WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COMES FOR YOUR GUN RIGHTS & LIBERTIES

by Diane Rufino, June 14, 2022

As we all know, our inalienable rights do not come from government; they come from our Creator, endowed at our creation, and are recognized by nature’s law. Our rights are recognized in our constitutions – “Recognized” and not “granted.” They are recognized and enshrined so that government will always protect and secure them and not violate or burden them.

Liberty is the ability to freely exercise those rights, unencumbered by government authority. Liberty is defined as “the state of being free within society from oppressive and/or arbitrary restriction imposed by government authority or on one’s exercise of fundamental or civil rights and way of life, behavior, or political views.”

The most fundamental and sacred right is the RIGHT TO LIFE. As a corollary to that right is the right to protect and secure that life. And that is where the Second Amendment comes in.

The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.”   (“Shall not” means “Must not”).

The gist of the Second Amendment is that the individual must have the right and ability to protect his or her life against whatever force that might be used, by evil-intended persons, by foreign enemies, and even by their own government, to take their lives. Firearms is not necessarily limited to just muskets and rifles.

In this article, I wish to address the federal government’s latest gun grab – a series of Red Flag laws.

In spite of the “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED” language of the Second Amendment, and the Re-assertion of the Reserved Rights of the individual states by the Tenth Amendment, the federal government insists it must take over the Second Amendment, put limits on it, and violate the rights of the American people, in antagonism to the founding purpose of our country. That is what is referred to as government tyranny.

Tyranny, as opposed to constitutionally-limited government, is the result of government abusing and unconstitutionally expanding their authority and imposing such oppressive or arbitrary restrictions on individual liberty. Tyranny is defined as “cruel and oppressive government or rule,” or “cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control.”  Thomas Jefferson defined it this way: Tyranny is when the government believes it can enact laws and policies legally without regard that they be illegal for the citizenry.

What can citizens do if the government, in general, fails to protect our inalienable and civil rights according to the Declaration of Independence and social contract theory and instead, evinces a desire to violate and prohibit their free exercise?  John Locke, an enlightenment philosopher, championed this new government theory and authored his Two Treatises of Government, which provided the foundation for Jefferson’s magnificent Declaration less than 100 years later. Jefferson explained, as according to Locke that if a sovereign violated these rights, the social contract was broken, and the people had the right to revolt and establish a new government.

And in fact, Jefferson wrote as much in the Declaration, in paragraph two: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”   (Declaration of Independence – NOT an outdated or racist founding document)

He also wrote: “The Constitution of the United States and the constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the People…. That it is their right and duty to be AT ALL TIMES armed.”  And in another letter: “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our Will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law because law is often but the tyrant’s will and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” 

James Monroe wrote: “Of the Liberty of conscience in matters of religious faith, of speech and of the press, of the trial by jury of the vicinage of civil and criminal cases, of the benefit of the writ of habeas corpus, of the right to keep and bear arms…  If these rights are well-defined and secured against encroachment (as articulated in the US Constitution and state constitutions), it is IMPOSSIBLE that government should ever degenerate into tyranny.”

Finally, former US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote: “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”  

Fidelity and loyalty to the US Constitution is so important, that an oath is taken by the President of the United States, the representatives in the US Congress, the federal judges, other federal employees, and even state government employees to “uphold, defend, protect, support, and preserve the Constitution of the United States.”  (Note that oaths include a variation of such terms).

Every fourth year, on January 20, Inauguration Day, the vice-president-elect is sworn in first, and repeats the same oath of office, in use since 1884, as senators, representatives, and other federal employees: “I _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Around noon, the president-elect recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Notice that the oath for all federal and state officials demands and requires that each “support, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Everyone in this country is required to attend school during the formative ages – 5 through 18 or 19. English, grammar, and reading are essential core subjects and so the definitions to the following terms should be crystal clear, and most especially to those serving as representatives in government on our behalf:

Uphold – to maintain, make no illegal or material changes (so as not to alter the meaning, intent, substance, or integrity of something)

Defend – to resist an attack made on something; to protect from harm, danger, or transformation

Protect – to keep safe from harm or injury. To preserve or guarantee by means of formal or legal measures

Support – to hold up, to make sure something remains functional and meaningful

Preserve – to maintain something in its original, existing, and intended state

On May 14 of this year, a deadly mass shooting killed 10 innocent persons at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, NY and then ten days later, on May 24, the horrific shooting at Robbs Elementary School in Uvalde occurred, killing 17 children and 2 teachers. The call from citizens concerned over the rise in school shootings invigorated Democrats to resume their agenda of gun control.

And so, on June 8, The Democrats in the US House of Representatives, with some willing Republicans, passed a wide-ranging gun control package, 223-204 (federal “Red Flag laws”) in response to the aforementioned mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde. Hopefully, but not certainly, the proposals will have almost no chance of being approved by the Senate and being signed into law by President Biden. The US Senate would need at least 10 Republican Senators to join with the Democrats. Unfortunately, at this point (June 14), there appears to be ten Rinos who would be so willing to do so:

Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) – (202) 224-5721

Richard Burr (R-NC) – (202) 224- 3154

Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – (202) 224-5824

Susan Collins (R-MA) – (202) 224-2523

John Corwyn (R-TX) – (202) 224-2934

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – (202) 224-5972

Rob Portman (R-Ohio) – (202) 224-3353

Mitt Romney (R-UT) – (202) 224-5251

Patrick Toomey (R-VA) – (202) 224-4254

I urge all those who support and cherish (and depend upon) the rights recognized by the Second Amendment to contact these so-called Republican US Senators.  

The bill, a package of eight bills (federal “Red Flag Laws”), in essence, would allow federal courts to temporarily remove a firearm from an individual who is adjudged to pose a threat to themselves or others (the general definition of a “red flag law.” These bills would raise the age limit for buying a semi-automatic rifle, prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines with a capacity of more than 15 rounds, and would build on executive actions banning fast-action “bump stock” devices and “ghost guns” that are assembled without serial numbers. The House bills also include incentives designed to increase the use of safe gun storage devices and creates penalties for violating safe storage requirements, providing for a fine and imprisonment of up to five years if a gun is not properly stored and is subsequently used by a minor to injure or kill themselves or another individual.

Rep. Jim Jordan explains: “The answer is not to destroy the second amendment, but that is exactly where the Democrats want to go.”

Republicans have noted that a US appeals court ruling last month found California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 was unconstitutional. “This is unconstitutional and it’s immoral. Why is it immoral? Because we’re telling 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds to register for the draft. You can go die for your country. We expect you to defend us, but we’re not going to give you the tools to defend yourself and your family,” said Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The legislation passed by a mostly party-line vote of 223-204 (only one Democrat voted against the package).  As an aside, there are 19 states, along with the District of Columbia which have such “Red Flag” laws:  Washington, Nevada, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Florida.


Do Guns Kill, or do People Kill?  That is the question.  Another question is this: Will more federal regulation work; will they prevent such horrendous and senseless killings? 

“Guns Don’t kill; People Kill.”  People with evil intent, committed to getting a firearm and succeeding in doing so, are the problem. Criminals and killers are who they are because they ignore laws. They find ways around the law. There are always ways for criminals and killers to get guns. Laws can never stop them. They and their evil heart use guns to kill. Good people, trained in firearm safety and committed to the rightful purpose of keeping and bearing arms for their self-protection and the protection of those unable to do so, are the ones who use guns to kill the bad guys. They are the ones that stop the violence. It is not the gun’s fault; it is not the fault of an “outdated” Second Amendment. It is the lack of decency in society, the fault of a culture that minimizes the role of the nuclear family, a general acceptance of crime, the rise of racism, the rise of uncontrolled illegal immigration, an out-of-control welfare system that rewards broken families, and the lack of religion or morality in schools and the vilification of religion generally. In the past decades, the results of all these changes in our society have translated into an increase in societal violence, with the most egregious being school shootings. This is what the statistics show, and here are those statistics:

For each decade, the numbers presented below represent (a) All Combined School Shootings; (b) Adolescent Shootings; (c) Adult Shootings; (d) All Combined Deaths; (e) Students Killed; (f) Adults Killed:

1940’s:   (a) 1    (b) 0    (c) 1    (d) 5    (e) 0    (f) 5     

1950’s:   (a) 0    (b) 0    (c) 0    (d) 0    (e) 0    (f) 0     

1960’s:   (a) 0    (b) 0    (c) 0    (d) 0    (e) 0    (f) 0     

1970’s:   (a) 1    (b) 1    (c) 0    (d) 2    (e) 0    (f) 2     

1980’s:   (a) 7    (b) 2    (c) 5    (d) 12    (e) 10    (f) 2     

1990’s:   (a) 13    (b) 10    (c) 3    (d) 36    (e) 29    (f) 7     

2000’s:   (a) 5    (b) 4    (c) 1    (d) 14    (e) 12    (f) 42     

2010’a:   (a) 8    (b) 6    (c) 2    (d) 51    (e) 42    (f) 9

So far, just in the past two years, 2021 and 2022, there have been 27 school shootings – Uvalde, TX marking the 27th such shooting, where 19 elementary-age children and 2 teachers were killed, and which came only 10 days after a deadly shooting at a TOPS supermarket in Buffalo, NY which senselessly claimed the lives of 10 people.     

Before going further, it should be pointed out that prior to the landmark District of Columbia v. Heller case (2008, written by Justice Antonin Scalia) and the McDonald v. Chicago case (2010, written by Justice Samuel Alito), the only case in which the US Supreme Court addressed the meaning of the Second Amendment was that of United States v. Miller (1939) in which, in a very limited ruling, the justices concluded that the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual the right to keep and bear a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun. Writing for the unanimous Court, Justice James Clark McReynolds reasoned that because possessing a sawed-off double barrel shotgun does not have a reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, the Second Amendment does not protect the possession of such an instrument. The cases of Heller and McDonald reversed that interpretation and we now have our historic meaning restored – the second amendment confers actually two rights – the right of an individual to keep and bear arms for personal protection and security and the right of protection and security by an armed militia.

With the Heller and McDonald cases, the Supreme Court reiterated and emphasized strongly that “the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense” and that “individual self-defense is ‘the central component’ of the Second Amendment right.”

The University of Canterbury writes:

“For many people, the gun is a potent symbol of all that is wrong with the American culture. It is considered to represent aggression, violence, male dominance, sexual frustration and a host of other behaviour that is abhorrent in a civilized society. However, for other Americans, the very same gun symbolizes all that is right, independence and self-sufficiency, outdoorsmanship, and the ability to protect oneself and one’s family in an increasingly dangerous world. To these members of ‘the gun culture’, a firearm is the virtual embodiment of much loved traditional American values. Inevitably these two highly divergent viewpoints leave little room for agreement or even constructive debate.

This study considers the arguments put forward by the National Rifle Association of America (the NRA), an organization whose views are seldom articulated, although they are often regarded as the only formidable obstacle that stands before the goal of rational gun control. Clearly something must be done to counter rising crime and violence, yet it is the contention of this study that gun control, no matter how attractive such legislation may initially appear, is simply not the real answer within the American context.”

According to the NRA back in 1994, the organization defended the Second Amendment’s grant of human rights as follows (Remember, this was a time when Miller was the leading Supreme Court case on the subject):

NRA Defense of the Second Amendment

Obviously, the NRA emphatically rejects the Supreme Court’s determination that the Second Amendment ‘right’ of the people to keep and bear arms in merely a collective right which refers to the people only as a common body (See Miller). This, claims the NRA, is unconstitutional. The restrictive interpretation by the Court is regarded by the NRA as spelling dire peril for all of the other rights guaranteed by the constitution. For example, a letter to the editor in the June 1991 issue of the NRA’s American Rifleman lamented: ‘The First Amendment is our highest expression of democracy of the intellect and the spirit. The Second Amendment is the highest expression of the physical and the material foundation of our democracy. The First without the Second would reduce democracy to little more than a ghost haunting reality and praying that it will

not be exorcised by the natural forces of bureaucracy, greed, power, and corruption. History gives that ghost

little hope.

On the basis of such fears and given the significant number of important court decisions that were going against them, in 1978 the NRA Board of Directors established the Firearms Civil Rights Legal Defense Fund (FCRLDF), a powerful, nonprofit organization created specifically for the purpose of providing assistance in the form of legal advice and financial aid to individuals and groups in order to wage precedent-setting legal battles in defense of the Second Amendment and in favor of gun owners. The Fund also provides sponsorship and research grants for legal research and educational programs in a variety of gun-related areas. In order to finance its efforts, the FCRLDF, like numerous anti-gun organizations, has been awarded tax-exempt status and all donations made to the Fund are tax-deductible for federal tax purposes. However, this also means that the Fund

must be financially supported solely by contributions specifically made by concerned individuals and organizations.”

Despite the NRA’s fears, and even despite several important court decisions which have gone against them, in reality there is very little chance that the Second Amendment will ever be repealed, given the strong historical connection to the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, as well as Militia Laws, inherited from our mother country, Great Britain, and the overwhelming support of American patriots.  

While the NRA has continued to maintain a deep and abiding fear that recent anti-gun forces and outraged citizens over the rising number of school shootings could successfully push for the Second Amendment to be repealed, they fought hard to push for a traditional, historic interpretation of the Second Amendment and the liberalization of gun laws. The American legacy of firearms, and the right of the people to keep and bear firearms for self-protection and protection of their land (militias) has resulted in countries like Japan deciding not to invade the US homeland in WWII and Mexico not invading the US as well.

Charleton Heston said it best as the president of the NRA (National Rifle Association) – “You can take my gun when you pry it away from my cold dead hands.”


