Tag Archives: federalism

Leaders of 9 western states meet to take land back from federal govt

The United States of America was founded, not as a centralized state wherein all power is concentrated in the central government, but as a federation wherein political power is diffused by dividing it between a national (federal) government and the republic’s constituent state governments.

Our Founders conceived federalism as one of the institutional mechanisms to check and balance political power so as to prevent government from being so dictatorial as to become a threat to the People’s inherent rights and liberties.

This founding principle of federalism is codified in the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

But America has been drifting away from the founding vision, with the federal government amassing more and more power, and the presidency becoming increasingly imperial.

For the first time, political leaders of NINE western states have convened to talk about wresting control of state lands away from the federal government.

Western states lawmakersL to r: Montana House Speaker Mark Blasdel, Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder, Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke, Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart (photo by Scott Sommerdorf, Salt Lake Tribune)

Kristen Moulton reports for The Salt Lake Tribune that on April 18, 2014, more than 50 political leaders (state legislators and county commissioners) from 9 western states convened a daylong closed-door meeting in Salt Lake City, the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Landsto talk about wresting control of their oil-, timber- and mineral-rich lands away from the federal government.

The nine western states were Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The summit was organized by Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory and Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also attended the meeting and addressed the group over lunch.

The summit, described by Ivory as “It’s simply time. The urgency is now,” had already been in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing.

Utah Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart said, “What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem.” She emphasized that the states’ intent was never to take over national parks and wilderness created by an act of Congress. “We are not interested in having control of every acre. There are lands that are off the table that rightly have been designated by the federal government.”

Montana state Sen. Fielder said federal land management is hamstrung by bad policies, politicized science and severe federal budget cuts: “Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands. We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms.”

Idaho Speaker of the House Scott Bedke said, “It’s time the states in the West come of age. We’re every bit as capable of managing the lands in our boundaries as the states east of Colorado.” As evidence, Bedke pointed to how Idaho’s state-managed forests and rangeland have suffered less damage and watershed degradation from wildfire than lands managed by federal agencies.

Utah state Rep. Ivory said the issue is of interest to urban as well as rural lawmakers, in part because they see oilfields and other resources that could be developed to create jobs and fund education. Moreover, the federal government’s debt threatens both its management of vast tracts of the West as well as its ability to come through with payments in lieu of taxes to the states. Utah gets 32% of its revenue from the federal government, much of it unrelated to public lands. Ivory warns, “If we don’t stand up and act, seeing that trajectory of what’s coming … those problems are going to get bigger.”

In 2013, Utah’s state legislature passed HB142, which was sponsored by Ivory and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert. HB142 demands the federal government make good on its promises in the 1894 Enabling Act for Utah to become a state, by relinquishing title to federal lands in Utah. A study is underway at the University of Utah to analyze how Utah could manage the land now in federal control.

None of the other Western states has gone as far as Utah, demanding Congress turn over federal lands. But five have task forces or other analyses underway to get a handle on the costs and benefits.

~Eowyn

Delaware leads nationwide move to strip county sheriffs of power

“If the sheriffs lose their arrest ability then Delaware will be a de facto police state.” -Delaware Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher

Ever wary of tyranny, America’s Founding Fathers took pains to design a political system with many mechanisms to check and balance government power. Those mechanisms include:

  • Dividing government into three co-equal branches (separation of powers);
  • A Constitution that specifies the People as the source of government power, as well as defines and delimits that power;
  • Amendments to the Constitution spelling out the People’s rights and liberties (Bill of Rights) — rights that are by birth (natural rights), instead of conferred by man;
  • Federalism: dividing, decentralizing, and diffusing government power among central (national government in Washington, D.C.) and regional units (the state governments).

sheriff_joeThe fearless Arizona Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The county sheriff plays an important role in American federalism.

