would bring the number of justifiable homicides in Detroit to 10 cases so far this year.

A Detroit police spokesman said residents have a right to defend themselves.

Chief (James) Craig and the Detroit Police Department, along with the citizens of Detroit, are fed up. “We are sick and tired of being victimized by the criminal element in this city,” said Sgt. Michael Woody. “The citizens are protecting their homes and their property and their families, and they are well within their rights to do that.”

Williams said this was only the most recent break-in or attempt her friend experienced. A couple of days ago, intruders tried to break into the man’s home twice in a single day.

Woody said the man heard a noise by a side window of his house and went to check about 10 a.m. He saw two men trying to break in and confronted them. A fight ensued and the man, who has a concealed-pistol license, pulled out a handgun and shot the other two men dead.

Authorities are trying to identify the men, who appeared to be men in their 20s.

In most recent cases, Detroiters are using guns to shoot at intruders who break in to their homes, sometimes with deadly consequences:

– A resident fatally shot a 17-year-old intruder on Penrod Street this month.

– A woman fatally shot an intruder on Grove Street in February.

– A mother of two opened fire when three teens broke into her home on Woodrow Wilson in February.

And earlier this month, an 82-year-old man used a hammer to whack a 33-year-old man who broke into his home on Whitfield. The bleeding suspect was arrested.

Similar situations happen in the suburbs, too, as evidenced by the Bloomfield Township homeowner who opened fire on two burglars last month, striking one in the hand.

Not all cases where homeowners have shot at people on their property are considered justified, however. Theodore Wafer of Dearborn Heights faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the November killing of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. Wafer is accused of shooting McBride after she crashed her car and ended up on his front porch. The case has racial overtones because Wafer is white and McBride was black.

Back on Dexter, Williams said residents have been forced to rely on themselves for protection against criminals. Crime, especially break-ins, convinced a family across the street to abandon their home late last year. It’s vacant now.

“We can and we will protect ourselves,” Williams said. “You can’t be having a culture of fear. The police are going to have to do better.”

Staff writer Gina Damron contributed to this report.


Not everyone thinks like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton

Jeff CrouereThe arbiters of race relations believe that no person of color should dare possess an independent thought or take a contrarian position. Thus, all African Americans must believe in the Democratic Party and liberalism. If not, you are demonized and harassed; for evidence, witness the treatment of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas or Dr. Ben Carson.

In the great cultural debates of the day, all African Americans must support “justice” for Trayvon Martin and believe that George Zimmerman was fueled by racism when he shot the Florida youngster.

This type of warped thinking extends to celebrities, especially African American celebrities. They must hold firm to the liberal line and emphasize the racial injustice and discrimination that exists in our country today.

Fortunately, not all African American athletes subscribe to this type of racial poison. In an interview with The New Yorker, future NBA Hall of Fame guard Kobe Bryant discussed the Trayvon Martin incident.

He said, “…if something happens to an African-American we immediately come to his defense? Yet you want to talk about how far we’ve progressed as a society? Well, we’ve progressed as a society; then don’t jump to somebody’s defense just because they’re African-American. You sit and you listen to the facts just like you would in any other situation, right? So I won’t assert myself.”

As an independent thinker, unlike the Miami Heat players, Bryant did not wear a “hoodie” to support Martin. While he did not support George Zimmerman, Bryant refused to join the chorus of athletes publicly praising Trayvon Martin. He insisted that the behavior of the Heat players showed not racial solidarity, but a lack of “progress.”

This stance is not revolutionary or “conservative,” it just displays plain common sense and fairness. Sadly, Bryant’s interview has unleashed a torrent of criticism from civil rights activists and other guardians of racial animosity. Bryant has always been viewed with suspicion by some African Americans because of his upbringing in Italy. According to NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, Bryant is “somewhat confused about culture, because he was brought up in another country.”

Oh really, when did being exposed to a foreign country lead to confusion? In reality, such experience helps a person become well rounded, educated and cultured. In this instance, Bryant is not confused; he just wants to judge situations on the basis of the facts, not race.

If more people adopted such an attitude possibly race relations would not be in such a precarious state today. Instead, in our political environment, race agitators like Rev. Al Sharpton have tremendous influence and use the liberal media to foment racial conflict.

Sharpton is assisted by politicians like President Obama who has not improved race relations at all. In fact, Obama promotes racial animosity in America by interjecting himself into situations like the Martin case and the Cambridge, MA police incident involving Harvard Professor Louis Gates.

As President, Obama should be a symbol of unity and racial harmony; however, instead of bringing Americans together, the President specializes in division and turmoil.

In the interview, Bryant rejects racial groupthink and says he “won’t react to something just because I’m supposed to, because I’m an African-American.” What he is advocating is individualism and free will, dangerous concepts to the race hustlers and political panderers who dominate the spotlight today.

In response to his critics on social media, Bryant posted on his Instagram account a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. along with the icon’s famous quote, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Amen.

Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at http://www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at jeff@ringsidepolitics.com.


By Mary E. Webster
March 27, 2014

More often than not, The Federalist Papers explain a subject far more clearly and concisely than I could ever hope to do. Federalist Paper Number 41 begins the discussion about the federal powers as defined in the Constitution. It is clear that the author was aware of the potential abuse of power.

“Some people say the new Constitu¬tion gives the federal government too much power. They rarely consider whether these powers are necessary. Instead, they talk about the inconveniences and how the power might be abused. They may inflame the passions of the unthinking and confirm the prejudice of the misthinking.

“But cool and candid people know that even the purest of human blessings are part alloy. The choice must always be made, if not of the lesser evil, at least of the greater, not the perfect, good. All political power may be misapplied and abused. Therefore, whenever power is to be conferred, it must first be decided whether such a power is nec¬essary for the public good. If the Constitu¬tion is ratified, we will need an effective guard against the misuse of power.”#41[4]

The need for a new Constitution grew from the federal misuse of power under the Articles of Confederation. Interestingly, the Articles gave the federal government so little power that it was unable to fulfill its responsibilities without using powers not given it by the Articles, the definition of abuse of power.

“We should not entrust our national interests to a government that doesn’t have all the powers a free people should give to any government. The government that is supposed to take care of these interests must have the power to do it.

“Adversaries of the Constitution would seem more sincere if they limited their arguments to showing that the people can’t trust the internal structure of the proposed government. They shouldn’t have wandered into pointless discussions about how much power the national government will have.

“The powers are not too extensive for the objectives of a federal government; or, in other words, for the management of our national interests. And there are no good arguments that show it has excess powers. If the federal government has too much power, then the difficulty stems from the nature of government. If it is unsafe to give the country all of the powers it needs, then we should downsize our ideas and simply form smaller, separate confederacies.

“It is absurd to entrust national interests to a government that doesn’t have the authority to properly manage them.” #23[11]

Therefore, the Constitution gives the federal government the power needed to fulfill its responsibilities.

“Regarding federal powers, two important questions arise: (a) Are any of the powers given to the federal government unnecessary or improper? (b) Will the total federal powers be dangerous to the States?” #41[2]

“To judge this subject, we will review the powers given the federal government. The classes of federal power relate to the following issues:

1. Security against foreign danger.
2. Regulation of interactions with foreign nations.
3. Maintain harmony and interactions among the States.
4. Miscellaneous objects of general utility.
5. Restraint of the States from certain injurious acts.
6. Provisions giving effectiveness to these powers.” #41[5]

The federal government’s powers are limited by the Constitution. Federalist Papers Number 41 through 43 discuss the specific federal powers denoted by 1-4 above. (Federalist Paper Number 44 discusses #5 and #6.)

The first class of powers secures against foreign danger. The federal government has the power to declare war, raise and equip armies and fleets, and regulate and call forth the militia. And to pay for the military, it has the power to tax.