According to The John Birch Society, the Deep State’s war on the gun rights of Americans, especially now in response to the recent deadly mass shootings, has nothing to do with public safety but and everything to do with disarming victims so they can be more effectively oppressed. This is the conclusion and warning given by Alex Newman, a columnist with the John Birch’s The New American magazine. In fact, data and common sense both show that disarming law-abiding citizens worsens public safety, allowing criminals free rein.

A podcast from the John Birch Society, by Mr. Newman (titled “Behind the Deep State”), is available at this link –  https://thenewamerican.com/?powerpress_pinw=222452-podcast

We the People MUST NOT allow for the erosion of the Second Amendment – both its meaning and intent and its vital role in our lives and ultimately for the protection of all our freedoms and liberties. We the People MUST NOT allow a government gun grab.

So, what can we do, as American patriots and concerned citizens, to resist and refuse to enforce such federal bills?

First, let’s review our US Constitution, our US Bill of Rights, and our state constitutions.

As codified in law with the 2nd Amendment, the People did not delegate the power to regulate or control the ownership of firearms to the federal government. “The right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” And, as the 10th Amendment makes clear: “All powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the States or to the People themselves.”  (Madison’s The Federalist Essay No. 45 goes into great detail about the division of power and especially the States’ reserved powers). The Tenth Amendment is actually a restatement of our essentially and critical form of government – federalism, a federation of sovereign states, each reserving their historic and traditional sovereign powers but delegating common authority to the federal government for common functions and mutual benefit),

State legislation to nullify federal gun laws or regulations focus on these basic and essential principles and propose to enact state law that bans the federal government and its officials within state jurisdiction from effectively enacting and enforcing such regulations. Enforcing an unconstitutional, overbroad and abusive federal law on a free people is the very definition of tyranny.

So, the first remedy is to contact all the traitorous Rino US Senators and demand that they NOT vote for the House “Red Flag laws.” 

I.  CONTACT THE FOLLOWING RINO US SENATORS.

I urge everyone who supports and wishes to defend and preserve the Second Amendment to contact the following so-called Republican Senators. Their office phone numbers are provided:

Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) – (202) 224-5721

Richard Burr (R-NC) – (202) 224- 3154

Bill Cassidy (R-LA) – (202) 224-5824

Susan Collins (R-MA) – (202) 224-2523

John Corwyn (R-TX) – (202) 224-2934

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – (202) 224-5972

Rob Portman (R-Ohio) – (202) 224-3353

Mitt Romney (R-UT) – (202) 224-5251

Patrick Toomey (R-VA) – (202) 224-4254

II.  STATE NULLIFICATION OF UNCONSTITUTIONAL FEDERAL LAW:

The second remedy is State Nullification, which Thomas Jefferson termed “the rightful remedy.” 

A model State Sovereignty Tenth Amendment Resolution for the independent States has be en proposed by the Tenth Amendment Center. Every citizen should submit this to their state legislators and request that they take the issue up with the legislature, and also take up the issue of federal enforcement of red flag laws with their local sheriff. Sheriffs are the highest-ranking law-enforcement official and closest to the people. It they believe a law to be unconstitutional, arbitrary, or abusive, they have the discretion to refuse to enforce it.

MODEL TENTH AMENDMENT RESOLUTION

The following is a sample 10th Amendment House Concurrent Resolution approved by the Tenth Amendment Center. To all constitutional activists and concerned patriots, I encourage you to send this to your state senators and representatives and ask them to introduce this resolution in your state legislature.

A RESOLUTION affirming the sovereignty of the People of the State of _________.

WHEREAS, in the American system, sovereignty is defined as final authority, and the People, not government, are sovereign; and

WHEREAS, the people of the State of __________ are not united with the People of the other forty-nine states that comprise the United States of America on a principle of unlimited submission to their federal government; and

WHEREAS, all power not delegated by the people to government is retained; and

WHEREAS, the People of the several States comprising the United States of America created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes only; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “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;” and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States, and also that which is necessary and proper to carry into execution those enumerated powers; with the rest being left to state governments or the people themselves; and

WHEREAS, powers, too numerous to list for the purposes of this resolution, have been exercised, past and present, by federal administrations, under the leadership of both Democrats and Republicans, which infringe on the sovereignty of the people of this state, and may further violate the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, when powers are assumed by the federal government which have not been delegated to it by the People, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy; that without this remedy, the People of this State would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE  _____ OF THE _______ GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ______, WITH THE SENATE

CONCURRING, that we hereby affirm the sovereignty of the People of the State of _______ under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise delegated to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall serve as a Notice and Demand to the federal government to cease and desist any and all activities outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers; and, it be further

RESOLVED, that a committee of conference be appointed by this legislature, which shall have as its charge to recommend and propose legislation which would have the effect of nullifying specific federal laws and regulations which are outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the Constitution; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that a committee of correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship as currently exists;  that it considers union, for specified national purposes, and particularly those enumerated in the Constitution of the United States, to be friendly to the peace, happiness and prosperity of all the States; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of this State’s Congressional delegation with the request that this resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.

III.  INDIVDUAL NULLIFCATION OF UNCONSTITUTION FEDERAL LAW.

The third Remedy is Individual Nullification.  Michael Boldin, founder and director of the Tenth Amendment Center explains in his article (and podcast) of June 8, 2022 four steps to this remedy:

1. The right to keep and bear arms is a natural right. Not a gift from government. It’s not something we get FROM the constitution or the 2nd Amendment. We have this right from our Creator, at birth. This is essential. Because as soon as we take a position that we have “2nd Amendment Rights” rather than a natural right to keep and bear arms, then the people with power – will ALWAYS end up using that power to define the limits of their own power.  (as long as the people keep letting them, that is)

2. We the people have to be willing to exercise our rights whether the government wants us to or not. James Otis put it this way: “There is nothing that will destroy liberty more than a prevailing opinion that it is better to tamely submit than nobly assert and vindicate our privileges.” And Thomas Jefferson might have the best reminder on this: “A free people claim their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as a gift of their chief magistrate”

3. “Refuse to cooperate with officers of the Federal Government.” That was James Madison’s strategy for states and individuals to keep the feds in check without relying on the federal government to magically limit its own power. When the federal government assumes powers not delegated by the US Constitution, it is necessarily taking power and rights from other sovereigns, whether it be the States or We the People. The natural depositories of those rightful powers and rights have the right and the duty to protect them and re-assert them. We the People don’t have to wait for the State to act on our behalf.

However, we’ve seen a small handful of states take this essential step of not complying with unconstitutional federal gun laws. Missouri is the gold standard. Arizona is silver, and Montana takes the bronze. Almost every other state or local “2nd Amendment Sanctuary” creates a sanctuary for nothing.

By the way, the federal government has tried to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose a safety threat to themselves and others primarily with its federal firearms registry, and it has not worked to prevent the terrible and astounding rise in gun violence in our society.

4. Get rid of state laws restricting the right to keep and bear arms.Whether it’s state prohibitions that mirror federal ones (like suppressors or bump stocks), We the People MUST remove permit requirements, reciprocity and everything in between.

For more information and details on this option, listen to Michael Boldin’s podcast of June 8 at this link –

IV.   BUY AS MANY GUNS & AS MUCH AMMUNITION AS YOU CAN.  DEFEND YOURSELF AND THOSE WHO ARE UNABLE TO DO SO

Defy and resist federal gun control regulation by buying as many guns and as much ammunition as you can. There may well come a time when you feel your life and safety are at grave risk, as well as the life and safety of others. Exercise a robust belief in the Second Amendment. The government – NO government – has the right to deny you this fundamental right.

V.  INCLUDE MEANINGFUL SAFETY MEASURES AT SCHOOLS

If there is an increase in school shootings, the solution is not to ban guns from good people but rather to tighten security at local schools and universities. There are several viable options, such as:

(1)  Keep all school doors and windows locked during the day, while students and teachers are in the facility. Keep classroom doors locked during the day, while classes are in session.

(2)  Use only one main door for parents and visitors to enter the school and employ metal detectors.

(3)  Allow teachers, administrators, coaches, and school custodians to keep and carry firearms in their classrooms and offices, as well as be officially trained.

(4)  Request that veterans volunteer their time to provide school safety, or provide financial resources or other incentives in order to hire them or retired police officers or security officers.

These sensible measures make a whole lot more sense than violating and burdening the rights of American citizens in their fundamental right to keep and bear arms.

In an address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce on March 30, 1961, California Governor Ronald Reagan spoke this prophetic words: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

In his first gubernatorial inauguration address of January 5, 1967, he repeated the same sentiment: “Perhaps you and I have lived too long with this miracle of Liberty to properly be appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.  And those in world history who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.

Knowing this, it’s hard to explain those among us who even today would question the people’s capacity for self- government. I’ve often wondered if they will answer, those who subscribe to that philosophy: if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? Using the temporary authority granted by the people, in increasing number lately at all levels of government, have sought control even of the means of production as if they could do this without eventually controlling those who produce. And always they explain this as necessary to the people’s welfare. ‘The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principle upon which it was founded.’  This was written in 1748, and it’s as true today as it was then.”

Freedom requires the action and commitment of people who want to live a life of liberty. Only they can preserve it.

Diane Rufino

References:

Michael Boldin, “Essential Strategy: 4 Steps to Nullify Federal Gun Control,” Tenth Amendment Center, June 8, 2022.  Referenced at: https://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2022/01/4-essential-steps-to-nullify-federal-gun-control/  

Michael Bolding, “Path to Liberty” (podcast), Tenth Amendment Center, January 14, 2022.  Referenced at:  https://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2022/01/4-essential-steps-to-nullify-federal-gun-control/

The Oath of Office – https://history.house.gov/Institution/Origins-Development/Oath-of-Office/#:~:text=It%20reads%3A%20%E2%80%9CI%2C%20AB,of%20evasion%2C%20and%20that%20I

C. D. Fletcher, “Guns Don’t Kill, People Do: The NRA’S Case Against Gun Control,” University of Canterbury, 1994. Referenced at: file:///C:/Users/Diane%20Rufino%20Surface/Downloads/Fletcher_thesis_1994.pdf

School Shootings – https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Number-of-mass-school-shootings-and-deaths-from-1940-early-2018_fig2_324617091

The Guardian, “US House Passes Gun Control Bill, June 9, 2022.  Referenced at:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/09/us-house-passes-gun-control-bill-faces-defeat-senate

Alex Newman, “Behind the Deep State” (podcase), The John Birch Society.  Referenced at: https://thenewamerican.com/?powerpress_pinw=222452-podcast

Alex Newman, “The Plot Against Guns is Not About Safety But Tyranny,” The New American, June 13, 2022.  Referenced at:  https://thenewamerican.com/plot-against-guns-is-not-about-safety-but-tyranny/?mc_cid=f9b2612efc&mc_eid=8d4ce7a42a

The Tenth Amendment Center, “A Proposed Model State Sovereignty 10th Amendment Resolution” –  https://tenthamendmentcenter.com/10th-amendment-resolution/

State Red Flag Laws, Pew Researchhttps://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2021/10/05/red-flag-laws-are-saving-lives-they-could-save-more

California Governor Ronald Reagan’s First Inaugural Address – https://governors.library.ca.gov/addresses/33-Reagan01.html  

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fundamental Question and Some Fundamental, Yet Contested, Truths

by Diane Rufino, June 6, 2022

I’ve been asking this fundamental question for many years now: Is too much individual freedom ultimately destructive of the greater prize – liberty?  

Our Founding Fathers expressed their vision for an independent united States when they drafted and signed their names as delegates to the Declaration of Independence. In that grand document, Thomas Jefferson articulated the sovereignty of the individual according to God’s law and Nature’s law. Our rights come from our Creator; they are inalienable and can never be deprived, violated, or burdened by government. Such declarations are included in the Constitution and Bill of Rights and were included for a reason. They were meant to emphasize that the federal government was intended to be limited (limited to an articulated list of express powers and responsibilities) with its primary purpose to secure and respect the rights of the People.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Abraham Lincoln once said: “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.” (Of course, as president, he egregiously ignored the Constitution and violated the protections granted to the People).

Individual freedom and liberty can only truly exist when government is limited and when love of country and love for one another is more important than political ambition and social agenda. Individual freedom and liberty are maximized when government is restricted in its ability to over-regulate, is limited in its ability to intrude on and impact our lives and our livelihood ( our ability to work to support ourselves and our families), is limited in its ability to regulate, burden, and limit what we can do with our property (our ability to develop it to its best potential), and is respective and diligent in adhering to the Constitution.

But government can only remain limited to the extent that We the People can successfully and effectively govern ourselves. The more we can govern ourselves, the better we can conduct ourselves with self-respect and    To respect others, the less we need government to enact laws to restrain us in our exercise of freedom. That is where religion and morality come in. Religion and morality (virtue) are two critical foundations of self-government. Without them, we can’t really know right from wrong. We act in such a way as to only serve ourselves and to put ourselves above others, to disregard community and to care little about the health and welfare of our country.

And that is exactly what is going on in our country today and has been going on for too many years. We see too many people who are one-issue activists who make too much noise and are ultimately taking our country down the wrong path. As the issues of abortion (extreme pro-abortion), gender identity, and the LGBTQ agenda specifically demonstrate, we are becoming a degenerate society which is becoming increasingly divorced from the foundations required for personal responsibility and successful self-government. We are becoming more and more distant and disrespectful of one another and this is threatening our collective love and support for our republic and threatening our collective appreciation and support of the Constitution, and ultimately, it will undermine the integrity and longevity of our country. Our freedom and our liberties exist only as long as the Constitution is adhered to and only as long as the federal government, a creation of the States through the Constitution, remains limited. 