According to Wikipedia, the U.S. sheriff is a county official and is typically the top law enforcement officer of a county. Historically, the sheriff was also commander of the militia in that county. Distinctive to law enforcement in the United States, sheriffs are usually elected. Of the 50 U.S. states, 48 have sheriffs. The two that do not are Alaska (which has no counties), and Connecticut (which has no county governments and has state marshals instead of sheriffs).

Most sheriff’s offices have a law enforcement role, and their basic function dates back to the origins of the title in feudal England. Although the authority of the sheriff varies from state to state, a sheriff or his deputies (in all states except Delaware, where the sheriff’s defined role is going through arbitration) has the power to make arrests within his or her own jurisdiction. Many sheriff’s offices also perform other functions such as traffic control and enforcement, accident investigations, and maintenance and transportation of prisoners.

In fact, the office of sheriff is older than the United States, predating the official founding of the U.S.A. by more than a century. As an example, Delaware’s first sheriff took office in 1669 — 107 years before the Declaration of Independence!

In their role as their counties’ chief law enforcement officer, sheriffs answer only to the U. S. Constitution, not to Washington, D.C. That is why liberty-loving Americans, fearful of the growing power of the federal government, look to the sheriffs as a check. Indeed, on the matter of the Obama regime’s gun control and gun ban, more and more county sheriffs are saying “no.”

It should come as no surprise then that the forces of tyranny mean to curtail the powers of the county sheriff, if not abolish the institution altogether. In that nefarious effort, the State of Delaware is leading the way.

In April 2012, Pat Shannan of American Free Press first alerted us to the machinations of Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of VPOS Joe Biden.

Although Delaware’s State Constitution stipulates that the office of the sheriff is a constitutionally created position and sheriffs “shall be conservators of the peace within the counties . . . in which they reside,” Biden sent out mandates to commissioners informing them that their sheriffs no longer have arrest powers. In an opinion released February 24, 2012, State Solicitor L.W. Lewis said that neither the state nor the common law grants arrest powers to the county sheriffs.

Delaware Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher

Delaware Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher

The move to neuter Delaware’s county sheriffs actually began earlier, before Beau Biden became the state’s attorney general. Sussex County Sheriff Jeff Christopher told American Free Press that as far back as 2000, he had noticed a reduction in funding and the chipping away of powers of the office of sheriff. Now, “my deputies and I have been relieved of all arrest powers and can’t even make a traffic stop. Delaware has only three counties. . . The other two sheriffs . . . will not stand up with me”.

As reported by Jack Minor for WND, Democrats in Delaware’s state legislature then sought to legalize Biden’s move with HB 290, a bill to redefine the role of sheriffs: “‘Police officer’ as used in this code shall not include sheriffs and sheriff deputies,” and it “is the intent of the General Assembly to specifically state the sheriffs and their deputies do not have any arrest authority.”

HB 290 redefined the role of sheriffs to where they can serve papers and process administrative work but have no hand in actual law enforcement. Supporters of the legislation said law enforcement authority belongs in the hands of the state police and city police who, unlike the sheriff, are not elected.

Although HB 290 died a quick death when Rep. Danny Short, a Republican who had sponsored the bill, tabled the bill after he realized its true purpose, Democrats introduced a replacement bill.

On May 3, 2012, House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf, a Democrat,  introduced HB 325, which is virtually identical to HB 290, in an apparent attempt to get around Short’s tabling of his bill. As described on the State of Delaware’s website:

“This bill makes the Delaware law clear that the county sheriffs and their deputies do not have arrest authority. Historically the sheriffs and deputies have not exercised arrest authority and the Attorney General’s office has given an opinion that the sheriff’s “power to arrest is no greater than that shared by any citizen.”

Sheriff Christopher said he suspects that Schwartzkopf has been one of the key figures behind the entire legislative process to strip the sheriff’s office of their constitutional power: “He wants to abolish the office of sheriff in Delaware. While he issued a statement saying he isn’t interested in getting rid of the sheriff the truth is he wants to neuter us so the office is under his authority rather than the people who elected us.”

Christopher said if the sheriffs lose their arrest ability then Delaware will be a de facto police state.