“The federal government’s second class of powers regulates how the country deals with foreign nations. The federal government will: make trea¬ties, send and receive ambassadors, ministers, and consuls, define and punish piracies, felonies on the high seas and against the law of nations, and regulate foreign commerce (after 1808, it may prohibit the importation of slaves; until then, it will charge a duty of ten dollars per head to discourage such importations). #42[1]

The third class of powers provide for harmony among the States: “regulate commerce among the States and the Indian tribes, coin and regulate the value of money, punish counterfeiting coins and securities of the United States, fix the standard of weights and measures,make a uniform rule of naturalization and uniform laws of bankruptcy, prescribe the way that public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of each State will be proved and the effect they will have in other States, and establish post offices and post roads.” #42[10]

The fourth class of powers includes: copyrights and patents, the federal capital, other federal property, the definition and punishment for treason, the creation of new states, the congressional regulation of U.S. territory, the guarantee of a republican government in each state, protecting the states against invasion, protecting the states against internal violence, paying the Confederacy’s debts, amending the Constitution, and the ratification procedure of the new Constitution.

This summary of the powers given the federal government by the Constitution emphasizes the limits of its power. We now know how easily the federal government oversteps its authority and uses powers not given it by the Constitution.

The Federalist Paper warns: “If the Constitu¬tion is ratified, we will need an effective guard against the misuse of power.”#41[4] But the only way to stop the misuse of power is to understand the limits on the federal government’s powers.

“The people are the natural guardians of the Constitution.” “Enlightened citizens know the difference between legal authority and illegal usurpation of authority.” #16[10]

Our challenge is to help form “enlightened citizens.” Words on paper cannot block abuses of power. But citizens can.

© 2014 Mary E. Webster – All Rights Reserved

Mary E Webster, a graduate of St. Paul College and the University of Iowa, started studying The Federalist Papers in 1994. Her books, including a 10th-grade reading level translation of the Papers, The Federalist Papers: Modern English Edition Two, and The U.S. Constitution: Annotated with The Federalist Papers in Modern English make the timeless arguments within the Papers available to everyone. Webster is related to Noah and Daniel Webster and a direct descendent of several signers of the Mayflower Compact.

Website: Mary.Webster.org

Email: marywebster00@gmail.com



The convention of states                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  v v   n                                                                                                Answering the John Birch Society Questions about Article V Michael Farris, JD, LLM

The John Birch Society describes itself as a constitutionalist organization, yet it is highly critical of a very important component of the Constitution. The JBS does not like Article V’s provision that allows the States to unilaterally propose and ratify amendments to the Constitution.

George Mason demanded that this provision be included in Article V because he correctly forecast the situation we face today. He predicted that Washington, D.C. would violate its constitutional limitations and the States would need to make adjustments to the constitutional text in order to rein in the abuse of power by the federal government.

Current conservative solutions to the problems of federal abuse of power fall into one of two general strategies: (1) try to elect more conservatives to federal office; or (2) promote theories like “nullification” that are not grounded in the text of the Constitution and have no realistic chance of success.

Our plan is to use the Constitution’s own formula—a Convention of States under Article V—to give us real solutions that are as big as the problems.

Here are our answers to the sixteen JBS questions:

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1. What ails America? Is it our Constitution or our Congressional, Presidential, and bureaucratic non- compliance with the Constitution?

The central problem with American government is the belief that the purpose of government is to provide for our needs. Washington, D.C. carefully nurtures this belief because it serves its own prime purpose—the aggregation of federal power. Accordingly, Washington, D.C. has gradually amassed overwhelming power that is clearly outside of the boundaries that the Framers intended when they wrote the Constitution.

This improper aggregation of power crisis, in fact, arises indirectly from the Constitution itself. The Constitution permits the federal judiciary to be the final interpreter of the Constitution.1 Because the

1 Some argue that the Founders never intended for the Supreme Court to have the power of judicial review. History does not support this assertion.

In the records of the Connecticut ratification convention we find a very clear statement on this issue from Oliver Ellsworth. Ellsworth was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a delegate to the ratifying convention in his home state of Connecticut and was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1796 to 1800. Here is what he said in the Connecticut convention:

If the general legislature should at any time overleap their limits, the judicial department is a constitutional check. If the United States go beyond their powers, if they make a law which the Constitution does not authorize, it is void; and the judicial power, the national judges, who to secure their impartiality, are to be made independent, will declare it to be void. On the other hand, if the states go beyond their limits, if they make a law which is a usurpation upon the federal government the law is void; and upright, independent judges will declare it to be so.

A very similar statement was made by James Wilson during the state ratifying convention for Pennsylvania. Wilson also possesses a tremendous resume. He was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, the Pennsylvania ratifying convention, and was one of George Washington’s initial appointees to the Supreme Court.

Wilson said:

If a law should be made inconsistent with those powers vested by this instrument in Congress, the judges, as a consequence of their independence, and the particular powers of government being defined, will declare such law to be null and void; for the power of the Constitution predominates. Any thing, therefore, that shall be enacted by Congress contrary thereto, will not have the force of law.

The Federalist No. 78 contains yet another declaration to this same effect: 2 | ConventionofStates.com

Framers did not have any meaningful experience with the practice of judicial review, they did not construct adequate checks and balances vis-à-vis the judiciary.

Accordingly, the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court today, is in fact the problem. This interpreted Constitution allows runaway spending, undeclared wars, government agencies spying on the citizens, massive debt that will impose economic slavery on our children, rule by executive order, coercive medical insurance, and the rise of a dominating bureaucracy.

All of these things are constitutional according to the Supreme Court or lower federal courts. Moreover, the two most abused provisions of the Constitution have been amenable to abuse because they were not written tightly enough to effectively implement the drafters’ intentions. The Interstate Commerce Clause was intended to allow Congress to set the rules for interstate shipping. As interpreted, it allows Congress to regulate virtually any part of our lives that has a dollar sign attached to it.

The General Welfare Clause as interpreted allows Congress to tax and spend for any fool thing that Congress desires. Madison’s view of the General Welfare Clause (which was shared by a majority of the Framers) was that the General Welfare Clause was not a grant of spending power at all. It was a limitation on spending. Madison believed that when Congress used its other enumerated powers to spend, it had to do so in a manner that truly promoted the welfare

The complete independence of the courts of justice is peculiarly essential in a limited Constitution. By a limited Constitution, I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority; such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.

There is nothing to the contrary which appears in any place in the drafting or ratifying conventions. The original meaning of the Supremacy Clause is quite clear. When Congress passes a law that is contrary to its power in the Constitution, it is the duty of the judges to declare it void.

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of the nation (“the general welfare”), as opposed to the welfare of a specific locality or a small group of individuals.

The Hamilton view of the General Welfare Clause was famously adopted and explained by Joseph Story in his seminal work on the Constitution. It was Story’s version of this Clause that caused the Supreme Court to initially adopt this approach in United States v. Butler, 297 U.S. 1 (1936). Story explained that while the General Welfare Clause did contain an additional grant of power to tax and spend, it was subject to two important limitations. First, expenditures should be for the national interest, not local or personal interests. Second, this Clause was subject to the first resolution adopted in the Constitutional Convention—that this Constitution was adopted solely for areas where the States possessed no jurisdiction. In other words, if the States could spend money on a particular subject, Hamilton and Story thought that Congress could not spend money for that purpose under the General Welfare Clause. States can, if their State constitutions permit, spend money on education, welfare programs, medical programs, and retirement programs. Accordingly, Congress has no jurisdiction under the General Welfare Clause to spend money for any of these purposes.

All of the entitlement spending that is bankrupting this country would be unconstitutional if we faithfully followed either Madison’s or Hamilton’s view. All federal mandates imposed by Congress on the States would likewise be unconstitutional.

Accordingly, our task is to do two things to fix these constitutional problems. We need to write very specific language that clarifies and adjusts the Commerce Clause and the General Welfare Clause according to their original meanings. Moreover, we need to put proper checks and balances in place to ensure that the federal judiciary no longer has the ability to legislate from the bench.