Our founding values, although expressed beautifully and clearly in the Declaration of Independence, are based on certain “uncontested truths.” Since the early days of our founding and up until the mid-twentieth century, we all understood there are such uncontested truths, like religion and morality and virtue. Sadly, what we are seeing today is a progressive agenda that requires that these truths be contested, ignored, and rejected. It began with Margaret Sanger’s policy of ethnic cleansing and eugenics, then Supreme Court decisions taking prayer out of schools and out of the public square, then a judicial ruling acknowledging a constitutional right of a woman to an abortion (Roe v. Wade, hopefully to be over-ruled soon), and now to a regime embracing hostility to religion, to free speech, and in general, to conservatives. The hatred is palpable. The degeneracy is palpable.

Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, acclaimed author and speaker and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, has been talking about such “highly-contested truths.” According to Anderson, “highly-contested truths” are “the most important civilizational truths that shouldn’t be contested but are “things that we can’t afford not to get right.”

As he asserts, the first truth is that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Taking stock of our current American culture, we can see how this “truth” has become highly contested. Specifically, with the dehumanization of the unborn since the 1960’s and 1970’s and the articulation of a so-called constitutional right to have an abortion, 65 million unborn Americans have been unjustly killed in the 49 and a half years since Roe v. Wade was handed down. The contesting of this essential truth has become a moral and ethical stain on our nation and causes most of us, as Americans, to violate our collective conscience.

Dr. Anderson believes that “Abortion has corrupted everything it’s touched. It has corrupted our Constitution. It’s corrupted our courts and it’s corrupted the rule of law.”

The second highly-contested truth is that God asks very little of us in return, other than to accept the divinity of his son, Jesus Christ and to be faithful to Him, the Father. (This is not one of the “highly-contested” truths that Dr. Anderson talks about but it is one that I believe needs to be included).

In the gospel of Mark, chapter 12:28, the disciple recounts an account: “A scribe came to Jesus and asked, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ It sounds like a fair question. After all, first-century Jews counted 613 regulations, 248 commands, and 365 prohibitions in the Law handed down by God. They ranged from the foundational (“You shall have no other gods before me.” Ex. 20:3) to the peripheral (“Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” Ex. 23:19). All of God’s laws are important of course, but surely some are more equal than others.

Jesus’ response was illuminating. It was simple and straightforward. He answered: “The most important one is this: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’” (Mark 12:29–30). So here we have the “most important” commandment: Love the Lord.

But that was not the end of his reply. Rather than stopping after his apparently straight answer, Jesus continued: “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There are no greater commandments than these” (12:31). In Matthew’s version, he explains that the second commandment is just as important as the first, adding that “all of God’s Law hangs on these two commandments” (22:39–40). The most important commandment, then, is twofold: Love the Lord and love your neighbor.

With these simple commandments, we have the foundations of religion – to love someone more than oneself – and the basis of the Golden Rule.

The third highly-contested truth is that we are created according to a biological scheme – as only two distinct genders, male and female. The push of transgender ideology, questionable gender identity, gender fluidity, and gender wokeness in our culture is something that is touching every segment of America. This new and progressive political agenda is not something that you can kind of opt out of, that you could hide from. It’s in all of our schools, all of our colleges and universities, all of our churches, all of our communities, in all of our movies (including Disney), and apparently, in almost every aspect of our current national discourse.

The victims of this counter-productive and scientifically-unsound ideology are diverse and wide-spread, from middle school girls who have been sexually assaulted in bathrooms by biological males identifying as female, to Catholic hospitals being sued for not performing sex reassignment procedures, to female college athletes not only losing chances to medal but also being forced to share a locker room with a biological male, and now to the innocent, vulnerable, and mentally-underdeveloped school-age children. As Anderson says: “It’s permeated everywhere in our culture, and we need people willing to stand up to tell the truth.”

The fourth highly-contested truth, according to Dr. Anderson, is that not only are we created male and female, but male and female are created for each other in marriage. Just because the US Supreme Court got it wrong in the Obergefell case (upholding gay marriage), Anderson argues, that “doesn’t change the truth about marriage, nor does it change the importance of marriage.”

Marriage has always been both a natural institution and a supernatural institution. It plays both a civic and a sacred function. Because of this, Anderson explains, even though we’ve temporarily experienced a setback with Obergefell, that doesn’t mean that we should stop advocating either for the truth about what marriage is, or simultaneously just trying to promote family and marriage.

The fifth and final truth is that all of us are created equal and all are created for God. It’s the corollary of being made in the image and likeness of God. This means it’s to our disadvantage to think or believe that we can organize our public life as if God doesn’t exist.

Dr. Anderson argues that this truth comes into play with the role of religion in the public square and the importance of religious liberty. “What we’ve tried to do now for two generations is to conduct our public life as if God doesn’t exist,” he says, “as if religion and morality have nothing to do with law and justice. And look where it’s gotten us.”

He continues: “The duties we have to God are the most important duties that we have, period. We need someone bringing that faith perspective to bear in our laws. We need a moral foundation to our laws.”

A virtuous people will courageously defend the rights endowed by the Creator and restored by the blood of patriots. But a fearful people, ignorant and without virtue and without a sense of a higher purpose, would readily cede these rights in exchange for a fleeting sense of security. They would gladly surrender their rights and their liberty in exchange for the protection and the management of their lives from the government. Princeton University’s Robbie George explains, “People lacking in virtue could be counted on to trade liberty for protection, for financial or personal security, for comfort … for having their problems solved quickly. And there will always be people occupying or standing for public office who will be happy to offer the deal.”

Our Constitution was designed and drafted to create a common government of limited responsibilities. Again, a limited government guarantees maximum individual liberty. Our country, comprised at the time of 13 individual sovereign states, fought for its collective independence based on the premise and promise of liberty. Upon winning that revolutionary war, governments were designed and tasked with protecting the rights and liberties of the People. Liberty first.

So the answer to my initial question is this: If we keep on our current course, if we continue to reject religion, morality, and the “uncontested truths,” and if we continue to allow the federal government to grow and to intrude into our lives and allow the federal government and the federal courts to make rulings that limit the rights that were once held as “inalienable,” then yes, individual freedom will ultimately jeopardize our liberty.

Let us never forget what John Adams said: ““We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution just as a whale easily goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 

We want to leave our country in better shape for future generations. We may just have different ideas about how to do it, and that’s alright. Like our Founding Fathers, I will continue to seek to build consensus, uphold the rights of American citizens as outlined in the Constitution and work to pass legislation that preserves the greatness of our nation for years to come.

As President Ronald Reagan once advised: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

References:

Dr. Ryan T. Anderson, “The 4 Most Contested Truths in America,” Truth Network, May 23, 2022.  Podcast referenced at:  https://www.truthnetwork.com/show/family-policy-matters-nc-family-policy/41908/

Andrew Wilson, ”All God’s Laws Are Equal. Are Some More Equal Than Others?,” Christianity Today, November 22, 2019.  Referenced at:  https://www.christianitytod

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Parent’s Bill of Rights – What Every Parent is Entitled To

by Diane Rufino, March 29, 2022

We cannot and must not forget that the brains of school-age children have not finished developing. They can’t process, analyze, appreciate, or comprehend the consequences of the adult topics that are being forced on them through progressive policies, doctrines, and teachings. The mere suggestion of socially progressive issues, especially regarding racism and transgenderism, to a child or teen can cause them confusion and send them questioning their biological identity and their role in society. Not only does such material cause confusion, but it certainly serves to stereotype individuals by their skin color and associated character traits, as well as to make certain children feel they are perpetual victims of society and others feel that their race has been and continues to be the cause of their oppression. Why do we need to cause a young child to question his or her gender or sexuality? Why even talk about sexuality in the classroom at all?  In education, we hear about education standards and how they must align with a child’s brain development. That’s because we want our children to be able to absorb the particular lesson, process it, and learn it. Lessons must make sense to them when they are taught so that the learning process is effective. How does the teaching of racism, transgenderism, gender fluidity, alternative sex education, panoramic surveys, social emotional learning align with a young child’s brain development and ability to process?

Children are supposed to receive their grounding, their foundation, during their formative, school-age years, from their parents, their families, their church, and yes, from the permanent and unchanging laws of science, in particular Biology.

It’s not enough to think of liberal/progressive indoctrination in our public school systems as only Critical Race Theory. Yet that is what most parents are concerned with. In fact, there are so many different forms, so many distinct ways to get the same progressive teaching to our children. For example, there are inappropriate panoramic surveys, identity surveys, data-mining surveys, equity indoctrination, social emotional learning lessons (SEL), health classes on alternative life styles and alternative sex education, diversity education (diversity lessons), lessons on such progressive social issues as transgenderism, gender fluidity, pronoun choice, and the list goes on. In many ways, all of these progressive doctrines and policies are interconnected. They serve one ultimate goal: to further a progressive and liberal social agenda. To learn more about these progressive doctrines and polices, I recommend going to the Education First Alliance website –  https://www.edfirstnc.org/.

“Whoever controls the education of our children controls the future.” Nazi Germany understood this; Communist China understands this. And the progressive element in the United States most clearly understands this. These elements are in political strongholds all over the country – in the state boards of election and in local governments, including the local school boards.

A gross over-reach by education bureaucrats has teachers and school systems focused on social engineering and counseling rather than providing a sound, basic education. They want to steer our future in a progressive direction. Teachers debate “preferred pronouns” in discussing gender identity while our children don’t even know how to construct a proper sentence. Education has suffered greatly. Students aren’t even situated with the proper skills to enter college. North Carolina has an abysmal record on public education

It is unconscionable that our young children are being exposed to such vile and disgusting, inappropriate, potentially harmful (emotionally and psychologically), uber-liberal, and non-value-added material. It is bad enough that they are exposed to it on the internet, on TV, in almost every movie, in the news, in music videos and song lyrics, but to normalize such views and such conduct in the public school system, a place where our youth is supposed to be EDUCATED and not indoctrinated. They are supposed to be EDUCATED and not counseled.

In North Carolina, its Constitution, in Section IX (“Education”), reads: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education, SHALL FOREVER BE ENCOURAGED.” (emphasis added)

Again, the foundations for religion and morality (ie, virtue) must come from the family and the church and NOT from the public school system and the rabid liberals that teach our children. (I acknowledge that not all teachers are liberal, but the conservative ones feel helpless). A solid foundation in science is also necessary, I believe, for a child to be able to properly and honestly address the issues of our decaying society. The laws of science are immutable and permanent.

And so, as I began to delve into the mess that has become our public education system, I became fixated on that provision in Section IX. Back in the day (and I’m not that old), it was always assumed that religion, morality, and knowledge were the legs to a solid public school education. It was always assumed that those in charge of the education of our children were in line with the rightful expectations of parents. And we, as parents, used to believe that we could go into the schools, into our child’s classroom, and see what they are learning and how they are being taught. This was so back in the 70’s when I was a child in the public school system in New Jersey and up until several years ago in North Carolina. What changed?  When did we lose the time-honored notion of a “sound, basic education?” When did we as parents lose our rights to know how our children are being educated? When did we lose control over our children?  When did the school system take control of them and disrupt the parent-child relationship?  When did the school system usurp our parental rights?

And so, I’d like to address a different topic with regard with the education of our children in this article –  a PARENT’S BILL OF RIGHTS.

As I mentioned to the Pitt County Board of Education in my remarks to them this month: “Parents are responsible for every detail of their young children’s lives, from potty training to eating healthy, to keeping them healthy and happy, to helping them to socialize well.  We used to think that that our responsibilities were lightened when our kids got on the school bus and went off to school. We trusted that they were in good and responsible hands and getting the best education the district could provide. But that’s no longer true. As we’ve learned over the past years, that responsibility continues, perhaps even moreseo, WHEN THEY GO OFF to SCHOOL.”

As displayed and reported all across the country, parents are frustrated, they feel they are being ignored and unheard, and most importantly, they honestly believe that their child’s basic educational needs are not met. 

The fact that education bureaucrats have chosen to focus on divisive issues while an entire generation of students aren’t reaching proficiency in the essential areas of math and reading is abhorrent. It shows an indifference toward our children’s futures. They debate preferred pronouns, while our children don’t even know how to construct a proper sentence. North Carolina students are in a crisis, and parents are labeled domestic terrorists for simply expressing their outrage at school board meetings. 

Parents have a voice and that voice needs to be heard. They have rights and they need to be respected and not ignored. Parents have every right to be involved in the classroom. After I heard Ms. Kelly Mann, the Outreach Director for the John Locke Foundation (Raleigh, NC) mention an article she had written on A Parent’s Bill of Rights for its website, I became energized to help promote it. I wrote to every single North Carolina house member and every single state senator asking them to consider a bill officially recognizing parents’ rights in the education of their children.