On May 10, 2012, Delaware’s House of Representatives passed HB 325 by an overwhelming 36-2 majority. On June 14, 2012, the state Senate passed HB 325 by a 12-3 majority.

On June 19, 2012, Governor Jack A Markell, a Democrat, signed HB 325 into law. (Source: delaware.gov)

See also my friend Mark McGrew’s two-part series:

H/t FOTM’s Tina

~Eowyn

U.S. County Sheriffs say “no” to Obama gun control

As the Shadow of Tyranny creeps ever more and more over America, the U.S. County Sheriff is the line in the sand.

The county sheriff is the one who can say to the feds, “Beyond these bounds you shall not pass.” This is not only within the scope of the sheriff’s authority; it’s the sheriff’s sworn duty.

More and more of America’s sheriffs are saying “No” to the Obama regime’s gun control agenda.

The list below is from CSPOA (Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association) — and more sheriffs are signing onto it by the day. If your sheriff isn’t on the list, ask him/her why!!!

I will be adding names to this list as more sheriffs join this cause. Names added to the list after I’ve published this post are colored green.

gandalf-you-shall-not-pass

Growing List of Sheriffs Saying ‘NO’ to Obama Gun Control

Posted on January 16, 2013

Sheriffs have risen up all over our great nation to stand up against the unconstitutional gun control measures being taken.

The following is a list of sheriffs and state sheriff’s associations from who have vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution against Obama’s unlawful gun control measures. I applaud these public servants for their courage and conviction.

I would encourage other Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers to add their voices to the growing numbers of faithful protectors of our freedom.

List of State Sheriff’s Associations

1. Utah Sheriff’s Association

List of County Sheriffs

  1. Sheriff Glenn E. Palmer – Grant County, Oregon
  2. Sheriff Gil Gilbertson – Josephine County, Oregon
  3. Sheriff Tim Mueller – Linn County, Oregon
  4. Sheriff Adam Christianson – Stanislaus County, California 
  5. Sheriff Brad A. DeLay – Lawrence County, Missouri
  6. Sheriff Charles M. Heiss – Johnson County, Missouri
  7. Sheriff Steve Cox – Livingston County, Missouri
  8. Sheriff Jon Lopey – Siskiyou County, California
  9. Sheriff Craig Zanni – Coos County, Oregon
  10. Sheriff John Hanlin – Douglas County, Oregon
  11. Sheriff John Bishop – Curry County, Oregon
  12. Sheriff Larry Blanton – Deschutes County, Oregon
  13. Sheriff Jim Hensley – Crook County, Oregon
  14. Sheriff Denny Peyman – Jackson County, Kentucky
  15. Sheriff Roy Klingler – Madison County, Idaho
  16. Sheriff Blake Dorning – Madison County, Alabama
  17. Sheriff Justin Smith – Larimer County, Colorado
  18. Sheriff Al Cannon – Charleston County, South Carolina
  19. Sheriff Ana Franklin – Morgan County, Alabama
  20. Sheriff Andy Hughes – Houston County, Alabama
  21. Sheriff Stacy Nicholson – Gilmer County, Georgia
  22. Sheriff Robin Cole – Pine County, Minnesota
  23. Sheriff Bill Snyder – Martin County, Florida
  24. Sheriff Ed Kilgpore – Humboldt County, Nevada
  25. Sheriff Tom Bosenko – Shasta County, California
  26. Sheriff John D’Agostini – El Dorado County, California
  27. Sheriff David Hencraft – Tehama County, California
  28. Sheriff Dean Growden – Lassen County, California
  29. Sheriff Dean Wilson – Del Norte County, California
  30. Sheriff Mike Poindexter – Modoc County, California
  31. Sheriff Thomas Allman – Mendocino County, California
  32. Sheriff Mike Downey – Humboldt County, California
  33. Sheriff Larry Smith – Smith County, Texas
  34. Sheriff Kieran Donahue – Canyon County, Idaho
  35. Sheriff Margaret Mims – Fresno County, California
  36. Sheriff Pat Garrett – Washington County, Oregon
  37. Sheriff Dan Staton – Multnomah County, Oregon
  38. Sheriff Scott Mascher – Yavapai County, Arizona
  39. Sheriff Micahel A. Helmig – Boone County, Ohio
  40. Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg – Clermont County, Ohio
  41. Sheriff Joe Arpaio – Maricopa County, Arizona
  42. Sheriff Terry Maketa – El Paso County, Colorado
  43. Sheriff John Cooke – Weld County, Colorado
  44. Sheriff Scott Berry – Oconee County, Georgia
  45. Sheriff Frank Denning – Johnson County, Missouri
  46. Sheriff Stan Hilkey – Mesa County, Colorado
  47. Sheriff Terry Box – Collin County, Texas
  48. Sheriff Chuck Wright – Spartanburg County, South Carolina
  49. Sheriff Greg Hagwood – Plumas County, California
  50. Sheriff Frank McKeithen – Bay County, Florida
  51. Sheriff Roger Garrison – Cherokee County, Georgia
  52. Sheriff Tony Desmond – Schoharie County, New York
  53. Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. – Otsego County, New York
  54. Sheriff Bruce Haney – Trinity County, California
  55. Sheriff Wayne DeWitt – Berkeley County, South Carolina
  56. Sheriff Bob ‘Big Block’ Colbert – Wagoner County, Oklahoma
  57. Sheriff Joel W. Richardson – Randall County, Texas
  58. Sheriff Mike Scott – Lee County, Florida
  59. Sheriff Mike Winters – Jackson County, Oregon
  60. Sheriff Brian Wolfe – Malheur County, Oregon
  61. Sheriff Terry G. Box – Collin County, Texas