We should make other course corrections as well, because the Constitution as interpreted contains other serious flaws. The Framers made all treaties the supreme law of the land. However, the Framers understood the treaty power to reach only the subject of how nations treat other nations—not how our own nation

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interacts with and governs our citizens. Today, however, treaties are viewed as capable of controlling the internal law of the United States. This error must be definitively corrected.

Likewise, the taxing power in the Sixteenth Amendment is dangerous and needs to be changed.

Executive orders and administrative regulations have been allowed to become law even though Article I, Section 1 declares that all federal laws must be passed by Congress. The current interpretation is unacceptable and must be corrected.

Experience has taught us that the Constitution as interpreted has allowed the abuse of both federal power and the rights of the people. We need to correct these erroneous interpretations and constrain the power of the federal judiciary to make activist interpretations in the future.

George Mason knew that it would take constitutional changes to return the government in practice to the government the Framers intended to give us. And he knew that Washington, D.C. would never propose such changes. He was right on all counts.

2. If our Constitution is the problem, what exactly do we need to change in it and why can’t that be done by the method that all 27 amendments have undergone to change the Constitution?

I have already explained the basic changes needed in the Constitution as interpreted.

It should be self-evident why it is impossible to get necessary amendments via the usual congressional process: Congress will never propose any amendments that reduce federal power. George Mason correctly understood this reality. Washington, D.C. will never voluntarily relinquish power. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding himself.

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3. If the problem isn’t the Constitution, but rather unfaithfulness to the Constitution, how will changing the Constitution remedy the problem?

The answer is simple: We must curtail the power of the Supreme Court to approve federal power grabs by the other branches. When we address the whole problem and not just pieces, a solution becomes apparent.

4. Who is in charge of calling the convention according to Article V? If Congress calls the convention, as Article V says it does, who decides how many delegates each state gets? Will the number of voting delegates be population-based or will each state get one vote or will another method be used? Are these questions that state legislatures are charged with deciding or does Article V say that Congress decides?

Article V and the settled historical practices give us all of the necessary rules. The following questions and answers explain each step in the process:

a. What is the subject matter of the Convention? b. Where will the Convention be held?
c. When will the Convention start?
d. Who will appoint the delegates (and how many)? e. What amendments will be proposed?

f. How are the amendments to be ratified?

a. Subject matter

The subject matter of the Convention is settled by the States. There have been over 400 applications for a Convention of States in the history of the Republic. We have never had a Convention because we have never had two-thirds of the States agree on the subject matter. State legislatures control the subject matter. Just as the

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calling of the Convention is subject to the subject matter limitation, all stages of the Article V process are likewise prohibited from going outside of this limitation.

b. Where will the Convention be held?

Congress gets to decide this question. Any place other than Washington, D.C. is appropriate in our view.

c. When will the Convention start?

Congress also gets to decide this question. Congress must pick a reasonable time and place. If it fails to do so, the States have the residual sovereignty that would permit them to agree to a time and place. Litigation to mandate a time and place would be almost certainly successful. Congress has a mandatory, non-discretionary duty to call the Convention and choose a reasonable time and location.

d. Who will appoint the delegates and how many will each State get?

In the very first application filed by Virginia in 1789, the Virginia General Assembly properly called this process a “Convention of States.” It is not a Convention of delegates from States. It is a Convention of sovereign units of government.

Every stage of the proceeding requires the States to act as singular sovereign entities. Thirty-four States must enact applications. There is no proportionality rule. One State, one vote. In the ratification process, thirty-eight States must ratify. There is no proportionality rule. One State, one vote. This same principle holds true for the Convention itself. There is no other way to vote other than one State, one vote when sovereign entities meet to transact mutual business.

There have been over thirty multistate conventions held in the history of the Republic. They have been sanctioned by a wide
variety of sources of authority. The one rule that has been scrupulously followed in all these conventions is this—voting is always on the basis of one State, one vote. One convention proposed to change the voting to a proportional representation basis.

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However, the vote on that motion was conducted on a one-State, one-vote basis and the motion was rejected.

The very fact that Article V does not specify a formula for the number of delegates indicates that the Framers understood that the States were not sending representatives who act in their individual capacities. The Framers knew that it would be one-State, one-vote, and that each State had the unfettered authority to determine the number and characteristics of their deputies. It would have been unacceptable to the Founders to say, for example, that each State gets three representatives. This would mean that representatives from State A could cast two votes for a proposition and one vote against it. This would be voting by individuals. The Framers wanted voting by States just as they did at the Constitutional Convention and every other convention that preceded it.

Accordingly, the number of delegates each State chooses to send is a non-issue. If State A sends 11 delegates and State B sends 7 delegates, both States only get one vote. Delegates must caucus and cast the vote for their State on each issue by a majority within that State.

e. What amendments will be proposed?

The subject matter of the Convention is settled in advance by the State applications. For our model application, the subject matter is limited to imposing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the jurisdiction of the federal government, and imposing term limits on federal officials.

The final text of any amendments on these subjects (and only these subjects) will be approved only when twenty-six or more States approve.

If more than one amendment is proposed, which is likely, they will be sent as a package—just like the Bill of Rights—where each amendment would be ratified (or rejected) individually.

f. How will the amendments be ratified?

Congress gets to choose whether ratification is directly by the State legislatures or by ratification conventions within the States.

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5. At the convention how many amendments can be proposed?

There is not a specific limit under our application. It is relatively certain that there would be at least a few amendments proposed, perhaps as many as ten to twelve.

6. Where are the amendments proposed according to Article V? Are the amendments proposed before the convention of the states or are they drafted and deliberated upon at the convention by the delegates? Are those who support the convention under the assurance that it won’t be a runaway convention contradicted by their own statements (not to mention Article V) which support the idea that the amendments are proposed, deliberated, and drafted at the convention itself?

The final version of the amendments will be drafted at the Convention. The scope of the subject matter of the amendments is set by the States in the applications.

The wisest path is for the States to work together to find language that is the most likely to accomplish the purpose of the Framers and be politically viable in the ratification stage.

There is a huge difference between a Convention that fine tunes the language of an amendment as compared to a Convention that gets to change the subject matter for the meeting. Consider the example of a Convention trying to draft term limits for federal judges. If it became apparent that having one term of ten years was going to be more acceptable than two terms of six years, then sensible people would want the delegates to be able to choose the final wording most likely to be ratified in 38 states. Delegates need to have the flexibility to negotiate final language while being strictly limited on the subject matter. This is exactly what happens under our Convention of States application process.

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The two real controls on the possibility of a runaway Convention are: 1. The States adopt the subject matter of the Convention in advance, and it is binding. 2. Thirty-eight states must approve the proposed amendments coming from the Convention.

It takes an incredibly wild imagination to believe that delegates appointed by the State legislators would defy their given agenda, and then, after an open rebellion, the State legislators in both houses of thirty-eight states would ratify an errant amendment.2

Congress is a permanent constitutional convention. It can propose amendments on any subject it wants, any day of the week. It is virtually impossible to imagine a Convention of States (appointed by State legislatures) composed of delegates more irresponsible than the governing majorities in Congress. Yet, Congress doesn’t ever send out crazy amendments. Why not? Its members are constrained by the political realities posed by ratification—and nothing else.

A runaway Convention is no more likely to occur than President Obama appointing me to the next vacancy on the Supreme Court. It is theoretically possible—but with just a sniff of realism, common sense tells us it is impossible.

7. If we aren’t following the Constitution now, would it be logical to assume that once we pass amendments to the Constitution, then the new amendments and the Constitution will be followed?

We agree completely with the sentiment that, on the whole, our country is not following the original meaning of the Constitution. However, there are certain subjects where the Constitution has been interpreted accurately in light of original intent. For example, the Second Amendment has been on good footing lately. The Full

2 Even if Congress chooses State ratification conventions as the method for ratification, the State legislatures choose the method of selecting the delegates for such conventions. If the States believe that the process has been abused, they will surely choose a method for naming the delegates that will follow their desires. For example, nothing would stop a State from saying that the ratifying convention would be composed of delegates appointed by each member of the house and senate, with each representative getting to choose one delegate.

