Proposed Bill Will Protect Tennessean’s Right To Keep And Bear Arms

For Immediate Release:Jan. 31, 2013

Tennessee lawmakers will consider a bill during the current legislative session that would strengthen the Firearms Freedom Act of 2009 and protect Volunteer State residents from any unconstitutional federal regulation of firearms.

Signed into law by Gov. Phil Bredesen, the Firearms Freedom Act of 2009 exempted firearms manufactured and kept within the borders of Tennessee from federal regulation based on the reserved state powers to regulate intrastate commerce. SB 0250 and its companion bill HB 0248 take things a step further.

“The general assembly declares that any federal action prohibited by this chapter relating to firearms, firearms accessories or ammunition, whether made in Tennessee or not, is not authorized by the United States constitution and violates the restrictions contained therein and is hereby declared to be invalid in this state; that said federal action shall not be recognized by this state; and that said federal action is rejected by this state and shall be null and void and of no effect in this state.”

Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey says the bills rest on a solid constitutional footing.

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Indiana State Senator David Long Blocks Discussion of Bill Nullifying Obamacare

“Hey, Dave! Joe Biden is on the phone. He wants to thank you on behalf of President Obama for your support,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. “Maybe Long should consider switching parties. The Republican platform emphatically declares ‘that those powers not enumerated to the federal government are reserved to the states and to the people,’ and it talks about the importance of personal liberty and freedom. But I guess Dave doesn’t really believe all that stuff. Politicians will say anything to get elected these days.”

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The Real Original Understanding of Original Intent

images-28This Article re-examines the controversial question of whether the American Founders believed their own subjective understandings should guide future interpretation of the United States Constitution, or whether they thought constitutional construction should be guided only by objective public meaning or some other hermeneutic standard. This is a historical question, and in this Article, I treat it as such. I do not argue that one standard of interpretation is better or worse than another. I explore the Founders’ views on the matter and report the results.

Previous commentary on the issue has been fairly extensive. Interest seems to have been encouraged by the issue’s implications for modern constitutional interpretation. For example, Professor H. Jefferson Powell, whose influential article concluded that the Founders would have thought subjective intent irrelevant, went beyond the historical material to argue that his conclusion impaired the legitimacy of traditional originalism.

Not surprisingly, defenders of traditional originalism, such as Harvard’s Raoul Berger, have claimed that history supported their own position. Perhaps that is why the scholarly exchange over what should have been purely a historical question has been marked by the bitterness of political strife.

It is true, of course, that one’s chosen interpretive method can affect the outcome of constitutional disputes. Results can change according to whether a court applies originalism or some other method. Results also can change, although in a lesser number of cases

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Buyer Beware: County Sheriffs and the Constitution

580511_315706985198171_1105488657_nby William Norman Grigg

“You look depressed.”

“I was lamenting. I’ve lost my innocence.”

“You lost that some time ago. If you’ve only just noticed, it can’t have been very important to you.”

Exchange between Thomas Cromwell – the Machiavellian Lord Chancellor of England – and Richard Rich, an ambitious functionary who had sold his soul in a buyer’s market, from A Man for All Seasons.

“I will not enforce an unconstitutional law against any citizen of Smith County,” insisted Sheriff Larry Smith. The sheriff wants his constituents to believe that he would refuse to participate in a federally mandated gun grab, or permit one to be carried out by federal officials within his jurisdiction. Yet ten days before Smith offered that assurance, his office had taken part in an early-morning SWAT rampage throughout East Texas in which 73 warrants were served as part of the federal government’s patently unconstitutional war on drugs.

During a December 2011 campaign debate, Smith said that he wanted to “invest more resources” – that is, redirect wealth plundered from the productive – into a “Drug Task Force,” and insisted that under his administration the Sheriff’s Office would embrace a “Task Force mentality” in dealing with law enforcement issues.

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The Myth of the “Conservative Supreme Court”

Supreme-Court-Gallery-500x250Is the current U.S. Supreme Court conservative? No, it is not. And certainly not if you define “conservative” as interpreting the Constitution according to the understanding of the makers.

The claim that the Court has a conservative majority is certainly widespread. Googling the phrase “conservative supreme court” turned up over 38 million hits. The more specific phrase, “conservative majority supreme court” yielded 3.75 million. TheNew York Times has even editorialized that “the aggressiveness of the majority’s conservatism” actually renders the court “radical.”

A careful reading of a study by the Times itself shows the latter claim to be pure bunk. Although the headline affixed to the study suggested that it found the Court to be conservative, that headline was somewhat misleading. The study’s findings were much less definitive. It did conclude that (1) “the recent shift to the right is modest,” (2) “the court’s decisions have hardly been uniformly conservative,” and (3) by contemporary public standards the court is centrist, not conservative.

Careful analysis of the Times study by Professor Jonathan Adler turned up more. Professor Adler demonstrated that the study actually found that the current justices are restrained, not necessarily conservative. They form, in point of fact, the most restrained bench in decades. That means they don’t change the law much one way or another.

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Free at Last! Martin Luther King and Nullification

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws.  This is certainly a legitimate concern.  Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in public schools, at first glance it may seem paradoxical for us consciously to break laws.  One may ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?”  The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust.  I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws.  One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.  Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.  I would agree with Saint Augustine  that “an unjust law is no law at all.”
–Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  “Letter from Birmingham Jail” April 16, 1963

In some ways, it is ironic to use Dr. King as an example to promote nullification and interposition.  Dr. King, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” makes one reference to nullification and interposition, and it is not a flattering one.  Many state and local governments cited nullification when they refused to comply with federal legislation and court decisions against segregation.  It is the one unfortunate blight one can find in the nullification movement throughout American history.

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