Sheriff Richard Mack is one hell of an American. He has done so much to protect and preserve our rights. He continues to fight on after the success of winning in the United States Supreme Court.

The mission of Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) is “To equip sheriffs, peace officers and public officials with the necessary information and public support to carry out their duties in accordance with their Oaths of Office.” Please support the CSPOA by becoming a member. Click here!

See also “140 U.S. Sheriffs meet to take back America,” Feb. 2, 2012.

A big h/t to FOTM’s Tina!

~Eowyn

Judge blocks NDAA U.S. citizens detention law!

Remember that odious piece of legislation shit with the innocuous name, National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), which both parties in both houses of Congress passed and which that other piece of shit named Barack Obama signed into law on the last day of 2011?

Yes, it’s that anti-Constitutional piece of shit law that authorizes the President and military of the United States of America to arrest and indefinitely detain imprison U.S. citizens without cause or trial.

We gnashed our teeth and raised a hue and cry. Congressman Ron Paul, among some other representatives and senators in D.C., said they oppose the piece of shit NDAA, but no effort was made to repeal it.

Thank our Founding Fathers for devising a political system of federalism and separation of powers!

First, the state of Virginia said “No” to NDAA. Other state and local governments also began to fight NDAA,

Now the courts have entered the fray.

On Tuesday, May 15, 2012, a federal judge — an Obama appointee! — in New York, 48-yar-old U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest in Manhattan, ruled to (temporarily) block the measure.

U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest

Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado report for Bloomberg, May 16, 2012:

Opponents of a U.S. law they claim may subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism persuaded a federal judge to temporarily block the measure.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan yesterday ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.

The complaint was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.

“The statute at issue places the public at undue risk of having their speech chilled for the purported protection from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ‘associated forces’ – i.e., ‘foreign terrorist organizations,’” Forrest said in an opinion yesterday. “The vagueness of Section 1021 does not allow the average citizen, or even the government itself, to understand with the type of definiteness to which our citizens are entitled, or what conduct comes within its scope.”

Forrest’s order prevents enforcement of the provision of the statute pending further order of the court or an amendment to the statute by Congress.