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Faith and Credit Clause is functioning well. Term limits on the President are being obeyed.

The core answer to this question relates back to the answer to the first question. Our government is operating in substantial compliance with the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court. Thus, the government has a plausible claim that it is currently obeying the Constitution.

Conservatives generally believe that the Supreme Court was wrong in saying that Obamacare was constitutionally authorized by the General Welfare Clause, but a Supreme Court majority held it to be so. This decision was horrible if we use originalism as our standard, but was only a slight extension of past Supreme Court precedent. Thus, it is not outlandish for the government to claim that Obamacare is indeed constitutional under the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court.

So, if we are going to really fix the problems with our government, we must restrain all branches of federal power. In fact, the most important checks of all may well be those related to constraints on judicial power.

With properly written amendments, we can move the country to the point where our government would be in substantial compliance with the Constitution as written rather than as interpreted by the Supreme Court. This can be done by proper limitations on the power of the federal judiciary as well as a new methodology of appointing justices. Moreover, replacing broadly worded phrases like “the General Welfare Clause” with precise language that puts clear and proper limits on such powers will make a difference.

But let’s suppose that even with new safeguards, the left succeeds in overriding these new amendments with new federal usurpations. It will be a pyric victory for them if they thwart the intent of newly adopted amendments. The political coalition necessary to win ratification in 38 States is more than big enough to completely throw Washington, DC office holders out on their ear. No politician could then legitimately claim that they were following the true meaning of the Constitution. The public would know better. And the public would throw the rascals out.

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8. Do the proponents of the Article V Convention assume that the progressives, globalists, socialists, and liberal Democrats will sit out this convention? Or will they vie and struggle for the delegate seats? What political theories will dominate the Article V Convention?

Since the delegates are appointed by the State legislatures, the most reasonable assumption (bordering on virtual certainty) is that the delegates will generally reflect the political philosophy of the State legislatures.

Republican legislatures dominate. There are twenty-seven States (if Nebraska is counted) that are fully controlled by Republicans. There are six States where the Republicans control one chamber. Even some Democratic States cannot be fairly described as dominated by leftist progressives—(West Virginia and Nevada, for example).

The clear answer is that Republicans from southern, mountain, and central States will dominate the Convention. California, New York, and Massachusetts will send liberal delegates. They all get one vote per State. These three States, then, will be consistently outvoted by Idaho, Wyoming, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The left will send out their own fear-mongering material claiming that people like me will become delegates. And indeed I hope that I will be selected. The reality is the same for all sides. Delegates will generally reflect the political philosophy of each of the fifty State legislatures.

9. Do the proponents of an Article V Convention truly consider the risks associated with the congressional right to decide upon the method of ratification of the proposed amendments? What if Congress chooses the state ratification conventions as the method of ratification, won’t the legislatures then be cut out of the ratification process altogether?

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Congress, of course, has this option. But the State legislatures control the process for selecting the delegates to a ratification convention. There is every reason to believe that the delegates to a State ratification convention would be chosen by a popular vote of the people. But the final decision on this would be in the hands of each State legislature.

We would look forward to a grassroots election on the question of whether Washington, D.C. has too much power. We will win that battle handily.

There is one really important reason that Congress will be reluctant to choose ratification conventions. This is revealed by a lesson from history. The original Constitution was not originally ratified by the State ratification conventions in North Carolina and Rhode Island. Both States held a second ratification convention to consider the issue a second time. On the second attempt, the Constitution was ratified in both States.

Accordingly, if a State fails to ratify in its first convention, the State legislature could continue to call additional ratification conventions until thirty-eight States have ratified; it can keep calling conventions until it gets the result it wants. So the State legislatures play an important role in both methods of ratification.

The States really do have the power here.

10. If this is just a “convention of states” and not a constitutional convention are you content with the political atmosphere and morality of the current representatives in your state government? Does it give you comfort to know that those public servants at your state level of government will be able to make changes to the Constitution?

This question is based on a theological proposition that is demonstrably false. Lurking behind the question is the implication that people of the Founding Fathers’ generation were basically good while today’s politicians are basically evil. From both a theological and historical viewpoint, this implication is false.

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Theologically, the Framers correctly believed that men were born with a sin nature. That is why they created the form of government that we have. We have checks and balances, enumerated powers, and federalism all because the Framers knew that all men were sinful.

They also knew that their own generation was sinful. The way that Virginia’s Baptists were treated by the political establishment in the 1770s was utterly shameful. Baptists were jailed, beaten, and driven from church services by officials—or by thugs protected by officials.

The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed by the Framers’ generation—and the voters threw out the supporters of this horrible legislation in the next election. Both theology and history demonstrate that it is wrong to assume that that the Founders’ generation was composed of angels while ours is composed of devils.

The fact that over 90% of Americans distrust Congress tells us something very good about the wisdom of the current generation.

To those who counter this observation with the fact that the American public elected Obama twice, one response is this: Who can blame the voters for foolish choices in elections when the Republicans who want to go to Washington are usually no different from the Democrats who want to go to Washington?

Moreover, there is no political plan of any kind that doesn’t ultimately rely on the voters being willing to do the right thing. Those who promote nullification hope to get enough citizens to pressure State legislatures to do the right thing. Those who want to change Washington, D.C. by electing good conservatives are planning to rely on voters willing to do the right thing.

If the voters are crazy and incapable of doing the right thing, then they are crazy and incapable for all purposes. We believe that when voters are given a real plan that is based on the actual text of the Constitution and is accompanied by a viable strategy, enough voters will arise to require the requisite number of States to do the right thing.

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Conservatives shouldn’t be fomenting fear of common people. That is an elitist strategy.

The correct analytical approach is a simple comparison. The Constitution gives us two different ways to pass amendments to stop the abuse of power in Washington, D.C. One process requires Congress to propose the amendments. The other process allows the States to propose the amendments. Which group can we trust to propose amendments that will curtail the power of Washington, D.C.?

11. One proposed “Liberty Amendment” allows 3/5 of the U.S. House and Senate to overturn any Supreme Court ruling. But Article III, Section 2, Clause 2 grants Congress the power, with only a simple majority of both houses of Congress, to overturn Supreme Court rulings by limiting the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Does the proposed “Liberty Amendment” strengthen or weaken this congressional check on the Supreme Court?

This question demonstrates a lack of knowledge of constitutional law and litigation.

It is quite true that Congress can pass laws which can restrict the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It is not quite as simple a process as this question suggests. Such a law requires not only a simple majority of both Houses of Congress (or perhaps sixty votes in the Senate depending on the vagaries of the new filibuster rule), but also the signature of the President.

In the entire history of our nation, the power cabal in Washington, D.C. has never placed any meaningful limits on the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. It is fanciful to think that Washington, D.C. will do so within our lifetimes.

Moreover, the question doesn’t comprehend the legal implication of removing the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction. Such a law, if passed, would not reverse a single Supreme Court decision. In fact, if passed, it would make it impossible to ever get a future Supreme Court to reverse a previous bad decision.

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Let’s consider the example of Roe v. Wade to demonstrate how it works. If Congress had removed the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to decide abortion cases prior to its decision in Roe v. Wade, that would have been wonderful. That decision would have never been issued.

But, what happens if Congress removes the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction while Roe v. Wade is still the controlling precedent?

Removing the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court on abortion would have the following effects:

  1. It would leave the federal appeals courts in place to make whatever rulings they wanted on abortion without the possibility of Supreme Court review.
  2. Even if the proponents were savvy enough to remove all federal court jurisdiction on the issue of abortion, Roe v. Wade would still be frozen in place as the controlling precedent.
  3. If we succeeded in removing federal court jurisdiction over all abortion questions, State judges would have the final say on the issue of abortion in their States. But, State judges are still bound to follow the Constitution of the United States. That much is not debatable. And most State judges would consider themselves still bound to follow Roe v. Wade, because State judges consider themselves bound to follow U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the United States Constitution until formally reversed. Thus, State courts would still follow Roe v. Wade in virtually all cases.
  4. If conservatives had political success in the future and were able to get a prolife majority appointed to the Supreme Court, that Court would not have the jurisdiction to reverse Roe v. Wade because its appellate jurisdiction would have been removed.