A Parent’s Bill of Rights should, at least, include all of the following. I’m sure parents can come up with additional “rights” and I hope they do. The first 10 rights come from Ms. Mann (I want to make sure she gets the credit, which she absolutely deserves) and the rest are ones that I’ve come up with:

  1. Education funds must follow students, not systems.
  2. Parents have the right to engage in the selection and approval of academic standards.
  3. Parents have the right to access educational materials, resources, and syllabi taught to their children in the classroom.
  4. Parents have the right to make medical care decisions on behalf of their children.
  5. Parents will receive timely notification of information related to the health, well-being, and education of their children.
  6. In-person education is a right that should always be available as a choice.
  7. Parents have the right to transparent access to school and school district academic performance.
  8. Parents have the right to access detailed and up-to-date district financial records.
  9. Parents have the right to opt their children out of the classroom for delivery of content listed in the syllabus with which they disagree.
  10. Parents have the right to know about situations affecting their minor child’s safety in school (individually or school-wide).. Parents shall be notified in a timely manner of all reported incidents pertaining to student safety, including all crimes or misdemeanors committed by teachers or other school employees.
  11. Parents should never have to “co-parent” with government. “Basic and sound education” is the sole province of government; parenting is the sole province of parents.
  12. The right to know what their minor child is being taught in school, including, but not limited to, curricula, books, and other instructional materials.
  13. Parents have the right to determine and choose which education environment will best serve their child’s education needs, without judgement from others or resistance by the school system, even if that environment is at home (home-schooling).
  14. Parents have the fundamental right to make decisions regarding their child’s education, well-being, and access to public school progressive indoctrination. Religion, morality, family and social values are matters to be directed and respected as belonging to parents.
  15. Parents shall not be required to sign non-disclosure agreements or similar forms for parental review of curricula, and shall be allowed to make copies of curriculum documents.
  16. Parents have the right to visit their child during school hours and to be able to sit-in on their child’s class, upon making a request to do so.
  17. Parents have the right to be provided with information, data, and statistics as to the shortcomings or failures (as well as successes) of each school system their child can potentially attend.
  18. Parents have the right to information on who is teaching their minor child, including guest lecturers and outside presenters.
  19. Parents have the right to information on individuals and organizations receiving school contracts and funding.
  20. Parents have the right to all school records, medical or otherwise, concerning their (minor) child.
  21. Parents have the right The right to information about the collection and transmission of their minor child’s data. Schools and school districts shall obtain parental consent prior to collecting any biometric data or other sensitive personal information on the minor child.
  22. Parents have the right to be notified should the school feel the need to have a counselor speak to their child, and to have the right to refuse to have their child “counseled” by the school.
  23. Parents have the absolute right to be notified of and to be involved in the filling out of ANY questionnaire or survey that the school assigns to their child. Likewise, parents have the absolute right to refuse to have their child answer such questionnaires or surveys. Parents have the right to control what information is shared with the school system (ie, government).
  24. For parents of exceptional children: Parents have the right to have their child’s exceptionalism diagnosed and served by the education system.
  25. Parents shall be able to remove their child temporarily from a class or activity that conflicts with their religious beliefs.
  26. Parents have the right to be heard regarding complaints about their child’s education, their child’s teacher/teachers, and how their child is being instructed. School boards must establish a way to consider and respond to complaints from parents.
  27. Parents have the right to make suggestions to their child’s school regarding education and to be taken seriously. Parents have a stake in their child’s education and a duty to over-see how it is being delivered.
  28. Parents shall be empowered to sue schools for injunctive relief that do not protect these rights. A pattern of such violations in a particular jurisdiction will trigger major reductions in education funding.

The proposed Parent’s Bill of Rights for North Carolina by Ms. Mann is actually nothing new. Several states already have such a Bill of Rights in place.  Florida, Missouri, and Indiana are just three such states. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas just recently proposed a Parent’s Bill of Rights for his state (January 25). And Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) recently introduced one in the US Senate on November 16, 2021.

Will Estrada, president of the Parental Rights Foundation has been working for years to pass a parental rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps its day will come. In the meantime, the Parental Rights Foundation has managed to pass such an amendment in twelve states. These amendments affirm that “the liberty interest of the parent, and the nurture, education, care, custody, and control of the parent’s child is a fundamental right.”

Parents are stepping up and exerting their parental rights and I, for one, am so happy to see this. They are attempting to bring common sense and the inalienable rights of parents back to education. As Estada says: “Parents know they have the right to be in charge of their child’s education, upbringing, and care. This is not just a Republican issue or even a Christian issue. This is something parents all across the board want. They may have different views on how to raise their children, but we respect that and we advance it and we protect it legally here in our country.”

I strongly support a Parent’s Bill of Rights. The Coalition for Public Education group (C.O.P.E.) strongly supports a Parent’s Bill of Rights. The fact that parents are getting out of the kitchen, out of the house, and out to local school boards meetings all across the country because of their outrage and frustration over what is happening in the public school system, to the detriment of students, to the dismantling of the child-parent relationship, and to the integrity of education in general should impress upon boards of education the seriousness of the matter. Parents matter. Their rights matter. Children matter. The education of our next generation matters. Boards of Education, state legislators, and even our legislators in DC need to recognize and support a Parent’s Bill of Rights.

A Parent’s Bill of Rights is not only a good-faith gesture that signals and promises to parents that the system is on their side and that it will value their input and their views on how their children should be educated, but it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Resources:

Kelly Mann, “It’s Time for a Parent’s Bill of Rights,” John Locke Foundation.  https://www.johnlocke.org/its-time-for-a-parents-bill-of-rights/

Josh  Hawley, “Josh Hawley Introduces a Parents’ Bill of Rights to Defend Parents’ Role in Education.”   https://www.hawley.senate.gov/hawley-introduces-parents-bill-rights-defend-parents-role-education#:~:text=The%20Parents’%20Bill%20of%20Rights%20Act%20will%20empower%20parents%20to,books%2C%20and%20other%20instructional%20materials.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Highlight on Gerrymandering and the Right of the People to Vote Fairly and Equally

by Diane Rufino, March 17, 2022

The term “Gerrymandering” refers to the act of manipulating the boundaries of voting districts to achieve some political advantage. The term was coined during Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry’s tenure, who, in 1812, redrew the voting districts for the Massachusetts State Senate to favor his own party. One district caught the attention of the Boston Gazette, who published a political cartoon likening the district’s shape to that of a salamander and labeling the phenomenon “The Gerry-mander” – after the Governor.

Judicial Watch made headlines when it sued the state of Maryland over its “extreme gerrymandering” of congressional districts and got a favorable ruling by the U.S. Circuit of Anne Arundel County last week.

Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch, made an excellent point in the case his group brought against the state of Maryland on behalf of 12 voters in each of Maryland’s congressional districts representing each of its congressional districts, challenging the state’s recent re-districting maps. Plaintiffs claim that the new maps are the product of extreme gerrymandering and violate and diminish their right to vote and their ability to have their vote fairly recognized (and their “voice” fairly heard). Fitton emphasized that the right at stake is (always is) the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO VOTE AND TO BE HEARD EQUALLY and NOT the right of ambitious politicians and political parties to scheme and be successful at using their authority to attain political power and control.

The lawsuit originally filed by Judicial Watch against Maryland’s state administrator of elections and the chair of the state board of elections, Linda Limone (case name: Parrott et al. v. Lamone) in U.S. District Court for Maryland alleged that the controversial redistricting plan is unconstitutional because it transferred “the power to select congressional representatives from Maryland’s voters to legislators.” Judicial Watch also alleged that “to obtain an electoral advantage, mapmakers need to arrange both their own partisans and those of their electoral opponents in particular district configurations…. But voters do not choose where to live so as to suit the purposes of legislators trying to draw gerrymandered districts…. This is why legislators must distort district boundaries to create districts that contain the mix of voters that best achieves partisan goals.”

That complaint also alleged that the Maryland’s congressional district maps are “the most distorted and confused” in the country and were drawn in a way that violates the U.S. Constitution, especially the provision that “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States…” (Article 1, Section 2) as well as Article 1, Section 2 and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which addresses the remedy for a violation of an individual right).

Judicial Watch argued that “the gerrymandering of Maryland’s congressional districts allows Maryland legislators to steal for themselves a significant portion of power to select congresspersons, which power should only be exercised ‘by the People’,” and that “gerrymandering is not something that Democrats and Republicans do to each other. Gerrymandering is something that legislators and other state actors do TO voters.”

According to the lawsuit, the 2011 redistricting plan unfairly, and in an intentionally-partisan fashion, uprooted millions of Marylanders from their previous congressional districts. In fact, the congressional districting plan greatly and confusingly reconfigured Maryland’s congressional districts.  Specifically, the new plan removed approximately 1.6 million Marylanders from their previous congressional district and placed them in a different district. In total, 27 percent of all Marylanders were removed from their previous congressional district and placed in a different congressional district. As the complaint alleged: “Maryland’s gerrymander produces split counties, county fragments, and split precincts,” resulting in the arbitrary political fragmentation of the state.”  The lawsuit argues that the new plan harms not only Republicans, but also Democrats and Independent voters.

Maryland’s recent history of partisan gerrymandering is no secret. It’s 2011 congressional district map, for example, remains one of the most notorious intentional partisan gerrymanders in U.S. history. A federal district judge even openly doubted that it could provide “fair and effective representation for all citizens.” 

The lawsuit relates that a bipartisan commission recommended a map to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on November 5 that he approved, but the legislature passed a different proposal in a straight party-line vote. On December 9, 2021, Hogan vetoed this proposal, and on the same day, the state legislature overrode his veto again along a party line vote.

As Fitton explains: “Maryland’s gerrymandered congressional district map treats voters like cattle, herding them into districts that defy sense. Traditionally, it has been accepted that the people select their elected representatives.  But currently in Maryland, it’s the legislators who are selecting their constituents. The Supreme Court should address the unconstitutional corruption of gerrymandering, beginning with Maryland.”

Consequently, the plaintiffs asked the district court, among other forms of relief, to declare the Maryland maps unlawful and require Maryland to redraw the maps.

Unfortunately, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled for the state in dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims.

Judicial Watch appealed the ruling. (Fitton has already filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court). The appeal is unique in that it presented a “judicially manageable remedy” necessary to resolve clear cases of political gerrymandering, specifically the Polsby-Popper scale, which is one of the most widely used measures of electoral district compactness. Robert Popper, co-creator of the Polsby-Popper scale, is the lead Judicial Watch attorney in this lawsuit and directs the organization’s Election Integrity Project.

Compactness measures have been widely used to assess geographic gerrymandering. Although it is generally accepted that legislative districts should be “compact,” as is often the case, that definition has become something malleable in the hands of ambitious politicians. Numerous, sometimes conflicting, measures of compactness across a number of theoretical dimensions have been proposed in the academic literature, and Judicial Watch prefers the use of the Polsby-Popper scale.

The Polsby-Popper (PP) scale (measurement) is a straightforward application of a mathematically-derived compactness measure which looks at the ratio of the area of the district (AD) to the area of a circle whose circumference is equal to the perimeter of the district (PD). A district’s Polsby-Popper score closest to 1 indicates a more compact district. This scale can be used as a judicially manageable, discernable, and non-arbitrary standard with which to measure, and deter, excessive partisan gerrymandering.     

The formula is  PP = 4 x AD / PD

Maryland’s congressional districts have an average Polsby-Popper compactness score of 11.3.  This is the lowest (ie, the worst) average compactness score for congressional districts of any state in the nation. Outside experts agreed that the plan was flawed, with the nonpartisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project giving it a grade of “F” for fairness and geographic compactness. In 2020, Republicans accounted for approximately 35% of Maryland’s congressional votes, but they’re unlikely to win even a single seat under this plan. This outcome wouldn’t and couldn’t be possible without political gerrymandering.

The congressional map drawn by Democrats would have most likely guaranteed them at least seven of Maryland’s eight House seats, or 87 percent of the state’s seats.

Luckily, and wisely, the appellate court, the U.S. Circuit Court of Anne Arundel County, agreed with the Plaintiffs and Judicial Watch.

On March 25, senior Maryland judge Lynne A. Battaglia of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County ruled that Democrats in the state had drawn an “extreme gerrymander” and finally threw out the state’s new congressional map, drawn up by its Democrat-majority legislature. The judge’s ruling found that the map drawn by Democrats had “constitutional failings” and ignored requirements of focusing on “compactness” and keeping similar communities together. In her opinion, she wrote: “All of the testimony in this case supports the notions that the voice of Republican voters was diluted and their right to vote and be heard with the efficacy of a Democratic voter was diminished.”

“With regard to Article 7 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, Judge Battaglia continued, “the Plaintiffs, based upon the evidence adduced at trial, proved that the 2021 Plan was drawn with partisanship as predominant intent, to the exclusion of traditional redistricting criteria, by the party in power, to suppress the voice of Republican voters. The right for all political participation in Congressional elections … was violated by the 2021 Plan.”

Concluding, Judge Battaglia ordered the gerrymandered district plan to be permanently enjoined (ie, unenforceable) and ordered the Maryland General Assembly to redraw the map by March 30. A hearing for the new map has been set for April 1.

Judicial Watch president Fitton was happy that the appellate court has ordered Maryland to go back and re-draw district maps that respect Maryland voters and don’t make a mockery of common sense and the rule of law. In a public statement, he said: “This key court victory against abusive partisan gerrymandering by Democrats in Maryland could set a national precedent.”

What can all states do in light of this ruling?

First, let’s acknowledge what is going on in the scheming dens of Democratic politicians. Democrats across the country have taken a much more aggressive tack this redistricting cycle than they have in the past, seeking to counteract what they have long denounced as extreme Republican gerrymanders from the 2010 cycle. Democratic state legislatures in New York, Illinois and Oregon drew new maps this year that would have given them a significant advantage over Republicans — and congressional delegations at odds with the overall partisan tilt of each state.

Voters do not choose where to live so as to suit the intentions and purposes of legislators and ambitious (desperate) political parties. They should not have to be used as pawns in political gamesmanship.

The right to vote and for each citizen to be heard equally and fairly is the foundation of this country. It supports the founding notion that it is the people’s country and the people’s government, as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and organized under the social compact, the US Constitution.