Ellen Davis, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan, declined to comment on the ruling.

The plaintiffs claim Section 1021 is vague and can be read to authorize their detention based on speech and associations that are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Hedges and two other plaintiffs testified in a hearing before Forrest in March, the judge said. A fourth plaintiff submitted a sworn declaration. The government put on no evidence, Forrest said.

Forrest, an Obama appointee who has served on the Manhattan federal court since October, rejected the government’s arguments that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue over the law and that it merely reaffirmed provisions in an earlier law, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In her opinion, Forrest said the government declined to say that the activities of Hedges and the other defendants don’t fall under the provision. Forrest held a hearing in March at which government lawyers didn’t call any witnesses or present evidence, according to the judge. The government did cross-examine the plaintiffs who testified and submitted legal arguments.

“The government was given a number of opportunities at the hearing and in its briefs to state unambiguously that the type of expressive and associational activities engaged in by plaintiffs — or others — are not within Section 1021,” Forrest said. “It did not. This court therefore must credit the chilling impact on First Amendment rights as reasonable — and real.”

Hedges, who testified he has been a foreign news correspondent for 20 years, said he has reported on 17 groups that are on a State Department list of terrorist groups. Hedges testified that after the law was passed, he changed his dealings with groups he had reported on, Forrest said.

“I think the ruling was not only correct, but courageous and important,” Hedges said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The case is Hedges v. Obama, 12-cv-00331, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Thank you, Christopher Hedges!

God bless Judge Katherine Forrest!

H/t beloved FOTM reader Wade.  :D

~Eowyn

10 States Propose Eligibility Bills

Thank God for the Philadelphia Constitution Convention of 1787. For it was there that the Founding Fathers ditched both the confederation and unitary configurations but instead adopted a Federation for the newly established United States of America — wherein while there is a central authority/government, the constituent states exercise certain powers and authority granted to them by The People, which Washington, DC, cannot take away.

Obama gypped America in 2008 but he will not in 2012, if our constituent state governments have anything to do with it. The number of states reading eligibility-proof bills is now increased to 10. [Update 2/19/11: Add Tennessee to make a total of 11 states!]

World Net Daily has been on the forefront on this issue since the beginning. Its reporter Bob Unruh reports on January 26, 2011 that 10 of the United States – controlling 107 Electoral College votes – are now considering some type of legislation that would plug the hole in federal election procedures that in 2008 allowed Barack Obama to be nominated, elected and inaugurated without providing proof of his qualifications under the U.S. Constitution.

There is Arizona’s HB2544, Connecticut’s SB391, Georgia’s HB37, Indiana’s SB114, Maine’s LD34, Missouri’s HB283, Montana’s HB205, Nebraska’s LB654, Oklahoma’s SB91, SB384 and SB540, and Texas; HB295 and HB529. Nor are the above legislation like the one that was adopted in New Hampshire a year ago, HB1245, which merely requires an affidavit from a candidate stating that the qualifications of age, residency and being a “natural born citizen” have been met –  similar to what the political parties already state regarding their candidates, and a lot of good that does!

Arizona:  Arizona is furthest along with a plan to require presidential candidates to prove their eligibility to occupy the Oval Office. The proposal from state Rep. Judy Burges was brought forth with 16 members of the state Senate as co-sponsors. It needs only 16 votes in the Senate to pass. In the House, there are 25 co-sponsors, with the need for only 31 votes for passage. The proposal is highly specific and directly addresses the questions that have been raised by occupancy of the White House. It says:

Within ten days after submittal of the names of the candidates, the national political party committee shall submit an affidavit of the presidential candidate in which the presidential candidate states the candidate’s citizenship and age and shall append to the affidavit documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate’s age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for President of the United States as prescribed in article II, section 1, Constitution of the United States…. If both the candidate and the national political party committee for that candidate fail to submit and swear to the prescribed documents, the secretary of state shall not place that presidential candidate’s name on the ballot in this state

The Arizona bill also requires:

  • Attachments, “which shall be sworn to under penalty of perjury,” including “an original long form birth certificate that includes the date and place of birth, the names of the hospital and the attending physician and signatures of the witnesses in attendance.”
  • Testimony that the candidate “has not held dual or multiple citizenship and that the candidate’s allegiance is solely to the United States of America.”