This “fix” for judicial activism is popular in some circles and is certainly well-intentioned, but it is totally misguided. It would not

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reverse the bad decision. Far worse, it would permanently freeze bad decisions in place as the binding precedent.

The best solutions for judicial activism include: term limits on federal judges, giving the States and Congress the ability to vacate Supreme Court decisions, and changing the appointment process for federal judges so that the States control the selection of Supreme Court Justices and perhaps the judges at other levels of the federal judiciary. All of these things can be done at a Convention of States.

12. One proposed “Liberty Amendment” requires 30 states to agree in order for the states to overturn federal law. As written, the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution clearly allows any one state to nullify federal law that exceeds its enumerated powers. Does this “Liberty Amendment strengthen or weaken the position of the states?

The Tenth Amendment contains no explicit power for any one State to nullify a federal law. Such a claim is wishful thinking at best and historically disingenuous.

The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution contains the correct view of nullification. Nullification is not the rule. Constitutional laws passed by Congress are the Supreme Law of the Land, and a single State does not have the power to determine a law of Congress to be unconstitutional.

The correct view of the Tenth Amendment is that it is a check on misuse of power by Congress. But nothing in that Amendment gives a single State the power to determine that Congress has abused its power.

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13. Proponents of the convention say that one great security against a runaway convention is that only thirteen states have to choose not to ratify, thus guaranteeing that bad amendments won’t be ratified. Can you name those thirteen states you can count on to oppose such bad amendments? The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments were passed with similar safeguards in place. Why didn’t enough states stand up against those amendments to prevent their ratification?

The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments were popular in their day, and they passed. Sometimes we are successful in defeating amendments. The Equal Rights Amendment was defeated. Child Labor Amendments were defeated.

Amendments that are considered unwise by the generation in question go down to defeat. The ERA is a good example. It was supported by a simple majority of the public in many States. But a well-organized and substantial minority battled against it and it was defeated. We cannot amend the Constitution unless the vast majority of the American public supports the particular amendment.

If we are going to believe in a Republican form of government, we have to embrace the idea that each generation has the moral right to change the law however it wishes, provided that it follows the proper process for changing the law.

The amendments that are suggested for today will not pass unless they are sufficiently approved by the vast majority of the American public in order to gain ratification by thirty-eight States.

We can guarantee that no amendment that is crazy or outlandish by today’s standards can possibly pass today.

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14. Proponents of a convention say that the Constitution can’t be destroyed because Article V only authorizes amendments to “this” constitution. By definition, amending the Constitution is changing the Constitution, and in Article V there is no limit to the number of amendments. So is there any assurance that certain amendments will be off the table? Doesn’t amending the Constitution create a new Constitution?

Most of the questions in this list are fair-minded and deserve a real answer. This particular question borders on being frivolous. Nonetheless, I will answer briefly.

Did the adoption of the Bill of Rights make a new Constitution? Of course not.

By this argument, the Tenth Amendment resulted in a new Constitution rather than reinforcement of principles in the original document. Does the JBS really object to the adoption of the First, Second, and Tenth Amendments on the ground that they created a new Constitution? Really?

15. Could the method of ratification for these proposed amendments from the convention be changed? Didn’t the original Constitutional Convention of 1787 create its own rules for ratification in contradiction to the requirements of the Articles of Confederation?

This question betrays a lack of historical knowledge. The original Constitutional Convention was not called under the authority of the Articles of Confederation. No provision existed in the Articles for any such process.

The States correctly understood that they possessed residual sovereignty to call a convention to reconsider their current national charter. Seven States had called the Convention and had appointed their delegates before Congress endorsed the Convention in 1787. The States told their delegates to “render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union.”

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But the majority of the State calls for the Convention specified that the ratification process would be the same as under the Articles of Confederation; to wit, changes would need to be approved by Congress and ratified by all thirteen State legislatures.

In light of the directions given to them by their States, the delegates from the Constitutional Convention followed this path and sent two proposals to Congress.

One was to approve the Constitution itself. The other was to approve a new method for ratification—rather than thirteen legislatures, nine State conventions would be required to ratify.

Congress unanimously approved both recommendations. But Congress did not send the Constitution directly to the State conventions. Rather, it sent the Constitution and the recommendation for the new process to all thirteen State legislatures.

Thus, the first step in the process in every State was for the legislature to consider whether or not it would approve the change in the ratification process.

All thirteen State legislatures approved the new ratification process by calling ratification conventions in each State.

This includes both Rhode Island and North Carolina. Even though the conventions in those States rejected the Constitution itself, their State legislatures accepted and utilized the new process.

The JBS argument that the Founders did not follow the lawful process in ratifying and adopting the Constitution exposes the central fallacy of the JBS on this entire subject. The John Birch Society believes that our Constitution was illegally adopted. Thus, they cannot legitimately call themselves supporters of the Constitution. You cannot believe that our Constitution is the morally appropriate, supreme law of the land if you think it was illegally adopted.

It has always been enemies of the Constitution who have contended that the Constitution was illegally adopted. Claiming to be a constitutionalist, while rejecting the legitimacy of the Constitution’s

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adoption process, is like claiming that George Washington was a great American hero, but he was also a British spy.

If one reads all the original documents, the correct history is clear. The States appointed the delegates and gave them their instructions. The Founders followed the correct process and got unanimous approval from Congress and all thirteen State legislatures in order to move to the new ratification process.

16. Is our federal government out of control? That is to ask, has it escaped the boundaries of the Constitution? Is Congress operating outside of the powers delegated to it under Article I? Has the concept of federalism been overthrown to a large degree by an oppressive central government? Of course, but what is the proper remedy? Do we have a constitutional problem or a problem following the Constitution?

Yes. Washington DC is truly out of control. And yes, the Constitution as interpreted by the Supreme Court is the problem. There is only one realistic approach on the table that has any possibility of fixing the problem.

There are only four alternatives.

  1. Keep trying to fix Washington by sending better representatives to Washington.
  2. Hope that some solution that is not found in the Constitution (like nullification) will be miraculously successful despite every realistic consideration to the contrary.
  3. Do nothing.
  4. Use the process the Framers gave us. Have the States call a Convention to limit the power of the federal government.

Trying harder with the same old tactics won’t work. Extra- constitutional schemes won’t work. Doing nothing will work—if your goal is to preserve the status quo and destroy liberty.

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I believe in the Founding Fathers and their solution for today’s problem. A true constitutionalist embraces the entire Constitution as intended—this includes Article V’s Convention of States.

Only a Convention of States will give us effective solutions to the abuse of power in Washington, D.C. It is our moral obligation to protect liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

Every possible plan ultimately relies on motivating a number of loyal Americans to do the right thing to save the country. We are confident that the vast majority of people who love liberty will join us in supporting the Constitution’s own solution to federal power abuses. We urge the JBS to reconsider its position and join with us.

Michael Farris

Michael Farris is the Chancellor of Patrick Henry College, the Chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association, the President of Parentalrights.org, and is the Director of the Convention of States Project for Citizens for Self-Governance. Farris earned his law degree magna cum laude from Gonzaga University Law School. He was the Articles Editor for the Gonzaga Law Review and Moot Court Champion in the Linden Cup Competition. Farris recently completed his LLM, with honors, from the University of London in Public International Law.

At Patrick Henry College, Farris has taught Constitutional Law for 14 years and has coached the PHC Moot Court team. (Moot Court is a simulated argument before the Supreme Court on constitutional issues). His Moot Court team has won eight national championships, including the last six in a row.

Farris has litigated dozens of constitutional cases in the state and federal courts and has argued before the United State Supreme Court, eight federal Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the appellate courts of thirteen States. His litigation history includes a case regarding Article V, in which he represented four Washington State legislators in a constitutional challenge to the act of Congress purporting to

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change the date for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the midst of the process.

