by Diane Rufino, January 13, 2020
This article comes from a few remarks I made to introduce my last TEA Party meeting. The ultimate topic, to be discussed by a few candidates running for state office, was the problem they see (if any) with our state court system and our federal court system. I wanted to provide an introduction, making sure our members were clear as to the power the courts have managed to assume and exert over the many years.
For those who live in North Carolina, both tracts of the court system have done great damage to the conservative values that we hold dear in this state and have terribly and recklessly undermined and eroded the notions of “democracy” that we are not only entitled to but which rely on. To many who live here, the courts are seen as progressive rogue elements who operate outside the constitution, outside any sense of oath or loyalty to the country, absent any sense of duty, and for the sole purpose of using their positions to make the types of changes that THEY, in their personal and political views, think it necessary to make. In other words, we see the courts as independent agents who are more self-interested than anything else. Just as law schools have morphed into centers of “Social Justice’ (teaching its students to find social justice and racial justice issues everywhere, including where there are none), the judges they turn out are on a quest to seek and effect changes to further social justice. If they can find an explanation that can be interpreted as “racist” or “discriminatory,” that is what they will hang their ruling on. If they alone see such an interpretation, again that will be the basis of their ruling. The discrimination (which was bad, I’m not denying it) of African-Americans in North Carolina post-Civil War and during the Jim Crow era, and the inhumane treatment of them in the 50’s and early 60’s when they dared to protest for voting rights is long gone. That era is clearly gone. But certain social justice warriors (ie, judges) seem to want to make sure that it lives on.
The North Carolina state constitution outlines the powers of our state government and in Article I (“Declaration of Rights”) lists the rights that government must respect for each individual (plus a few that are clearly unconstitutional but remain as a result of the coercion of the victorious northern invaders after the Civil War via the Reconstruction Acts). Article IV of the US Constitution reads: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
Wow, that Article IV is powerful. And it sort of shows rather clearly how deranged President Abraham Lincoln was and how overly ambitious he was to keep the money flowing from the agricultural southern states to the northern businessmen.
A “republican form of government” is defined as one in which the powers of sovereignty are vested in the people and are exercised by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially delegated. Each southern state seceded from the Union after first calling a convention (just as they did to consider and debate the proposed US Constitution) and selecting delegates from among the people themselves to consider that sole issue, and then issuing a Declaration of Secession. They followed up by writing new state constitutions, if necessary, and then meeting to decide the question of whether to form into a new union (The Confederate States of America), which they agreed to, and finally wrote up a new national constitution. Most legal and constitutional scholars will comment that the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was a better constitution than our US Constitution (and that opinion has nothing to do with slavery). So, we see that Lincoln violated Article IV by making sure that the United States government did NOT guarantee a republican form of government to the 11 southern states that chose to secede. Next, Article IV guarantees that the federal government will protect them against invasion. But again, Lincoln ignored that promise as well. The only invasion that the South suffered was from the federal government itself. If Lincoln thought the Southern states were merely victims of domestic violence and insurrection, there was nothing to support such an assertion. There was no application by the legislatures of the states to the federal government for protection. Lincoln simply promoted a fake view of southern secession, characterizing it in terms that inflamed the passions of those in the north into taking the action he alone deemed absolutely necessary. (Well, there were others who agreed with him, such as his Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton – an evil and ambitious man).
It’s important – very important – to remember that Lincoln never accepted the fact that the southern states willfully and thoughtfully left the Union, exercising a natural right RESERVED to every sovereign, a right articulated in our Declaration of Independence, and a right correctly characterized as an “extra-constitutional right” (reserved to every state under the Tenth Amendment). In fact, they did everything exactly as the original 13 colonies did when they separated (ie, seceded) from Great Britain and organized into a union of states for mutual protection, strength, and bargaining power with the countries of Europe and Asia. Lincoln characterized the action of the 11 southern states as a collective act of rebellion – of domestic upheaval. Of course, nothing could have been farther from the truth. Those states took the calculated steps they took because they chose NOT to act in rebellion against their fellow northern states but rather to simply leave, peacefully, and to re-form a Union based on a government that serves their interests far better (and without open hostility).
The cornerstone of the united States of America is the US Constitution. It is the cornerstone, along with state constitutions, of our Rule of Law. Each constitution memorializes what the People expect from government – the powers delegated to it, the powers denied to it, and the essential individual rights that it is obligated to respect and forbidden to violate or burden. The equal application of the Rule of Law and the memorialization of individual rights guarantees persons in our country that they can live freely. It is this understanding that she reinforce to all of us the immeasurable importance of the US Constitution (and then the individual state constitution). The Constitution is OUR document. It was written for us and continues to provide as best as possible a shield to keep government at bay and out of our lives as much as possible. It is one of enumerated powers only, and therefore any additional power the government assumes or has assumed over the years has been done by abusing power, “usurping” powers during times of national emergencies, and most commonly, with the blessing of the federal judiciary. Since government has grown abusive and tyrannical over the years, the Constitution protects us far less than it did in the years post Founding and pre-Civil War. Yet, it continues to be all we have to keep the government within certain boundaries in our lives, with our liberties, and relating to our property.