Connecticut: In Connecticut, SB291 has been referred to the Judiciary Committee. It would require “that candidates for president and vice-president provide their original birth certificates in order to be placed on the ballot” to ensure that the candidate “is a natural born United States citizen, prior to certifying that the candidate is qualified to appear on the ballot.”

Georgia: HB37 by Rep. Bobby Franklin demands not just the candidate’s statement but original birth-certificate documentation. To get around the matter of “standing” that has been used by countless judges to deny hearing to countless lawsuits challenging Obama’s eligibility, HB37 provides a procedure for and declares that citizens have “standing” to challenge a candidate’s birth certificate documentation. It states:

Each political party shall provide for each candidate … original documentation that he meets the qualifications of Article, 2 Section 1, Paragraph 1, and Article 2, Section 1, Paragraph 5 of the United States Constitution to serve as president of the United States if elected to such office. Any citizen of this state shall have the right to challenge the qualifications of any such candidate within two weeks following the publication of the names of such candidates.

Franklin told WND the least that leaders of the United States, on a state or federal level, can do is to follow the requirements of the law of the land. His plan, he said, is needed because he saw “requirements in the Constitution that you don’t have a code provision to ensure that it happens.” “If we as an entity of civil government don’t follow the laws, then what makes us think that our citizens are going to obey anything we enact?” he said. “We need to lead by example.”

Indiana.  Sen. Mike Delph proposed SB114 to require candidates to provide a certified copy of their birth certificate and include an affirmation they meet the Constitution’s requirements for the president. It calls for the candidates “to certify that the candidate has the qualifications provided in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution” and accompany that certification with “a certified copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, including any other documentation necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications.” In also provides “that the election division may not certify the name of a nominee for president or vice president of the United States unless the election division has received a nominee’s certification and documentation.”

On his blog, commentator Gary Welsh observed that state law already requires the elections division to deny ballot access to unqualified candidates. However, the law “makes no provision for requiring candidates to furnish any evidence with their declaration of candidacy to indicate whether they are eligible to hold the office.”

Maine: Maine’s LD34 calls for a requirement for candidates for public office to provide proof of citizenship. It states, “A candidate for nomination by primary election shall show proof of United States citizenship in the form of a certified copy of the candidate’s birth certificate and the candidate’s driver’s license or other government-issued identification to the Secretary of State.”

Missouri: The Missouri plan, HB283, by nearly two dozen sponsors, would require that certification for candidates “shall include proof of identity and proof of United States citizenship.”

Nebraska: In Nebraska, with LB654, the certification for candidates would “include affidavits and supporting documentation.” That paperwork would need to document they meet the “eligibility requirements of Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States” by stating in an affidavit that “I was born a citizen of the United States of America and was subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the United States of America, owing allegiance to no other country at the time of my birth.”

Montana: Under Montana’s plan by Rep. Bob Wagner, candidates would have to document their eligibility and also provide for protection for state taxpayers to prevent them from being billed for “unnecessary expense and litigation” involving the failure of ‘federal election officials’ to do their duty.  Wagner’s legislation cites the Constitution’s requirement that the president hold “natural born citizenship” and the fact that the “military sons and daughters of the people of Montana and all civil servants to the people of Montana are required by oath to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States and Montana against enemies foreign and domestic.”

But there are estimates of up to $2 million being spent on Obama’s defense against eligibility lawsuits. There have been dozens of them and some have been running for more than two years. So Wagner goes a step beyond. His proposed legislation says:

“Whereas, it would seem only right and just to positively certify eligibility for presidential and congressional office at the federal level; and whereas, it is apparent that the federal authority is negligent in the matter; therefore, the responsibility falls upon the state; and whereas, this act would safeguard the people of Montana from unnecessary expense and litigation and the possibility that federal election officials fail in their duty and would ensure that the State of Montana remains true to the Constitution.” .