Farris has written fifteen books, including a textbook on constitutional law and a scholarly 500-page history of religious liberty and the adoption of the Bill of Rights, and several law review and other scholarly journal articles.

Mike Farris has been a committed conservative leader for over thirty years, with true expertise on the Constitution. He has successfully lobbied and litigated for homeschooling liberty and has been credited (or blamed) for successfully organizing the defeat of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He is considered one of the nation’s leading opponents of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. He has testified in Congress and state legislatures many times, including testimony in opposition to the appointment of Supreme Court justices and in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in opposition to the UN CRPD.

Farris has been awarded the Salvatori Prize for American Citizenship by the Heritage Foundation, a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Family Foundation of Virginia, and was named one of the Top 100 Faces in Education of the 20th Century by Education Week magazine.

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The New Republican Reformers
Ryan, Rubio and GOP governors are promoting fresh ideas for growth and upward mobility.

March 26, 2014 7:03 p.m. ET
Their target is the GOP, but they are not angry liberals bent on destroying it. They are reform-minded Republican leaders intent on strengthening it.

These Republicans are applying conservative principles to 21st-century challenges, focused on middle-class concerns like lowering costs and improving access to college, modernizing health care and reforming the tax code. They aim to broaden prosperity’s reach through markets and merit, not government and corporate cronyism. They’re also concentrating on helping the poor by changing Washington’s dizzying assortment of antipoverty programs to emphasize work and make the safety net more effective and sustainable.

The reformers’ success in providing a rough outline of their vision will affect the midterm election. And their ability to craft detailed proposals and marshal a consensus could well determine the GOP’s long-term viability.

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House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., earlier this month. Associated Press
Among these figures, Rep. Paul Ryan —who led the GOP in backing vital reforms of entitlements like Medicare—is devoting the most time to studying why successful grass-roots antipoverty programs work. He’s quietly visited dozens of effective efforts around the country on a tour noted for its deliberate avoidance of press coverage. At his direction, the House Budget Committee prepared “The War On Poverty: 50 Years Later,” a summary of the dizzying array of programs on which trillions of tax dollars have been lavished while millions remain stuck in poverty. Mr. Ryan is working on a book distilling what he’s learned and outlining a conservative agenda for upward mobility and greater opportunity.

He and other reformers, like Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio, are also focused on spurring stronger economic growth. In remarks March 10 at Google’s GOOG +0.53% D.C. office, Mr. Rubio sketched proposals to increase innovation by making more wireless spectrum available for businesses and consumers, step up coordination between government research and private companies to speed ideas to market, and promote trade by knocking down barriers to U.S. goods and services. He also talked about ways to encourage domestic energy production, simplify the tax code to encourage investment, and reduce the regulatory burden on job creation.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee argued in an eloquent speech at the Heritage Foundation in November that the liberal War on Poverty has undermined the very institutions—family, community and the mediating structures of civil society that stand between the government and the individual—that are most effective in helping people rise. He has proposed a package of reforms to taxes, welfare, higher education, transportation and federal comp-time regulations that hamper worker flexibility.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Republican Governor Association Chairman Chris Christie and dozens of other GOP governors are crafting answers to meet the needs of their state’s poor. Most would welcome Mr. Rubio’s suggestion in a Jan. 8 speech that antipoverty programs be combined into one fund and given to states to administer. Governors who have led on issues of poverty and growth include Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, Ohio’s John Kasich, Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. Interestingly, all come from modest backgrounds—the sons, respectively, of immigrant parents, a mail carrier, a dry cleaner and a minister.

A growing network of scribblers and thinkers supports their efforts. The Ethics and Public Policy Center is home to the entitlement expert James Capretta, senior fellow Peter Wehner and editor Yuval Levin, whose National Affairs publishes the who’s who of reform conservatives. The American Enterprise Institute, led by Arthur Brooks, houses a number of scholars, including Michael Strain and James Pethokoukis, who write on economics, labor markets and commerce. The Manhattan Institute’s Nicole Gelinas and Avik Roy roll out provocative ideas on finance, health care and entitlements. And there are the contributions of many writers to this paper’s editorial page.

Conservative reformers seek to broaden opportunity, increase prosperity for every American, restore the value of work, and strengthen markets, competition and choice. If successful, their efforts would help the GOP among middle-class voters.

It is hard to overstate how much the Republican Party is hurt by the persistent belief of many voters that its candidates are out of touch and do not care about people like them. But when standard bearers like Ronald Reagan and both Presidents Bush erode that negative perception, the GOP takes the White House. The importance of winning and governing well should focus more Republicans on this movement’s work

NLRB Goes Deep: Why College Football Might Never Be the Same
Ryan O’DonnellMarch 28, 2014 at 11:10 am(14)

Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. Photo: Chris Sweda/MCT/Newscom
Union material?: Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter. Photo: Chris Sweda/MCT/Newscom
Talk about a Hail Mary. Students who play football at Northwestern University can form a union, according to a surprising, much-noted ruling by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board.
Peter Sung Ohr’s 24-page decision holds that “all-grant-in-aid scholarship players for the [Northwestern] football team who have not exhausted their playing eligibility are ‘employees’ under [federal law].”
The ruling Wednesday raises one big question: How can student-athletes also be employees? The NLRB official concluded the players “are not primarily students.”
James Sherk, senior policy analyst in labor economics at The Heritage Foundation, can see it from the players’ side, too, but takes exception to the decision.
“The players have a legitimate beef: They bring in millions in revenue for their schools and get little compensation besides a scholarship,” Sherk told The Foundry yesterday. “They ought to enjoy the fruit of their labor. However, haphazard unionizing under the NLRB would devastate college athletics.”
Ohr reached his decision after considering several pieces of evidence from a hearing, including:
The players are subject to special rules that do not apply to the rest of the student body.
The players make a considerable time commitment: 50 to 60 hours a week on “football duties” during a month-long training camp before school begins, then 40 to 50 hours a week during the regular football season. (Preparation for bowl games can extend the length of the season, increasing these numbers.)
The players’ time put in for football constituted “many more hours” than the players spend on their studies (about 20 per week).
Even so, Sherk observes:
It would be absurd to imagine players going on strike before March Madness demanding better dorms, easier classes, or later start times for those classes. But this decision would permit exactly that. A better approach is the anti-trust lawsuit being filed against NCAA rules forbidding compensation for their athletes. Student athletes should be free to sign licensing deals and enjoy some of the profits their athletic prowess makes possible.”
Although Northwestern University likely will appeal the decision, it looks like only the beginning of the push to organize student athletes.
By exploring some creative—and, frankly, fair—solutions to the player’s concerns over compensation, the NCAA could pull off a two-point conversion: Find a way to reward players for their work, and avoid haphazard unionizing that could jeopardize entire programs and disrupt the lives of other students.

Sotomayor, Kagan: Hobby Lobby Should Drop Insurance, Pay Penalty and Let Employees Use Exchange
March 25, 2014 – 3:01 PM
By Penny Starr

(CNSNews.com) – During oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday which focused on whether the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the free exercise of religion, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan suggested employers who have moral objections to birth control should not provide health care coverage for their employees.
“But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all?”

Sotomayor said during the presentation by attorney Paul Clement, who represents Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties, two companies that sued the federal government over the requirement that businesses provide health insurance plans that cover contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs.

“Those employers could choose not to give health insurance and pay not that high a penalty – not that high a tax,” Sotomayor said.

Clement said Hobby Lobby would pay more than $500 million per year in penalties, but Kagan disagreed.

“No, I don’t think that that’s the same thing, Mr. Clement,” Kagan said. “There’s one penalty that is if the employer continues to provide health insurance without this part of the coverage, but Hobby Lobby would choose not to provide health insurance at all.

“And in that case Hobby Lobby would pay $2,000 per employee, which is less that Hobby Lobby probably pays to provide insurance to its employees,” Kagan said. “So there is a choice here. It’s not even a penalty by – in the language of the statute. It’s a payment or a tax. There’s a choice.”