There should never be a conscious and intentional effort to re-draw (that is, “gerrymander”) for partisan gain. As Fitton explains, such gerrymandering dilutes and diminishes a voter’s right to cast a fair and equal ballot. Every voter has the rightful expectation that his or her vote will count equally and has not been co-opted and manipulated.


So….  What is the solution? 

Again, extreme gerrymandering violates and diminishes the right of the PEOPLE to vote on an equal basis with all other voters and to be able to be fairly heard through their vote. In the lawsuit he filed on behalf of disgruntled Maryland voters who believed they have been manipulated solely for political purposes, Fitton emphasized that the right at stake is (always is) the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO VOTE AND TO BE HEARD EQUALLY and NOT the right of ambitious politicians and political parties to scheme and be successful at using their authority to attain political power and control.

In 2019, in the case Rucho v. Common Cause, the US Supreme Court opined that the states (North Carolina and Maryland named specifically) are allowed to gerrymander, explaining that “partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts.” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his majority opinion that states and Congress could pass laws to prevent politically oriented districts but asking the courts to do so would be “an unprecedented expansion of judicial power.”  In other words, the case restates a simple principle based on the separation of powers. Of course, there is also the notion of federalism which (as the Tenth Amendment and Federalist No. 45 clearly explain) which leaves the administration and regulation of elections to the states.

Re-districting always involves some partisan benefit. It can’t be helped. It’s the nature of politics. But what about “extreme gerrymandering”?

The solution I believe is for the state legislature to draft amendments to our NC State Constitution, to be adopted by voters in a ballot initiative. There MUST be an amendment or amendments outlining a precise formula (such as the Polsby-Popper measurement) or procedure that protects and preserves the PEOPLE’S right to vote fairly and with transparency and forever prevents and forbids the ability for intentional partisan re-districting (intention to be inferred from the re-districting plans). There must never be extreme gerrymandering in redistricting maps.

State leaders have to stop playing politics with the people and do what is right. We must always remember that the first priority of government is always to protect, respect, and secure the rights of the people, including the right to vote.

Resources:

Miller v. Johnson  515 U.S. 900 (1995)   [Supreme Court prohibits gerrymandering]

“Judicial Watch Files Voter Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of Maryland Gerrymandering Plan,” Judicial Watch, March 24, 2022

“Judicial Watch Victory: Court Rules against Democratic Partisan Gerrymander in Maryland.” Judicial Watch. March 25, 2022

Judicial Watch Continues Fight against Maryland Gerrymandering in US Supreme Court, Judicial Watch, January 5, 2017.  https://www.judicialwatch.org/judicial-watch-continues-fight-maryland-gerrymandering-us-supreme-court/

Pete Williams, “Supreme Court Upholds Gerrymandering in North Carolina, Maryland, NBC News, June 27, 2019.  Referenced at: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supre me-court/supreme-court-allows-gerrymandering-north-carolina-maryland-n1014656    [The case – Rucho v. Common Cause]

Polsby Popper scale – https://fisherzachary.github.io/public/r-output.html

Polsbey Popper Scale, analysis for district mapping (presentation) – https://uirc.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Map-Grading-Presentation.pdf Ruling, Rucho v. Common Causehttps://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/18pdf/18-422_9ol1.pdf

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Danger in Stereotyping Individuals

by Diane Rufino, March 26, 2022

Human beings come in all shapes, sizes, forms, and appearances, and with the passing of time, we are seeing an even greater diversity, mostly of a progressive nature. The so-called “window-dressing” is becoming more audacious and alarming. But one thing is clear – a person’s gender identity is stamped at birth by his or her sex chromosomes. The chromosomes (XX for female and XY for male) are in almost every single cell of the body and are unchanging. Gender, therefore, is biologically defined. Aside from surgery and hormone treatments (including psychology sessions), a person’s physicality, or physical features, are also set by his or her DNA, the blueprint for life.

It is true that we are not all alike, and in fact, many of us are not alike. But we nonetheless treat each other with kindness and compassion, as we are supposed to. We are all God’s children. We respect their choices but we, as being created and endowed with a free conscience, do not necessarily have to accept or support those choices. We tend to accept them, out of respect, civility, and a desire to life in a peaceful community.

The problem is that along the line of history, people have decided to divide individuals according to their God-given, genetically-acquired features in order to claim superiority in one way or another. This is where stereotyping comes in. In particular, I want to address “invidious stereotyping,” which means to be characterized in an objectionable manner, based on an unpleasant or offensive trait.

When individuals are stereotyped, they are demeaned, marginalized, and diminished in society, relegated to a second-class status. When this happens, it is easy to discriminate against them, segregate them, phase them out of society (eugenics; ethnic cleansing), and even murder and annihilate them. We’ve seen all this throughout history and it has disturbed us greatly.

Take the unborn, for example. They are marginalized because they are not seen by many as “persons.” Yet they are. Every pregnancy, especially into the second trimester, involves two distinct lives, defined again by their DNA. Each life should be protected and in a compassionate and rational world, they would be. An unborn child may not be wanted by its natural mother, but there are plenty of people who would love the chance to give that child a home and plenty of love. This blatant disregard for the unborn and the greater weight by the courts to the mother has led to the abomination that has been abortion.

Take African-Americans as another example. Africans were seen as an inferior, backwards and barbaric people back in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thus justifying slavery in the 18th century. We can’t but conjure up images of Sambo, Jim Crow, the Savage as representative of black men, and Mammy, Aunt Jemimah, Sapphire, and Jezebelle as representative of black women, and the characterization they helped institutionalize – the stereotype of a simple-minded, lazy, happy black person who was happy to serve and to be taken care of (“a happy slave”). Black women, in particular, were characterized as dominant, controlling, nurturing caretakers, except for Jezebelle, which is the only caricature that hints to the sexual nature of black women.

The ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, published in 1884, stated authoritatively that “…the African race occupied the lowest position of the evolutionary scale, thus affording the best material for the comparative study of the highest anthropoids and the human species.” This invidious characterization of African-Americans as apelike savages was exceptionally pervasive. For example, in 1906, the New York Zoological Park featured an exhibit with an African-American man and a chimpanzee. And then several years later, the Ringling Brothers Circus exhibited “the monkey man,” a black man was caged with a female chimpanzee that had been trained to wash clothes and hang them on a line.  

Racial stereotypes that portray blacks as “mentally inferior, physically and culturally unevolved, and apelike in appearance” were supported by prominent white figures like Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Theodore Roosevelt publicly stated that “As a race and in the mass, the Negroes are altogether inferior to whites.”

In the infamous 1856 Supreme Court case of Dred Scott v. Sandford,Chief Justice Roger Taney, the court members acknowledged such stereotypes and concluded that persons of African origin were an inferior race and suited only to serve the more advanced and civilized races. Taney wrote:

      “In the opinion of the court, the legislation and histories of the times, and the language used in the Declaration of Independence, show, that neither the class of persons who had been imported as slaves, nor their descendants, whether they had become free or not, were then acknowledged as a part of the people, nor intended to be included in the general words used in that memorable instrument…They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations; and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit

     A free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a ‘citizen’ within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States. He cannot become a citizen of the United States, nor will he be entitled to sue in its courts, nor to any of the privileges and immunities of a citizen in another State.

      When the Constitution was adopted, they were not regarded in any of the States as members of the community which constituted the State and were not numbered among its “people or citizens.” Consequently, the special rights and immunities guaranteed to citizens do not apply to them. And not being “citizens” within the meaning of the Constitution, they are not entitled to sue in that character in a court of the United States, and the Circuit Court has not jurisdiction in such a suit.  

      Every citizen has a right to take with him into the Territory any article of property which the Constitution of the United States recognizes as property. The Constitution of the United States recognizes slaves as property and pledges the federal government to protect it. And Congress cannot exercise any more authority over property of that description than it may constitutionally exercise over property of any other kind. The act of Congress (ie, the Missouri Compromise), therefore, prohibiting a citizen of the United States from taking with him his slaves when he removes to the Territory in question to reside is an exercise of authority over private property which is not warranted by the Constitution, and the removal of the plaintiff by his owner to that Territory gave him no title to freedom.”  {Note: The Dred Scott ruling declared the Missouri Compromise to be unconstitutional and unenforceable].

The stereotypes of blacks in our American history has been a severe blight and stain on our nation’s image and continues to infect race relations. Slavery sent the message that blacks were an inferior race of people, uncivilized and barbaric, suited only to serve the more advanced races. And Jim Crow institutionalized the notion that blacks were nothing more than second-class citizens. Race seems to always be an issue and a sore spot for discussion. Sadly, it continues to fuel the allegations of racial intolerance and racial tension.

Who can forget the horrendous plight of the European Jews under the crushing and ambitious political agenda of Adolf Hitler and the German Nazi regime? Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, created a masterful propaganda scheme to convince the German people that Jews were a despicable, conniving, and genetically-inferior race for the ultimate goal to segregate them out of all aspects of German society and ultimately engineer a genetically-superior “master German race.”

In Nazi caricatures, Jews were usually depicted as having large hook-noses, and dark beady eyes with drooping eyelids. Exaggerated or grotesque Jewish facial features were a staple theme in Nazi propaganda and, less frequently, in Soviet propaganda. The idea of the large and crooked (hooked) “Jewish nose” remains one of the most prevalent and defining features to characterize someone as a Jew. This widespread stereotype can be traced back to the 13th century. In Nazi propaganda, Jews were drawn to look like hideous, hairy, demented-looking creatures with large noses. They were also compared to rats, as if they were vermin.

Jews tend to be portrayed as scheming individuals, greedy and miserly. Lastly, they are characterized as having a distinctive way of speaking.

Demonizing and demeaning Jews made it easy for the Nazi leaders and the German people to look the other way at the systemic genocide of over 6 million German and European Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, all for the ethnic cleansing and purification of the German race.

Again, the demeaning of persons of African ancestry has been a huge stain on our country’s history. But another case of stereotyping has also had a stain on our more recent history, and that form of stereotyping took the form of characterizing gay men as “freaks” and generally ignoring them, their charades, and their devasting epidemic. In his magnificent book “And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic” author Randy Stilts explains in great detail how the demonization and stereotyping and intolerance of “distinct classes of outcasts and social pariahs” led to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s and the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

In his prologue, Stilts wrote:

       “By October 2, 1985, the morning Rock Hudson died, the word was familiar to almost every household in the Western world…..  AIDS.

      Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome had seemed a comfortably distant threat to most of those who had heard of it before, the misfortune of people who fit into rather distinct classes of outcasts and social pariahs. But suddenly, in the summer of 1985, when a movie star was diagnosed with the disease and the newspapers couldn’t stop talking about it, the AIDS epidemic became palpable and the threat loomed everywhere.

     Suddenly, there were children with AIDS who wanted to go to school, laborers with AIDS who wanted to work, and researchers who wanted funding, and there was a threat to the nation’s public health that could no longer be ignored. Most significantly, there were the first glimmers of awareness that the future would always contain this strange new word. AIDS would become a part of American culture and indelibly change the course of our lives.

     The implications would not be fleshed out for another few years, but on that October day in 1985, the first awareness existed just the same. Rock Hudson riveted America’s attention upon this deadly new threat for the first time, and his diagnosis became a demarcation that would separate the history of America before AIDS from the history that came after.

     The timing of this awareness, however, reflected the unalterable tragedy at the heart of the AIDS epidemic. By the time America paid attention to the disease, it was too late to do anything about it. The virus was already pandemic in the nation, having spread to every corner of the North American continent. The tide of death that would later sweep America could, perhaps, be slowed, but it could not be stopped.

     The AIDS epidemic, of course, did not arise full-grown from the biological landscape; the problem had been festering throughout the decade. The death tolls of the late 1980’s are not startling new developments but an unfolding of events predicted for many years. There had been a time when much of this suffering could have been prevented, but by 1985 that time had passed. Indeed, on the day the world learned that Rock Hudson was stricken, some 12,000 Americans were already dead or dying of AIDS and hundreds of thousands more were infected with the virus that caused the disease. But few had paid any attention to this; nobody, it seemed, had cared about them.

     The bitter truth was that AIDS did not just happen to America; it was allowed to happen by an array of institutions, all of which failed to perform their appropriate tasks to safeguard the public health. This failure of the system leaves a legacy of unnecessary suffering that will haunt the Western world for decades to come.

      There was no excuse, in this country and in this time, for the spread of a deadly new epidemic. For this was a time in which the United States boasted the world’s most sophisticated medicine and the world’s most extensive public health system, geared to eliminate such pestilence from our national life. When the virus appeared, the world’s richest nation housed the most lavishly-financed scientific research establishments – both inside the vast governmental health bureaucracy and in other institutions – to investigate new diseases and quickly bring them under control. And making sure that government researchers and public health agencies did their jobs were the world’s most unfettered and aggressive media, the public’s watchdogs. Beyond that, the group most affected by the epidemic, the gay community, had by then built a substantial political infrastructure, particularly in cities where the disease struck first and most virulently. Leaders were in place to monitor the gay community’s health and survival interests.

      But from 1980, when the first isolated gay men began falling ill from strange and exotic ailments, nearly five years passed before all these institutions – medicine, public health, the federal and private scientific research establishments, the mass media, and the gay community’s leadership – mobilized the way they should in a time of threat. The story of these first five years of AIDS in America is a drama of national failure, played out against a backdrop of needless death.