Oklahoma: In Oklahoma, SB91 would require “proof of citizenship for certain candidates” and take the openness one step further, allowing the public access. It demands an “original” birth certificate issued by a state, the federal government, or documentation of a birth of a U.S. citizen abroad…. Copies of these documents shall be made by the election board and kept available for public inspection pursuant to the Oklahoma Open Records Act.”

Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, the GOP has captured a majority of both houses of the state legislature as well as the governor’s office. Assemblyman Daryl Metcalfe is working on a proposal that would demand documentation of constitutional eligibility. He described it as a “problem” that there has been no established procedure for making sure that presidential candidates meet the Constitution’s requirements for age, residency and being a “natural born citizen” and said “We hope we would be able to pass this legislation and put it into law before the next session.” 

Texas: A bill filed for the Texas Legislature by Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, would require candidates’ documentation. HB295 will add to the state election code the provision:

“The secretary of state may not certify the name of a candidate for president or vice-president unless the candidate has presented the candidate’s original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen.”

The effective date will be Sept. 1, 2011, in time for 2012 presidential campaigning. Berman told WND he’s seen neither evidence nor indication that Obama qualifies under the Constitution’s requirement that a president be a “natural-born citizen.” “If the federal government is not going to vet these people, like they vetted John McCain, we’ll do it in our state,” he said and noted the Senate’s investigation into McCain because of the Republican senator’s birth in Panama to military parents.

A year ago, polls indicated that roughly half of American voters were aware of a dispute over Obama’s eligibility. Recent polls, however, by organizations including CNN, show that 6 in 10 American voters now have serious doubts that Obama is eligible under the Constitution’s demands.

In addition to these state-level bills, there was also Rep. Bill Posey’s bill at the federal level during the last Congress. Posey’s H.R. 1503 stated:

“To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to require the principal campaign committee of a candidate for election to the office of President to include with the committee’s statement of organization a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate, together with such other documentation as may be necessary to establish that the candidate meets the qualifications for eligibility to the Office of President under the Constitution.”

The bill also provided:

“Congress finds that under … the Constitution of the United States, in order to be eligible to serve as President, an individual must be a natural born citizen of the United States who has attained the age of 35 years and has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years.”

It had more than a dozen sponsors but died at the end of the last Congress. There are hopes the GOP majority in the House this year will move such a plan forward.

[Source for the above information: WND]

H/t beloved fellows Tina, Joseph, Steve.

~Eowyn

Constitutional Amendment for States to Repeal Any Federal Law

This is an even better idea than the recent House Republican rule requiring each bill filed in the House “cite its specific constitutional authority.”

12 state legislatures have given their support to a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would allow states to overturn any Act of Congress. The proposal also has the support of incoming House Majority Leader, Republican Congressman Eric Cantor.

All this is made possible because what voters did in the historic midterm elections of November 2, 2010. Elections do make a difference! Now is not the time for Conservatives to disengage from politics. We must stay informed and continue to hold the feet of politicians to the fire!

~Eowyn

Proposed Amendment Would Enable States to Repeal Federal Law

By Kate Zernike – New York Times - December 19, 2010

The same people driving the lawsuits that seek to dismantle the Obama administration’s health care overhaul have set their sights on an even bigger target: a constitutional amendment that would allow a vote of the states to overturn any act of Congress. Under the proposed “repeal amendment,” any federal law or regulation could be repealed if the legislatures of two-thirds of the states voted to do so.

The idea has been propelled by the wave of Republican victories in the midterm elections. First promoted by Virginia lawmakers and Tea Party groups, it has the support of legislative leaders in 12 states. It also won the backing of the incoming House majority leader, Representative Eric Cantor, when it was introduced this month in Congress.