Kagan went on to say that other U.S. businesses are “voluntarily” dropping their health insurance coverage for employees.

“You know Hobby Lobby is paying something right now for the – for the coverage,” Kagan said. “It’s less than what Hobby Lobby is paying for the coverage. There are employers all over the United States that are doing this voluntarily.”

Chief Justice Roberts interjected that this was in opposition to what Hobby Lobby presented in its lawsuit.

“I thought – I thought that part of the religious commitment of the owners was to provide health care for its employees,” Roberts said and Clements agreed.

“Well, if they want to do that, they can just pay a greater salary and let the employees go in on the exchange,” Sotomayor said.

The court seemed divided along ideological lines, with liberal judges – including President Barack Obama’s appointed judges Kagan and Sotomayor – emphasizing the rights of employees to have free birth control as mandated by the law, while others focused on government infringement on religious liberty.

A decision in the case is expected this summer.

- See more at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/penny-starr/sotomayor-kagan-hobby-lobby-should-drop-insurance-pay-penalty-and-let#sthash.ywVRKuJJ.dpuf


By Ron Ewart
March 19, 2014

“Humans have the innate propensity to take a moment in time and attempt to preserve that moment as a sacred moment for all time and do so using propaganda, myths, distortions and lies, or by forcing public policy and lobbying for new laws. Such is the state of environmentalists and environmentalism today. They think in terms of short spans of time, as in a generation, or a century. They fail to realize that time is dynamic, ever-changing and ever-evolving over tens of thousands and millions of years. In the process, certain species survive by adapting and new species erupt to fill the changing environment, including humans. Every day species go extinct as eco-systems change in response to natural forces ….. or human forces. That is the story of non-linear dynamic systems on planet Earth. Neither the Earth nor time, stand still. Man can’t freeze time. Man can only temporarily alter it for short periods. What environmentalists also fail to realize is the disastrous affects their policies and laws have on real Americans who must suffer the consequences of environmentalists and government trying to “freeze” time with draconian, unconstitutional environmental laws.” -Ron Ewart

Life on Earth offers many, what are called non-linear dynamic systems. Eco-systems, oceans, the weather, the stock market, commerce and trade, currency exchange, welfare and the poor and the behavior of people, are just a few examples. They are characterized by having many different variables that determine their instantaneous conditions. Each can be altered dramatically with small changes in one or more variables. Government, by far, is the worst perpetrator of messing with non-linear dynamic systems that end up having disastrous unintended consequences. These unintended consequences are abundantly apparent by observing the Obama Care disaster and the irreversible damage it is doing to the American health care system. Radical environmental law is doing the same thing to constitutional safeguards on property rights.

Every week we get calls or e-mails from landowners from all over America who have come up against the consequences of environmental law, passed by governments who are lobbied by radical environmentalists. The foundation of most environmental laws come from the United Nations radical Agenda 21 accord adopted by over 170 nations, including the United States, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The flawed premise of Agenda 21 is that man is a virus that must be rigorously controlled in all forms of behavior, in order to save the planet. That control, defined by Agenda 21, takes no account of American constitutional property rights. In fact, it tramples all over those rights.

Here is a response from one of those “faces” of radical environmentalism, a family that was destroyed by the Army Corps of Engineers, who charged the family with filling in a wetland, a federal offense, but the family wasn’t filling in a wetland. The family had all the permits to do what they were doing but the Army Corps ran rough shod over them in court and their permits were ruled inadmissible. The family lost a going business, their entire savings and their farm to the fight with the Army Corps of Engineers. They were literally left on the street with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The following words from the surviving spouse of this family are heart wrenching.

“Until America becomes aware and fights justice for just “one individual family” being destroyed, how we were and others, it’s evident “the takings” will continue one by one until all is gone and the American dream left desolate and completely lost. After all, it wasn’t their fight ….. it wasn’t their property taken ….. it wasn’t their family destroyed to death!”

“It was corruption at the highest. We fought with truth long and hard. Courts did not want to hear the truth, only the lies that drove their agenda. That’s how the system works. It is entwined with a political agenda wrapped up in lies signed by high-powered attorneys and politicians. Yes, all in the name of fighting against “Private Property Rights”. A twisted unbelievable story but the facts are clear! It’s like how Benghazi is being handled now!””You are right on when you say that most people do not realize how big this issue is, with Americans being taken down one by one. Those that believe that way have not lost like we have. It was 3 years on Feb 9th that my husband passed instantly from so much stress. His hard work and fight all those years in what he believed in, finally overcame him when he had to face his children and what they lost too from the loss of our farm and business. It was too much for him. The stress just sort of ate away at him. He passed in an instant and I know God took him as easy as he could because he worked so hard his whole life for the love of his family and then lost it all. Our sons lost all and he could hardly face it. His faith in God was much but his heart was broken. We tried to start over so we could financially take care of our selves and we couldn’t even finish that when he went to rest. I am still trying to do little by little for myself, still hoping I can find a way to proceed, or get something together for some income.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we can assure you that this is not an isolated story. Here is another.

“In the middle of the night Raven heard clanging and banging near her hayfield, down by the tide gates that kept the Grays River from flooding her property at high tide. The tide gates were installed many decades ago near the mouth of the Columbia River, where it empties into the Pacific Ocean. These tide gates were essential in protecting prime agricultural property from tide and river flooding in the Grays River valley and other valleys feeding the Columbia River.”

“Raven bought her land in 1999, not knowing the horror she would endure at the hands of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW) and two non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) known as the Columbia Land Trust (CLT) and another NGO, Ducks Unlimited (DU). Armed with millions of dollars of federal grant money, USFW and the two NGO’s set about to restore the Grays River to its pre-human days, in the pursuit of salmon habitat recovery.”

In Raven’s own words she writes: “CLT, in partnership with Ducks Unlimited and USFW, began immediately. A 36-inch tide gate was replaced with two 13-foot culverts. Sloughs were filled in. In 2005 CLT asked me to give them my land. I refused. More sloughs were filled in, a county road made lower in some areas and higher across my property. Trees with Eagles nests were bulldozed. The only thing left alive, were the mosquitoes. The chum salmon get swooshed onto my fields where they flop around and die. The rivers depth went from 21 feet to 9 feet due to the increased sediment and debris thrown into the river, thus destroying fish spawning areas. Much of their so-called restoration work was done in the dead of night so that it would go unnoticed by the locals.”

“On December 31, 2005 my home, property and barns were flooded. My home and the out buildings stayed immersed in water until March 17 2006. My utility room flooded, destroying my freezer, all the food, linen, and all supplies that were stored there. With each high tide, the water got deeper and the property itself stayed flooded until late June. Almost everything was a total loss. No automobiles ran, classic cars destroyed, a professional automotive shop and all the tools gone. My home had extensive damage. CLT requested I give them the property. Again, I refused.”

“I repaired what I could. It took me two months to get enough money to buy a used van. In the meantime I had to hitchhike to work. My minimal insurance would not cover anything because the insurance company determined my loss was from third-party error. The ‘third-party’ refused my demand for damages.”

“When my property flooded, I had three-to-four foot waves crashing on to my house. It sounded as though I was at the beach. I live 25 miles inland. The water filled my property, then headed east, flooding Altoona highway and the Scott’s Bed & Breakfast. Since USFW and the NGO’s started this salmon recovery project, my property has flooded eleven times. I am out of money and have nothing left to fight with. The government agency and the NGO’s don’t care. It appears to me, that neither does anyone else.”

Raven eventually gave up, abandoned her land and moved to Idaho to live with relatives. This is just one more story out of the thousands of stories just like it, as these kinds of government/private partnerships are terrorizing rural landowners for the sake of fish, wildlife habitat restoration, endangered species and other environmental projects, driven by the United Nations Agenda 21 accord. Each one of these two stories is true because we have personally talked with both of them.