     People died while Reagan administration officials ignored pleas from government scientists and did not allocate adequate funding for AIDS research until the epidemic had already spread throughout the country. People died while scientists did not at first devote appropriate attention to the epidemic because they perceived little prestige to be gained in studying a homosexual affliction. Even after this denial faded, people died while some scientists, most notably those in the employ of the United States government, competed rather than collaborated in international research efforts, and so diverted attention and energy away from the central struggle against the disease itself. People died while public health authorities and the political leaders who guided them refused to take the tough measures necessary to curb the epidemic’s spread, opting for political expediency over the public health. And people died while gay community leaders played politics with the disease, putting political dogma ahead of the preservation of human life.

      People died and nobody paid attention because the mass media did not like covering stories about homosexuals and was especially skittish about stories that involved gay sexuality. Newspapers and television largely avoided discussion of the disease until the death toll was too high to ignore and the casualties were no longer just the outcasts. Without the media to fulfill its role as public guardian, everyone else was left to deal – and not deal – with AIDS as they saw fit.

      In those years, the federal government viewed AIDS as a budget problem, local public health officials saw it as a political problem, gay leaders considered AIDS a public relations problem, and the news media regarded it as a homosexual problem that wouldn’t interest anybody else. Consequently, few confronted AIDS for what it was – a profoundly threatening medical crisis.

     Fighting against this institutional indifference were a handful of heroes from disparate callings. Isolated teams of scientists in research centers in America and Europe risked their reputations and often their jobs to pioneer early research on AIDS. There were doctors and nurses who went far beyond the call of duty to care for its victims. Some public health officials struggled valiantly to have the epidemic addressed in earnest. A handful of gay leaders withstood vilification to argue forcefully for a sane community response to the epidemic and to lobby for the funds that provided the first breakthroughs in research. And there were many victims of the epidemic who fought rejection, fear, isolation, and their own deadly prognoses to make people understand and to make people care.

      Because of their efforts, the story of politics, people, and the AIDS epidemic is, ultimately, a tale of courage as well as cowardice, compassion as well as bigotry, inspiration as well as venality, and redemption as well as despair.  It is a tale that bears telling so that it will never happen again, to any people anywhere.”

Randy Stilts, pictured above, was the first openly-gay reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1985, he found out that he had was HIV-positive, and in 1992, he contracted pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. He passed away on February 17, 1994.

References:

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1856)   –  https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/60/393/

Randy Stilts, AND THE BAND PLAYED ON: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic, St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 1987.

Laura Green, “Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans,” Virginia Commonwealth University.  Referenced at:  https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/links/essays/vcu.htm

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Parent’s Bill of Rights

by Diane Rufino (with content provided by Kelly Mann of the John Locke Foundation), February 14, 2022

I have recently become active in my community and most particularly, I’ve gotten involved in keeping on eye on the administration of the public education system in my county. I’ve not only attended the monthly public meetings of the Pitt County Board of Education, but I’ve helped organize like-minded parents and concerned citizens into a group that I’ve named the Coalition for Public Education (C.O.P.E.). Our members have been very active in attending these meetings and also, in offering statements, opinions, and frustrations to the board members – only two of which are conservative.

We have been successful in addressing Critical Race Theory and having the board pass a policy on “Teacher Guidance” that prohibits teachers and administrators from addressing CRT in the classrooms, UNLESS the opposite teachings are equally taught. We currently have a serious problem with books that include dark and offensive themes, such as pornography and other sexually-inappropriate material, pedophilia, child rape, incest (father molesting a daughter), gang violence, foul language, transgenderism, Black Lives Matter themes, and more. Books that contain over 300 “F*** bombs (and police brutality), as well as books that address pedophilia, child rape, and family violence, are included in middle school required classroom reading material. They are also in middle school libraries. Sadly, our Board of Education sees no problem with such books. In fact, members have explained that those offensive books “meet our criteria.” (The real fact is that none of the members, including the School Superintendent or school principals, have taken the time to read them before exposing the students to them).

We cannot and must not forget that the brains of school-age children have not finished developing. They can’t process, analyze, appreciate, or comprehend the consequences of the adult topics that are being forced on them through progressive policies, doctrines, and teachings. The mere suggestion of socially progressive issues, especially regarding racism and transgenderism, to a child or teen can cause them confusion and send them questioning their biological identity and their role in society. Not only does such material cause confusion, but it certainly serves to stereotype individuals by their skin color and associated character traits, as well as to make certain children feel they are perpetual victims of society and others feel that their race has been and continues to be the cause of their oppression. Why do we need to cause a young child to question his or her gender or sexuality? Why even talk about sexuality in the classroom at all?  In education, we hear about education standards and how they must align with a child’s brain development. That’s because we want our children to be able to absorb the particular lesson, process it, and learn it. Lessons must make sense to them when they are taught so that the learning process is effective. How does the teaching of racism, transgenderism, gender fluidity, alternative sex education, panoramic surveys, social emotional learning align with a young child’s brain development and ability to process?

Children are supposed to receive their grounding, their foundation, during their formative, school-age years, from their parents, their families, their church, and yes, from the permanent and unchanging laws of science, in particular Biology.

It’s not enough to think of liberal/progressive indoctrination in our public school systems as only Critical Race Theory. Yet that is what most parents are concerned with. In fact, there are so many different forms, so many distinct ways to get the same progressive teaching to our children. For example, there are inappropriate panoramic surveys, identity surveys, data-mining surveys, equity indoctrination, social emotional learning lessons (SEL), health classes on alternative life styles and alternative sex education, diversity education (diversity lessons), lessons on such progressive social issues as transgenderism, gender fluidity, pronoun choice, and the list goes on. In many ways, all of these progressive doctrines and policies are interconnected. They serve one ultimate goal: to further a progressive and liberal social agenda. To learn more about these progressive doctrines and polices, I recommend going to the Education First Alliance website –  https://www.edfirstnc.org/.

“Whoever controls the education of our children controls the future.” Nazi Germany understood this; Communist China understands this. And the progressive element in the United States most clearly understands this. These elements are in political strongholds all over the country – in the state boards of election and in local governments, including the local school boards.

A gross over-reach by education bureaucrats has teachers and school systems focused on social engineering and counseling rather than providing a sound, basic education. They want to steer our future in a progressive direction. Teachers debate “preferred pronouns” in discussing gender identity while our children don’t even know how to construct a proper sentence. Education has suffered greatly. Students aren’t even situated with the proper skills to enter college. North Carolina has an abysmal record on public education

It is unconscionable that our young children are being exposed to such vile and disgusting, inappropriate, potentially harmful (emotionally and psychologically), uber-liberal, and non-value-added material. It is bad enough that they are exposed to it on the internet, on TV, in almost every movie, in the news, in music videos and song lyrics, but to normalize such views and such conduct in the public school system, a place where our youth is supposed to be EDUCATED and not indoctrinated. They are supposed to be EDUCATED and not counseled.

In North Carolina, its Constitution, in Section IX (“Education”), reads: “Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education, SHALL FOREVER BE ENCOURAGED.” (emphasis added)

Again, the foundations for religion and morality (ie, virtue) must come from the family and the church and NOT from the public school system and the rabid liberals that teach our children. (I acknowledge that not all teachers are liberal, but the conservative ones feel helpless). A solid foundation in science is also necessary, I believe, for a child to be able to properly and honestly address the issues of our decaying society. The laws of science are immutable and permanent.

And so, as I began to delve into the mess that has become our public education system, I became fixated on that provision in Section IX. Back in the day (and I’m not that old), it was always assumed that religion, morality, and knowledge were the legs to a solid public school education. It was always assumed that those in charge of the education of our children were in line with the rightful expectations of parents. And we, as parents, used to believe that we could go into the schools, into our child’s classroom, and see what they are learning and how they are being taught. This was so back in the 70’s when I was a child in the public school system in New Jersey and up until several years ago in North Carolina. What changed?  When did we lose the time-honored notion of a “sound, basic education?” When did we as parents lose our rights to know how our children are being educated? When did we lose control over our children?  When did the school system take control of them and disrupt the parent-child relationship?  When did the school system usurp our parental rights?

And so, I’d like to address a different topic with regard with the education of our children in this article –  a PARENT’S BILL OF RIGHTS.

As I mentioned to the Pitt County Board of Education in my remarks to them this month: “Parents are responsible for every detail of their young children’s lives, from potty training to eating healthy, to keeping them healthy and happy, to helping them to socialize well.  We used to think that that our responsibilities were lightened when our kids got on the school bus and went off to school. We trusted that they were in good and responsible hands and getting the best education the district could provide. But that’s no longer true. As we’ve learned over the past years, that responsibility continues, perhaps even moreseo, WHEN THEY GO OFF to SCHOOL.”

As displayed and reported all across the country, parents are frustrated, they feel they are being ignored and unheard, and most importantly, they honestly believe that their child’s basic educational needs are not met. 

The fact that education bureaucrats have chosen to focus on divisive issues while an entire generation of students aren’t reaching proficiency in the essential areas of math and reading is abhorrent. It shows an indifference toward our children’s futures. They debate preferred pronouns, while our children don’t even know how to construct a proper sentence. North Carolina students are in a crisis, and parents are labeled domestic terrorists for simply expressing their outrage at school board meetings. 

Parents have a voice and that voice needs to be heard. They have rights and they need to be respected and not ignored. Parents have every right to be involved in the classroom. After I heard Ms. Kelly Mann, the Outreach Director for the John Locke Foundation (Raleigh, NC) mention an article she had written on A Parent’s Bill of Rights for its website, I became energized to help promote it. I wrote to every single North Carolina house member and every single state senator asking them to consider a bill officially recognizing parents’ rights in the education of their children.

A Parent’s Bill of Rights should, at least, include all of the following. I’m sure parents can come up with additional “rights” and I hope they do. The first 10 rights come from Ms. Mann (I want to make sure she gets the credit, which she absolutely deserves) and the rest are ones that I’ve come up with:

  1. Education funds must follow students, not systems.
  2. Parents have the right to engage in the selection and approval of academic standards.
  3. Parents have the right to access educational materials, resources, and syllabi taught to their children in the classroom.
  4. Parents have the right to make medical care decisions on behalf of their children.
  5. Parents will receive timely notification of information related to the health, well-being, and education of their children.
  6. In-person education is a right that should always be available as a choice.
  7. Parents have the right to transparent access to school and school district academic performance.
  8. Parents have the right to access detailed and up-to-date district financial records.
  9. Parents have the right to opt their children out of the classroom for delivery of content listed in the syllabus with which they disagree.
  10. Parents have the right to know of threats to their child’s safety (individually or school-wide).
  11. Parents have the right to determine and choose which education environment will best serve their child’s education needs, without judgement from others or resistance by the school system, even if that environment is at home (home-schooling).
  12. Parents have the fundamental right to make decisions regarding their child’s education, well-being, and access to public school progressive indoctrination. Religion, morality, family and social values are matters to be directed and respected as belonging to parents.
  13. Parents have the right to be able to sit-in on their child’s class, upon making a request to do so.
  14.  Parents have the right to be provided with information, data, and statistics as to the shortcomings or failures (as well as successes) of each school system their child can potentially attend.
  15. Parents have the right to be notified should the school feel the need to have a counselor speak to their child, and to have the right to refuse to have their child “counseled” by the school.
  16. Parents have the absolute right to be notified of and to be involved in the filling out of ANY questionnaire or survey that the school assigns to their child. Likewise, parents have the absolute right to refuse to have their child answer such questionnaires or surveys. Parents have the right to control what information is shared with the school system (ie, government).
  17. For parents of exceptional children:  Parents have the right to have their child’s exceptionalism diagnosed and served by the education system.

The proposed Parent’s Bill of Rights for North Carolina by Ms. Mann is actually nothing new. Several states already have such a Bill of Rights in place.  Florida, Missouri, and Indiana are just three such states. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas just recently proposed a Parent’s Bill of Rights for his state (January 25). And Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) recently introduced one in the US Senate on November 16, 2021.

Will Estrada, president of the Parental Rights Foundation has been working for years to pass a parental rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps its day will come. In the meantime, the Parental Rights Foundation has managed to pass such an amendment in twelve states. These amendments affirm that “the liberty interest of the parent, and the nurture, education, care, custody, and control of the parent’s child is a fundamental right.”

Parents are stepping up and exerting their parental rights and I, for one, am so happy to see this. They are attempting to bring common sense and the inalienable rights of parents back to education. As Estada says: “Parents know they have the right to be in charge of their child’s education, upbringing, and care. This is not just a Republican issue or even a Christian issue. This is something parents all across the board want. They may have different views on how to raise their children, but we respect that and we advance it and we protect it legally here in our country.”

I strongly support a Parent’s Bill of Rights. The Coalition for Public Education group (C.O.P.E.) strongly supports a Parent’s Bill of Rights. The fact that parents are getting out of the kitchen, out of the house, and out to local school boards meetings all across the country because of their outrage and frustration over what is happening in the public school system, to the detriment of students, to the dismantling of the child-parent relationship, and to the integrity of education in general should impress upon boards of education the seriousness of the matter. Parents matter. Their rights matter. Children matter. The education of our next generation matters. Boards of Education, state legislators, and even our legislators in DC need to recognize and support a Parent’s Bill of Rights.

A Parent’s Bill of Rights is not only a good-faith gesture that signals and promises to parents that the system is on their side and that it will value their input and their views on how their children should be educated, but it is the RIGHT thing to do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NULLIFICATION: The Rightful Remedy Whose Time Has Finally Come

by Diane Rufino, January 28, 2022

Introduction:   “Trick or Treat” (Episode 51, Season 3, BOSTON LEGAL) – 

Jerry Espenson, friend of Alan Shore and attorney at Boston Legal, is on trial for perjury.