This is why conservatives fight so hard to make sure the Constitution is understood and upheld. This was one of the main reasons why the TEA Party was formed back in 2009.
The TEA Party movement was founded for absolutely all the right reasons. I hear people mock the TEA Party movement, mock TEA Party principles, mock TEA Party folks as loonies, call TEA Partiers “racists,” and, chide groups into changing their name so as “not to offend” folks. I don’t fall for this. Anyone who has a bad opinion of the TEA Party and of the movement in general needs to submit to an intense course on American history and an intense course on US Government and Civics (not the progressive-type course that indoctrinates liberals). The origins of the TEA Party go back to an appreciation for the Constitution given to us by our Founding Fathers and its framers. All of a sudden, people all over the country realized that the Constitution had been framed with great genius and wisdom. And they also realized that all of the country’s problems stemmed from the all-too-obvious fact that the federal government had perverted our republic by unilaterally expanding its powers beyond the boundaries and limitations specified in the Constitution, and including the Bill of Rights, and adding usurped powers to its list of legitimate powers.
Every time the federal government ignores the Tenth Amendment (“the powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the State or to the People””) and the Ninth Amendment (“the enumeration of certain rights in the Constitution shall not be construed to deny others retained by the People”) and assumes powers NOT specifically delegated to it by the Constitution, it USURPS or TAKES those powers away from the one they rightfully belong to. For example, the federal government (thru the Supreme Court, a federal court) took control of marriage in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, claiming it alone had the power to declare gay marriage equivalent to heterosexual marriage. In doing so, it usurped the power to regulate marriage from the States, where it belonged and had belonged for ages. When the federal courts continue to strike down our legitimate Voter ID laws, as they have been doing (continually crying “racism,” “racism,” “racism”), they USURP the rightful power of the state to regulate elections for a rightful purpose. They continue to substitute their personal opinions and views for those of our elected state legislators and they continue to ignore how the issue of voter and election fraud permeated the 2010 election and was almost single-handedly responsible for ushering in the historic Republican majority (first since Reconstruction).
Remember the story of Ben Franklin leaving the Philadelphia Convention back in September 1787… A woman asked him: “What type of government have you given us?” And he responded: “A republic ma’am, if you can keep it.” When we look at how far out of control the federal government has gotten, we must go back to that afternoon and back to that comment and ask if we are doing what we need to do to keep our republic. We know that everything the Democrats are doing, everything they stand for, is designed to transform our republic from one based on individual freedom to one based, at least in good part, on socialist principles.
What is a REPUBLIC? Do we really know what is meant when our Founders gave us a form of government known as a Republic?
A Republic is essentially a government system whereby supreme power is held by the people and they exercise their influence and their interests and views through their elected representatives. In other words, a republic has a democratic element but that element is exercised at the ballot box. It is also exercised by citizens attending public meetings and legislative sessions, taking notes and publishing them to inform the community and by making their voices heard through comments at the session and through peaceful protests. Demonstrations, protests, acts of civil disobedience… these are further ways to exercise democratic influence in our republic system.
The TEA Party movement was started for concerned citizens to get active and to get involved in the government. Reminding government that it belongs to the people, to serve them and their interests is what we must do. After all, if we want “a government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” we must be vigilante – especially when it comes to the selection of our representatives.
The word “republic” derives from the Latin phrase res publica, or “the people’s concern.” It suggests a measure of popular involvement in government. And the authors of the Constitution were radically republican and believed that the only legitimate form of government was one in which public authority derived entirely from the people. We saw this very language in the Declaration of Independence.
And so we look at some of the ways our republic has lost its original character and how our government system has been transformed from one of limited power to one of concentrated power, and almost all of them involve recklessness, disloyalty, and complicity by the federal judiciary. Yes, what I am saying is that our government has become tyrannical and it has become so, to a great extent, because the federal courts have sanctioned such abusive powers.