Multiply these two stories by tens of thousands and you just might get the size and scope of the injustice being inflicted on rural landowners in the name of radical environmentalism. We could tell you many more such stories. The fact is, constitutional protected property rights under Agenda 21 have become meaningless, as the onslaught of environmental carnage through law and bureaucratic rule making continue unabated and the hapless American rural landowner, acting alone, is powerless to stop it.

As a tribute to these forgotten faces of radical environmentalism, we have prepared a 12-minute video based on one of our last year’s article with the same name. It is a must viewing for any urban or rural landowner.

“Rural America In The Cross Hairs”

These same types of individual injustices being inflicted on rural landowners are also being inflicted on tens of thousands of American taxpayers who find themselves in the jaws of the IRS. In the hopes we can provide some clarity to the IRS dilemma, be sure to visit our IRS information website HERE.

© 2014 Ron Ewart — All Rights Reserved

Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America”, is the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners, (NARLO) a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State and dedicated to restoring, maintaining and defending property rights for urban and rural landowners. Mr. Ewart can be reached by e-mail.

Website: http://www.narlo.org

E-Mail: info@narlo.org

ObamaCare’s Latest Legal Challenge
Can the White House simply declare that the federal government is the 51st state?

March 23, 2014 6:08 p.m. ET
A defining feature of President Obama’s second term is his willfulness in defying limits on executive power to suit his political goals, and no more so than with the Affordable Care Act. The judiciary is the last check on those abuses, and this week it will have another opportunity to vindicate the rule of law.

On Tuesday the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear one of the more important legal challenges to ObamaCare’s lawless implementation. Unlike the challenge to the individual insurance mandate, Halbig v. Sebelius involves no great questions of constitutional interpretation. The plaintiffs are merely asking the judges to tell the Administration to faithfully execute the plain language of the statute that Congress passed and President Obama signed.

The Affordable Care Act—at least the version that passed in 2010—instructed the states to establish insurance exchanges, and if they didn’t the Health and Human Services Department was authorized to build federal exchanges. The law says that subsidies will be available only to people who enroll “through an Exchange established by the State.” The question in Halbig is whether these taxpayer subsidies can be distributed through the federal exchanges, as the Administration insists.

Prior to passage, Democrats were divided over the structure of the exchanges, with liberals favoring a national clearinghouse and moderates state control. The federalists won and conditioned the subsidies on state-based exchanges.

This was no accident. The federal government cannot commandeer the sovereign states under the Constitution, so Democrats created an incentive for Governors to participate voluntarily. If they didn’t cooperate by taking the quid of the exchanges, they would deny their constituents the quo of eligibility to claim billions of dollars worth of benefits. The other Democratic goal was to have the states share in the workload of implementation, instead of concentrating everything within HHS.

But also prior to passage, Democrats were convinced that the ObamaCare opposition would melt away as Americans learned to love the law. That did not happen. Some 34 states opted out, and two others couldn’t meet all the HHS mandates by deadline. So the Administration faced a choice: HHS could either obey the law, deny subsidies to the two-thirds of the U.S. population living in states with federal exchanges and thus greatly diminish Mr. Obama’s legacy project. Or it could improvise a workaround—which is what it did.

In 2012, HHS and the Internal Revenue Service arrogated to themselves the power to rewrite the law and published a regulation simply decreeing that subsidies would be available through the federal exchanges too. The IRS devoted only a single paragraph to its deviation from the statute, even though the “established by a State” language appears nine times in the law’s text. The rule claims that an exchange established on behalf of a state is a “federally established state-established exchange,” as if HHS is the 51st state.

Careful spadework into ObamaCare’s legislative history by Case Western Reserve law professor Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute has demonstrated that this jackalope rule-making was contrary to Congress’s intent. For example, the bill appropriated a mere $304 million for HHS to run exchanges. The actual cost turned out to be $3.3 billion as state after state dropped out.

But legislative intent is irrelevant in matters of statutory interpretation. All that matters is the plain meaning of the words of the law. In administrative law, agencies are granted wide deference to interpret and resolve ambiguous statutes under the Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council standard, but here the text is clear, consistent and tightly worded: Subsidies in state-based exchanges only. There is also the so-called Yazoo standard, from a 1899 case, that holds that tax benefits “must be expressed in clear and unambiguous terms” and “unquestionably and conclusively” established.

This is meant to protect taxpayer rights and the integrity of the Treasury, which the IRS and HHS are eviscerating. If the Administration can rewrite the law, why not extend subsidies to, say, people whose incomes are currently too high to qualify? As it happens, though ObamaCare says subsidies will only be available to people who enroll through an exchange, HHS has already unilaterally extended subsidies to people who enroll outside of an exchange to compensate for its botched rollout.

The Administration’s dozens of ObamaCare rewrites and delays have gone mostly unchallenged because they tend to insulate people from harm and thus no one has standing to sue. But the availability of subsidies triggers liability for other ObamaCare penalties, such as the individual and employer mandates. Thus in this case the HHS-IRS rule injures people who would otherwise be exempt.

Federal judge Paul Friedman, a Clinton appointee, ruled in favor of the Administration in January. But the three-judge D.C. Circuit panel may be another story. It includes Judges Thomas Griffith (a George W. Bush nominee), A. Raymond Randolph ( George H.W. Bush ) and Harry Edwards ( Jimmy Carter ). The fear of an adverse panel ruling is one reason that Senate Democrats broke the filibuster rule to pack the D.C. Circuit with three more liberals this year. If the Administration loses at the panel level, it will ask for an en banc ruling that it thinks it will win and thus delay any Supreme Court judgment by many months.

Fear of legal defeat also explains why the Administration is suddenly claiming that the appeals court lacks the jurisdiction to invalidate its interpretation of ObamaCare. Last week the Justice Department submitted a so-called 28(J) letter, declaring that because Halbig is not a class action, any adverse ruling only applies to the named plaintiffs.

In other words, even if the court finds that the Administration is acting illegally, it cannot strike down the IRS-HHS rule and the executive branch will continue to ignore both Congress’s law and the law of the courts. There are few if any precedents for such a remarkable argument.

After Chief Justice John Roberts upheld ObamaCare, the refrain on the political left was “it’s the law,” but the last year has proven that the White House thinks the law is whatever it says it is. Mr. Obama has conceded that “obviously we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law.” The right and only lawful way to repair ObamaCare is through another act of Congress. In Halbig, the judiciary can remind the Obama Administration of this basic constitutional truth.

On Gloria Steinem’s Birthday, Comments That Will Shock Today’s Young Women
Genevieve WoodMarch 25, 2014 at 11:38 am(322)
President Barack Obama and feminist Gloria Steinem before Steinem received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom
Liberal feminist icon Gloria Steinem turns 80 today. She once said that “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.”
Yet for all her talk about equality and rights, one right she worked diligently to deny millions of both sexes was the right to be born and celebrate birthdays of their own. Once again, in her view, a “woman’s right” trumped the rights of another—in this case, an unborn child.
The fact the Supreme Court is hearing a case today about employers being forced to include abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans—even if it violates an employer’s conscience—is in many respects a testament to the work of Steinem and others. It’s a good example of how the “equal rights” she championed result in stepping on the rights of others.
>>> WATCH: Tough Questions on Religious Freedom, Abortion Drugs
The liberal sisterhood railed against a society they said encouraged women to stay at home and raise children. They demanded the marketplace open up more opportunities for women and pay them the same as men. Fine. But what about women who choose differently?
Today’s young women are empowered to choose career, family, and all sorts of combinations of both. But the words of Steinem and other liberal feminists revealed what they believed about American women…
Steinem: “[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children…parasites.”
Simone de Beauvoir: “No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”
Betty Friedan: “[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry…not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self…. [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife.”
Steinem has never been a fan of women who didn’t think like her or buy in to her radical feminist political agenda. “Having someone who looks like us but thinks like them (meaning men) is worse than having no one at all.”
So much for tolerance—and the belief that women are individuals who should be free to think and make choices for themselves.


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