In Alan Shore’s office, he is sitting behind his desk while Jerry is pacing the floor.

Alan Shore: Perjury?

Jerry Espenson: I was on a jury over the summer, a Federal capital case. In order to be on such a jury you must declare in your questionnaire that you’re not again the death penalty. We found the man guilty and imposed a life sentence!  Weeks later I’m doing an interview in furtherance of my new firm and somehow the issue of the death penalty comes up. I said that I’ve always been categorically opposed! And the prosecutor from the capital case must have read it and he had me arrested for committing perjury against the Federal Court! And now I’m about to go on trial!

Alan Shore: Why did you lie about your views on capital punishment?

Jerry Espenson: Because it’s wrong.

Alan Shore: Okay, it’s wrong. So why lie?

Jerry Espenson: It’s not just the death penalty. It’s the issue that only pro-death people should get to sit on death cases! It’s stacking the deck, Alan! It’s wrong! That’s why I lied! To unstack a stacked deck!

Alan Shore: And now you’re being charged with perjury.

Jerry Espenson: And the horrible prosecutor man wants me to serve three years.

At Federal Court, all parties present. Jerry is on the stand, Alan is directing him.

Jerry Espenson: More than half of the world’s countries have outlawed capital punishment. Virtually all of the industrialized democracies have eliminated it. The five countries that execute the most people are in order: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Pakistan. Is that the company we want to keep?

Alan Shore: So. To be clear. You are completely opposed to the death penalty.

Jerry Espenson: I am.

Alan Shore: And, yet, when you were given the juror questionnaire to fill out, you said you weren’t?

Jerry Espenson: Yes. Alan Shore: Why? Jerry?

Jerry Espenson: Because I know how the system works. If you admit you oppose capital punishment, they keep you off the jury. Having only pro-death-penalty people on the jury is completely unfair to the defendant. Which is why I committed an act of civil disobedience. To call attention to the gross unfairness of the jury selection process!!

At the courthouse, in a witness room, Alan and Jerry are sitting in silence.

Alan Shore: Jerry, I know you know that perjury in Federal Court is serious. What I’m not sure you appreciate, this case you were a juror on, it was of enormous importance to the government. It was an opportunity to bring the death penalty to a State that doesn’t have it. And as far as they’re concerned you ruined some very big plans.

Jerry Espenson: This sounds like a preamble to a very bad prognosis.

Alan Shore: I’ve talked to Denny, Shirley, Paul Lewiston, I’ve had a lot of people trying to pull strings behind the scenes. This case is not going away. But I expect that… you most likely are. We have no defense, Jerry. You flat-out committed perjury.

Jerry starts to cry. He gets emotional.

Jerry Expenson:  Can I say goodbye to my mother?

Alan Shore: You’re not going away this minute. I’ll give the closing and… I guess… beg the jury to ignore the law. And… we’ll see. 

At Federal Court, all parties present. Carl Newell (Assistant US Attorney) is up and giving his closing.

Ass USA Carl Newell: If you’re against the death penalty, you can call your congressman, protest in the street, start a blog, publish a book, there are countless ways to get your point across. Committing perjury isn’t one of them. Obstructing justice isn’t one of them. Mr Espenson lied. He defrauded the court; his actions were an insult to that court as well as everyone who believes in our system of justice. You! Are now part of that system. Do your duty. Send Mr Espenson to jail. 

Alan rises.

Alan Shore: Let’s forget all about capital punishment for a minute, and look at this another way. Say, a small town is having a community meeting to vote on whether or not to build a big incinerator. But before the selectmen let you into the meeting, they ask you how you feel about incinerators, and if you’re opposed to them, you don’t get to go to the meeting. Does that seem fair to any of you? Don’t we want all sides represented at a community meeting? Jury selection is supposed to work the same way. All of you, in theory, should represent a cross-section of the community. Well, here we are, in Massachusetts, a state with no death penalty. One would assume, therefore, that the majority of the community is opposed to capital punishment. But anyone who holds that view cannot be a juror in a federal death penalty case. This isn’t just weeding out people with idiosyncratic opinions; this is weeding out the majority. It’s strategic. We all know, intuitively, if you start talking about punishment before a trial even begins, you’re putting the idea of guilt in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Yet, presumption of innocence is the foundation of our whole justice system. Without that, we’re no better than totalitarian states who imprison and execute people on the whim of an all-powerful leader. Jerry Espenson is my friend. I care for him… dearly. And I know him to be fundamentally, a law-abiding man, who simply saw an injustice and tried to do something about it. If he’s guilty of anything, it’s of appealing to his sense of fairness. Now, I suppose, he’s appealing to yours.

The case at issue: The government was trying to apply procedures in a criminal trial in a way to skew the jury’s decision to the decision it wanted. Jerry Espenson was prosecuted for lying about his views on the death penalty because he didn’t believe the government should stack jurors to think exactly like it thinks.  It was an act of civil disobedience.

Attorney Alan Shore (James Spader) asks the jury to ignore the law because it offends fundamental notions of fairness.

And that, in a nutshell is what Nullification is all about.

Nullification – What is It?

“Nullification” is the doctrine, articulated best by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (our two greatest Founding Fathers) which essentially holds that that the federal government is a creature of the states (and NOT a party to the Constitution’s social compact), and that states have the authority to judge the constitutionality of the federal government’s laws, policies, and decrees. When it concludes that an act of the federal government exceeds the authority given to it by the Constitution, the act is said to be “null and void and therefore, unenforceable.” The state then has the right and the duty to refuse to enforce laws which they deem unconstitutional.

So, when you hear that a state plans to ‘nullify’ a particular federal law, the state, in effect, is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-enforceable,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law that the state recognizes. The rationale for Nullification is that the Constitution sets precise boundaries and limitations on the ability of government to intrude in people’s lives and when the government exceeds those boundaries and limitations, it would be an act of tyranny to allow such unconstitutional laws and policies (and even federal court rulings) to be enforced on a free people.

Nullification is the doctrine that is based on the theory that the Union is the result of a voluntary compact of sovereign States and that as creators of the federal government, the States have the final authority to determine the limits of the power of that government. Consequently, the federal government, a “creature” of that compact (an agent of the States), has no right to exercise powers not specifically assigned to it by the U.S. Constitution.

Nullification is a remedy based on the Separation of Powers doctrine stated and defined in the Tenth Amendment (powers reserved to the States versus those specifically delegated to the federal government).  It was articulated by our most influential Founders – Thomas Jefferson and James Madison….  Authors of our two most critical founding documents – the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.  Nullification is the foundational principle – the legal theory – that states that a state (as a sovereign) has the right to nullify or invalidate any federal law that exceeds the scope of authority delegated by the States to the federal government and defined by the Constitution.  But here’s the most important part – not only does the state have the right to declare a federal law or policy or court decision to be unconstitutional; it also has a DUTY to prevent its enforcement on its people.  Otherwise, it’s tyranny; it’s government oppression!!

Nullification is a natural law doctrine and in our system, it is specifically based on our federal system – a dual sovereign system…   The states versus the federal government.  Sovereign against sovereign. (or to invoke Greek mythology – Titan against Titan).  It is a doctrine that is premised – brilliantly premised – on the idea that each sovereign will jealously guard its powers and responsibilities and prevent the other from intruding on them. It’s like two domineering, hot-headed Italians who are married.  Neither wants to concede the other has the upper hand.

Nullification comes from the word “nullify” (verb) or “nullity” (noun; meaning to be “null and void”).   It means the act of declaring or rendering “null and void.”   A law made without proper authority is null and void from the very start because it lacks legal foundation. It lacks legal authority.  And as such, it is to be without legal force.  It is unenforceable – as a matter of law. 

Nullification has been the subject of much controversy throughout our history. Many are not comfortable talking about it and many simply don’t fully understand the doctrine.  This is because powerful groups have attached such negative stigma to it.  This is also because to support Nullification means you must necessary take a position against the federal government.  And we all know that is never popular and often comes at a cost.

I’ve stood in the sidelines for years talking and writing about Nullification and I’ve seen its popularity grow.  Years ago I gave a presentation entitled: “Nullification – A Doctrine Whose Time Has Not Yet Come.”  And I believed it at the time. Now I believe its time may finally be here.  It will all depend on whether the States will rise to their DUTY and have the balls to re-assert the Tenth Amendment (re-assert their sovereignty) to take on the federal government and protect the people of the united States from federal tyranny, and in the long run, to push the federal government back within the bounds of the US Constitution.

In the meantime, there are still those who strongly oppose Nullification.  Most oppose it because of a lack of information or because a misunderstanding of the Constitution and founding principles. 

Nullification – Its Early History

Thomas Jefferson wondered how the country would respond in the case its government passed a law that was clearly unconstitutional. As Secretary of State under our first president, George Washington, he already witnessed the wheels of government try to enlarge provisions in the Constitution to give the administration unchecked powers to tax and spend. Washington would establish the first National Bank. Jefferson knew the trend would continue. And it did.  Our second president, John Adams, signed the Alien & Sedition Acts into law, which were laws addressing the Quasi War (undeclared) with France at the time. The French Revolution just killed off the monarch and his family and tensions flared up between the new French republic and its old rival, England. There was an influx of French immigrants and Americans were split in their support of the old French system or the new republic. Although the Alien Acts (3 of them) were offensive, it was the Sedition Act that was most glaringly so. The Sedition Act made it a crime (fines and jail sentences) should any person “write, print, utter, or publish, OR cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered, or published, OR assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering, or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States….”   The Constitutional red flags went up at once.  The immediate violations jumped out to men like Jefferson and Madison, and many others. While the Alien Acts violated the 10th Amendment and the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment, the Sedition Act was a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment and its guarantee of Free Speech (most importantly, political speech!)  John Adams, a Federalist, saw nothing wrong with any of the laws.  Neither did his Federalist co-members of government or his Federalist judges.  Thomas Jefferson, the Vice President at the time (since he got the second highest votes in the election of 1796) wasn’t a Federalist. He was a Republican-Democrat (a party he founded).  [Notice that the Sedition Act protected everyone from slander EXCEPT the VP !!].  The Checks and Balances didn’t work. Political power was more important than the rights the government was created to protect!

And so, convictions quickly followed. Journalists, publishers, and even congressmen were fined and jailed. Not a single person targeted was a Federalist. The only ones targeted were Republicans.  The men who wrote our founding documents – Jefferson and Madison – began a series of correspondences to discuss what should be done to prevent such unconstitutional laws from being enforced on people who had a rightful expectation of exercising the liberties promised in the Declaration and in the Bill of Rights. (And of course they had to be very careful lest they be convicted under the law!)  Jefferson saw that there are 3 possible remedies when a government tries to enforce unconstitutional laws..  (1) Seek an opinion from the Judiciary;  (2) Secession; or  (3) Nullification.  Jefferson advised against the first two remedies.  He said the first was unpredictable and unreliable. He believed justices were men motivated by the same passions, political motivations, thirst for power and legacy, and opinions as politicians and could not be counted on to be impartial interpreters of the Constitution. He also realized that the judiciary was only one branch of government (the least powerful at the time), and although it would render an opinion, Congress and the President were not required to abide by its ruling. Furthermore, the courts were all Federalists at the time and were part of the problem!.  Jefferson said secession was certainly a legitimate option (after all, the Declaration itself was a secessionist document), but said it was far too extreme and every effort should be made to keep the union together in a workable fashion.  The third option, he said, was “the rightful remedy.”  Nullification, he said, was the remedy inherent in the states’ ratification of the Constitution, inherent in the doctrine of federalism, a remedy grounded in law itself, and the remedy that would allow hot tempers to cool and would prevent states from threatening to leave the Union.  Madison agreed.

Nullification is the doctrine which states that any law that is made without proper legal authority is immediately null and void and therefore unenforceable. Laws have to be enforced by officials – federal and state. When the government passes a law pursuant to its powers, it is supreme and binding. Every level of enforcement recognizes the law. States are obligated to uphold it and help enforce it.  An example are the federal immigration laws.  When the government passes a law that it has no authority to make – such as the Sedition Act, which offends the 1st Amendment which is a strict prohibition on the government with respect to individual speech (political speech) – then in terms of legality, the law is null and void.  For a government to try to enforce it would be an act of tyranny. (Tyranny is defined as a government that abuses its powers and enforces unpopular laws).  Since the law is null and void, no enforcement agency should force the law on the people. Government will never admit its law is unconstitutional or unenforceable and so it is up to the states and the communities (and their enforcement agencies) to prevent such law from being enforced.  The states are the rightful parties to stand up for the people against a tyrannical act of government. When the government assumes power to legislate that it was not granted in the Constitution, it usurps (or steals it) from its rightful depository, which are either the States or the People (see the 10th and the 9th Amendments).  Every party must always jealously guard its sphere of government; it’s bundle of rights.  States have their powers of government and people have their rights of self-government (ie, control over their own lives, thoughts, actions, and property). Again, if we look at the Sedition Act, the government under John Adams passed the law by attempting to steal the rights of free speech from the People.

Well, immediately, Jefferson and Madison got out their pens and drafted the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and of 1799 (Jefferson, for the Kentucky state legislature) and the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 (Madison, for the Virginia state legislature).  Both states passed them, declaring that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable in their states.  The Virginia Resolutions were especially forceful because they announced that the state of Virginia would take every step possible to prevent the enforcement of the laws on its people.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Jefferson wrote:

  1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1799, he wrote:

RESOLVED, That this commonwealth considers the federal union, upon the terms and for the purposes specified in the late compact, as conducive to the liberty and happiness of the several states: That it does now unequivocally declare its attachment to the Union, and to that compact, agreeable to its obvious and real intention, and will be among the last to seek its dissolution: That if those who administer the general government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by that compact, by a total disregard to the special delegations of power therein contained, annihilation of the state governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence: That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy……

In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison wrote:

RESOLVED……. That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.