A government is tyrannical when it passes and enforces laws without proper constitutional authority. It is tyrannical when it imposes mandatory duties upon its citizens without legal authority or when it treats groups of citizens unequally. It has become tyrannical because the federal courts have re-interpreted language in the Constitution, ignored other language, or inserted new language unilaterally into it. (This is what the “living, breathing document” justices have done over the years). It has become tyrannical after years and years of illicit changes to the Constitution sanctioned by progressive courts not wanting to faithfully interpret the Constitution as much as they wanted to bring about social change in our country. It has become tyrannical each time the federal government wished to assume new powers or to claim “preemption” over an area belonging to the States and the federal courts provided support by using fancy sophistry (or as Scalia used to call it – “legal gymnastics – lacking any foundation in law”) in its rulings to make it so. We saw a prime example of this in Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion in the Obamacare ruling. It was the most horrific and tortuous example of legal reasoning. It has become tyrannical when it uses its branches not effect the powers articulated in the Constitution but rather to make sweeping social change in the country, even when it goes against the very fabric of society in the individual states. We saw this when the Supreme Court ignored the entire history of abortion laws and policies to find a right in the Constitution for a woman to murder her unborn child. This ruling, Roe v. Wade, ushered in a new age of Women’s Rights – the right of a woman to rid her body of a growing child for any reason at all, including because the pregnancy is causing her stress, giving her a headache or causing her to lose sleep, or because it is giving her anxiety. The government has become tyrannical because the one body constitutionally tasked with passing laws (the US Congress) has been allowed to outsource certain legislative powers to unelected, un-accountable agencies, and the courts have sanctioned them. It has become tyrannical because the courts have asserted a power they were not intended to have – the power to compel, or force compliance with their rulings. We saw this in the court orders forcing the South to establish school districts and to show that such districts have been drawn to establish acceptable racial quotas. Some such court orders are still in effect today – approximately 65 years after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. The government has become tyrannical because judges have the ability to force or compel individuals to do something that they themselves think should be done. The Constitution does not empower courts to fashion remedies, yet they do it all the time. We saw this with the infamous “school bussing” ruling in 1971, where school districts would be required to bus students around to actively and affirmatively achieve court-required racial quotas. Another example – a school official can be forced to admit certain students or to retain certain students even though they may pose a risk to the safety of other students. In other words, judges know better. And finally, the government is tyrannical because judges and justices have now become legislators from the bench, thus blurring the separation of powers, and allowing unelected, un-accountable men in black robes to make law, make policy, and to dictate what the other branches can do (depending on how it affects their political beliefs). We call this Judicial Activism.
What’s worse is that the federal judiciary follows the policy of “stare decisis” which means that once the Supreme Court has ruled on an issue, the Court must continue to follow it. Essentially what this policy says is that the objective of the federal judiciary is to defend its own past decisions – including ones that are illegal, unconstitutional. abusive, outside the scope of judicial power, ridiculous, have no basis in constitutional interpretation, or amount to Judicial Activism.
In explaining the powers articulated in the Constitution, in such a way that the ratifying conventions in each state could understand and rely upon in their debates, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote a series of essays titled the Federalist Papers. In one of the most famous of these essays, Federalist No. 78, Hamilton wrote that the people would have nothing to fear from the federal judiciary. He wrote that it would always be the weakest branch, tasked with only an opinion, as opposed to the legislature which the power to enact laws and the executive which has the explicit power to enforce laws. Others have echoed the same general theme and have warned that we would have nothing to fear from a federal judiciary that acts on its own – as an independent branch. However, if the judiciary sets out to support the legislative branch or sets out to support the executive branch, then the judiciary should be feared. In such instances, the courts have already decided what the outcome will be, or should be.
Yet, we see the federal courts, acting on their own, have become the most powerful of the three branches, able to bring down both the president and the Congress – with no authority above it to check any abuse.
Why do I bring this up? Because if we ever hope to hold onto our republic – the one our Founders gave us; the one that Benjamin Franklin praised to the woman outside the state house in Philadelphia – we must be willing to recognize that the judiciary is the branch that has been most responsible for the large, bloated, tyrannical government that we have now and the one that has been too timid and reckless to keep it confined within the confines of the Constitution. We must be willing to speak out truthfully and boldly against every bad court ruling. We must expose the abuse. And we must take the action necessary to make sure such rulings are corrected by other branches of government, corrected by judicial impeachment charges, and otherwise not enforced upon We the Free People of the United States.
After all, the government of the United States is still a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.” We lost hope of this for many years but for the past 4 years, we have been feeling a bit more encouraged. It started when Donald J. Trump said these words in his inaugural address:
Today’s ceremony has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People…….
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
As long as we continue to remain active and we continue to stand for the Constitution and for the rightful role of government, as long as we remain vigilante and critical of judicial rulings, and as long as we fight for the man who fights every day for all of us, we can never be forgotten. We will be remembered for helping to take our country back.