Like any constitutional amendment, it faces enormous hurdles: it must be approved by both chambers of Congress — requiring them to agree, in this case, to check their own power — and then by three-quarters of, or 38, state legislatures.

Still, the idea that the health care legislation was unconstitutional was dismissed as a fringe argument just six months ago — but last week, a federal judge agreed with that argument. Now, legal scholars are handicapping which Supreme Court justices will do the same.

The repeal amendment reflects a larger, growing debate about federal power at a time when the public’s approval of Congress is at a historic low. In the last several years, many states have passed so-called sovereignty resolutions, largely symbolic, aimed at nullifying federal laws they do not agree with, mostly on health care or gun control. Tea Party groups and candidates have pushed for a repeal of the 17th Amendment, which took the power to elect United States senators out of the hands of state legislatures. And potential presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin have tried to appeal to anger at Washington by talking about the importance of the 10th Amendment, which reserves for states any powers not explicitly granted to the federal government in the Constitution.

“Washington has grown far too large and has become far too intrusive, reaching into nearly every aspect of our lives,” Mr. Cantor said this month. “Massive expenditures like the stimulus, unconstitutional mandates like the takeover of health care and intrusions into the private sector like the auto bailouts have threatened the very core of the American free market. The repeal amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around.”

Randy E. Barnett, a law professor at Georgetown who helped draft the amendment, argued that it stood a better chance than others that have failed to win ratification. “This is something state legislatures have an interest in pursuing,” he said, “because it helps them fend off federal encroachment and gives them a seat at the table when Congress is proposing what to do.” Professor Barnett, considered by many scholars to be the intellectual godfather of the argument that the health law is unconstitutional, first proposed the repeal amendment in a column published by Forbes.com in 2009.

Tea Party groups in Virginia contacted him. Virginia’s governor, attorney general and speaker of the House, all Republicans, then expressed their support. The speaker, William J. Howell, joined Professor Barnett in an op-ed article proposing the amendment in The Wall Street Journal in September.

Virginia was a particularly ripe place to start the argument. The attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, was among the first attorneys general to try to overturn the federal health care law, filing a lawsuit minutes after President Obama signed the measure last spring. Mr. Cuccinelli argued that the federal provision establishing a health insurance mandate was against a law the legislature had recently passed decreeing that no resident could be required to have health insurance. The judge who declared the mandate unconstitutional last week was ruling in that case. This month, Mr. Cuccinelli wrote to the attorneys general of every state for their support of the repeal amendment.

The measure was introduced in the House by Representative Rob Bishop, Republican of Utah, who was a founder of the Western States Coalition, which advocates states’ rights.

Sanford V. Levinson, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Texas, called the proposal “a really terrible idea” because it would give the same weight to small states as it would to large ones, allowing those with a relatively small proportion of the national population to have outsize influence. “There’s not the slightest chance it would get through Congress” or be ratified by the states, he said. “You can bet the ranch that there are enough state legislators in the large states who will not consider it a good idea to reinforce the power of small parochial rural states in which most Americans do not live.” Even if it were approved, it would be extremely unlikely to have any practical effect, Professor Levinson said. “Any bill that can get through the byzantine, gridlocked process of being approved by two houses and the presidential signature is wildly unlikely to be opposed by two-thirds of the states,” he said.

Marianne Moran, a lawyer in Florida who runs RepealAmendment.org, said that legislative leaders in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, as well as Virginia, were backing the amendment. “Considering we’ve had 12 states get on board in the last two or three months that we’ve been pushing this, I think we’re getting some speed,” she said. “No amendment has ever been ratified without a broad national consensus — it’s an uphill battle — but we’ve done it 27 times as a country, and I think we can get enough states to agree.” Proponents say their effort is not directed at any one law or set of laws. “Our desire is to have it in place so we can repeal as things come up,” Ms. Moran said. “What we’re trying to do is to draw a line in the sand saying the federal government has gone too far.”