Nullification is a founding principle. And it will continue to be such. Just because certain people claim it is not a legitimate principle and not a legitimate remedy does NOT make it so. They simply wish it weren’t the “rightful remedy.”

The Legal & Doctrinal Basis for Nullification

The doctrine of Nullification is extra-constitutional, which means since it is not addressed in the Constitution, it is a supreme fundamental principle; it supersedes the Constitution. Its basis is found in various laws and legal foundations:

  1. Federalism
  2. Basic legal theory
  3. The Tenth Amendment
  4. The Declaration of Independence
  5. The Constitution – and the Supremacy Clause (Article VI)
  6. Compact Theory
  7. Agency Theory
  8. The Kentucky Resolutions and the Virginia Resolutions

1.  Federalism. Federalism is simply the government structure that pits Sovereign against sovereign; rather, it divides power between the sovereign States and the sovereign federal government (each are sovereign in their respective spheres of authority). The government’s powers are expressly delegated in the US Constitution. All other areas of authority are reserved to the States. Federalist No, 45 goes into detail about the general character of this separation of sovereign power. The belief was that each sovereign would forever jealously guard its sphere of authority. Federalism is the last and most critical in our government’s system and series of Checks and Balances.

In Federalist No. 45, James Madison explained in clear terms the intended division of power:

     “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

     The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.”

2.  Basic Legal Theory: A body can only make laws where there is proper legal authority to make such laws.  If there is no legal authority, the law is null and void from the start.  This is Natural Law.  Governing power arises from somewhere.  The Declaration tells us that it derives from the Individual, endowed from God.  When individuals organize into societies, they delegate some of their power to a common government, for the benefit of all living in that society.

Laws are enforceable when they are passed by an authorized legislature and signed by an executive. (They must be vetted by the checks and balances system). Furthermore, the legislature must be vested with the proper jurisdiction (authority) to make the particular law (That is, it must be able to legislate in the particular area in the first place). Authority is granted by a constitution or other governing document, stating exactly what the governing body can do.

QUESTION:  Can the school system get permission from my neighbor to have my child treated by a doctor?  Can the state of Virginia make a law lowering the speed limit on NC highways?

I’m the mother of 4 children. I have the legal right to determine and direct the upbringing, education, and care of my children. When my son has a form sent home from school asking for permission to go on a trip that might expose him to harm, it is I who has the legal authority to give that permission.  Not the school, not the principal, not a neighbor. The reason I can give permission and the reason it is understood as valid is because I have the legal authority to make the decision on behalf of my son. If someone else gives permission or signs the form…  You know what happens.  The school would not honor it.  Legally, it cannot honor it.  [This is nullification.  Any act of a governing body or individual outside delegated authority is null from the start].

A policeman can’t make laws about who should be detained or arrested or have property seized. He can only execute and enforce laws that have been approved by the legislature – a law-making body, vested with law-making powers. If that policemen should try to make law, that law would be unenforceable on citizens.  [Again, this is nullification.  A law without a legal basis is void and unenforceable].

3.  The Tenth Amendment: The Tenth Amendment reads: 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.”

  • It expresses the principle of federalism, which strictly supports the entire plan of the original Constitution, by stating that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the United States Constitution. All remaining powers are reserved for the states or the people.
  • In insisting this amendment be added, the States intended it as a reaffirmation of the nature of the federal system of freedom

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE:   The Declaration of Independence reads, in the second paragraph:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Notice that the Declaration of Independence talks about Individual Liberty; Individual Rights….. Rights that are supreme over any government.  They transcend government. The Declaration explains why Men are free and the How they will remain free in America. Because government’s sole purpose is to this end. Governments are instituted for this goal.  You will notice that Individual Liberty is protected; it must be preserved.  The two highlighted sections emphasize that there is no right for government to be preserved. In fact, it should be altered and changed, as the people notice their liberties weakened.  Nullification is based on the notion that when government oversteps its powers, it necessarily usurps them from another rightful source. The Declaration talks about the necessity of government remaining subservient to the liberty of the people.

4.  The US Constitution: The US Constitution is one of limited and express powers transferred (temporarily) from the States to the federal government.

(i) The government is a “creature” of the States; it is meant to serve the States 

(ii) Its authorized powers are listed clearly in Article I thru Article III

(iii) Again, see Federalist No. 45 (James Madison) for the powers intended for the federal government and those that were to remain reserved to the States

(iv) The States, when they deem it necessary, can re-assume those powers. 

Constitutions are important because they set boundaries.  Reliable boundaries.  Most importantly, they set boundaries on government.  That’s what they are supposed to do.  Constitutions are critical because they protect certain rights and freedoms that people can take comfort and protection in.  Thomas Jefferson explained:  “The purpose of a written constitution is to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.”

You’ll notice that Jefferson defined or explained Nullification.  As mentioned earlier, Jefferson’s definition references basic legal theory.  Again, government needs a source of authority in order to make laws and enforce them.  If it doesn’t have authority, then the laws have no legitimate basis and are nullities. In this statement,

Jefferson was talking about a magical line —  a boundary.  The government must not transcend this boundary for to do so would be an infraction of the rights of the People (either to govern themselves or to be governed by their State which can address their issues and concerns most directly and favorably).  Jefferson was explaining that this is precisely what a constitution does – provides an exact boundary for government so that it remains at a fixed distance in peoples’ lives.

5.  The Supremacy Clause: Article VI Section 2 of the US Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause.  It reads: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

The key phrase, of course, is “which shall be made in pursuance thereof…”

The argument that the federal government can do anything it wants under the Supremacy Clause is a big pile of bullshit but it’s one of the biggest arguments of the anti-nullifiers.  But, by its very language, the Supremacy Clause supports Nullification. When the government acts outside the Constitution, its laws and actions are not supreme and therefore the States have the right not to recognize them.  Only laws made “in pursuance” of the US Constitution are to be considered supreme.

6.  Compact Theory: The Constitution implicates Compact Theory, or Social Compact Theory.  A Compact is an agreement among members to unite for a common goal. According to our Founding Fathers and Ratifying Conventions viewed the Constitution as a compact.  They viewed it as a deliberate and voluntary act by the States (the members) to create a government for their common good.  The government was to serve them.  The States, as a result, hold the higher authority.  As such, they – as the parties to the compact – have the right to say when the Constitution has been misinterpreted and/or exceeded

The government, as merely a “creature” and not a signer or member, has no authority to alter or change the meaning of any the terms of the compact

The meaning and intent of the Constitution comes from the understanding of the signing parties (States).  Consequently, the State Ratifying Conventions are most valuable.  (Supreme Court rarely cites them or the Federalist Papers)

Compacts have the character of a contract. They are considered contracts because of the manner in which they are created.  In the case of the Constitution, there was an offer (an offer to join together with fellow states for mutual benefit) and an option to accept or not.  The States accepted, in their conventions, after considerable debate and discussion.  The significance of each Convention is how that state understood the meaning and intent of the Constitution. In contract law, it is the understanding of the parties at the time of the making of the agreement that governs its meaning and execution. The Compact – the Constitution – enabled the states – in their sovereign capacity – to act jointly and collectively, each suffering a burden (a surrender of some of its sovereign power) in order to enjoy a benefit (regular commerce and collective safety and security). Burdens and benefits are a characteristic of contracts.  As you all know, the government is not a party to the compact, but merely a creature. As such, it has no independent power or right to alter any term of the compact. 

7.  Agency Theory: The Constitution also implicates Agency law or Agency theory. Under this view, the federal government is an agent – an agent of the States.  The law of agency, at its most basic level, recognizes that an agent can act only pursuant to the consent and control of the Principal (the Partners) to whom the agent owes a duty. It’s a fiduciary duty — one of particular stringency and loyalty. Just as partners in a business firm decide what authority to give their agent – such as the authority to enter into contracts on their behalf – so the parties to the Constitution – the States – decided the powers of the national government.  Actions outside the scope of the agency are not legal. And actions taken by the agent must SERVE the interests of the partners.

Taking these two areas of law together – Compact Theory and Agency Theory – we can see why Jefferson and Madison understood that each state, as a party to the compact and as a partner over the agent, has an equal right to judge for itself whether the government has overstepped its delegated powers.

8.  The Kentucky Resolves and the Virginia Resolves. These resolutions (written by Jefferson and Madison, respectively) specifically articulate the doctrines of Nullification and Interposition, as the terms were coined by these great men. – These remedies (actually, they should be used together to be most effective) are explained to be the “Rightful Remedies” against federal tyranny.

The terms Nullification and Interposition were articulated in 1798, following the enactment of the Alien and Sedition Acts during John Adams’ administration.  But the doctrines were nothing new.  Jefferson and Madison merely explained them best and explained how they should be used to limit government over-reach.  But prior to that time, the doctrine was something our Founders were very familiar with. First of all, we know this from the Philadelphia Convention.  Our Founders referred to the doctrine by using the term “negative.”  To nullify a piece of legislation was to veto it or “negate” it.   Furthermore, one only needs to read Federalist No. 78 to understand with complete clarity that any law passed by the government that is not pursuant to delegated powers is and should be considered null and void. 

On the fourth day of the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, Virginia’s Governor, Edmund Randolph presented the Virginia Plan, which was written by James Madison.  Randolph, a polished politician, seemed the better choice to sell the plan than tiny, meek, mild-mannered Madison.  Madison’s idea was to recreate or re-form the Union under an entirely different form of government – a republican model. As we all know, in a republic, the people are the ultimate power, and the people transfer that power to representatives, who must act within certain guidelines.  Yes, the plan was to form an entirely different form of government and not merely to amend the Articles of Confederation.  Madison believed that the Confederation was giving too much emphasis to state sovereignty and not enough to the national objectives that were deemed necessary enough to establish the national body, the Confederation Congress, in the first place.  For example, the states were under no obligation to pay their fair share of the national budget and they regularly failed to send funds; they violated international treaties, they violated each other’s rights, and in general, they ignored the authority of the Congress. And so, Madison originally (because he was a Nationalist at the time – and not a Federalist) sought to establish a dominant national government, while curbing the power of the states. To that end, his Virginia Plan included these main features: 

  • A bicameral legislature (two houses) – with membership for each to be determined proportionally
  • The lower house would be elected by the people
  • The upper house would be elected by the lower house
  • The legislature would be very powerful
  • There would be an executive, and his position would be enforcement of the laws only. He was to ensure the will of the legislative branch.  And in fact, he would be chosen by the legislature.  
  • There would be a judiciary, with justices allowed to serve for life
  • The judiciary would have the power to veto legislation, but it would not have the power to be the final voice. It would be subject to an over-ride.
  • And finally, the Virginia Plan provided that the federal government would have a NEGATIVE over any act of the states that interferes with the design of the federal Congress.  As Madison’s plan provided: “whenever the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by any law by an individual state legislature such that the law contravenes the opinion of the federal legislature, the federal legislature has the power to negative that state law.”   A “negative” is a nullification — negating that law or declaring it to be null and void. 

There were some delegates at the Convention who responded it was the states who should have the power to negate the acts of the federal legislature and not vice versa. 

So you see that the doctrine, as applied to government, was something very familiar to our Founders.  In other words, it is a founding principle of government.

As we should all know, the purpose of the Federalist Papers, written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, was to explain the Constitution – to guarantee its meaning – to the States so that they could make an informed decision in their Conventions.  Anti-Federalist sentiment was strong at the time and the states were distrustful of the Constitution drafted in Philadelphia. As the author of Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The authority which can declare the acts of another void, must necessarily be superior to the one whose acts may be declared void.  As this doctrine is of great importance in all the American constitutions, the foundation on which it rests should be discussed……   

There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority which is contrary to the terms of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

So, the concept/doctrine of nullification is nothing new.  Thanks to Jefferson, we simply have a much cooler name, “Nullification.” 

The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions are very important not only for the articulation of Nullification and Interpositions as the rightful remedies to invalidate unconstitutional federal laws, program, policies, executive orders, etc. They also are important because they highlight something very important; they highlight the grave flaw in the Constitution of 1787. The Constitution does not explicitly provide an umpire to settle disputes between the states and the central government. If the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of the Constitution, as Chief Justice John Marshall proclaimed in Marbury v. Madison (1803), and then again, by a unanimous Court (Warren Court), in Cooper v. Aaron (1958), then the caprice of the national government and not the Constitution would determine the supreme law of the land. Clearly, and we have seen it, if the national government is the judge of its own powers, it will construe them broadly and dispose of any hopes for limited government. 

This was Jefferson’s worse fear. This is why he wanted so badly to put an effective check in place.  He wanted to put measures in place and have them used effectively so that going forward the States would know what to do.  And the government, understanding what the States would do, would think twice before daring to assume powers not delegated.

It was Jefferson and Madison’s position that, pursuant to the compact nature of the Constitution, in the absence of a delegated umpire, the parties to the compact are the ultimate arbiters of the Constitution. Perhaps a constitutional amendment is needed to end the controversy once and for all.  In Cooper v. Aaron, the Supreme Court announced that states have no right to nullify acts of the federal government that they do not agree with. It held that states have no independent authority to judge the constitutionality of decisions by the high Court (because the Court is the ultimate interpreter), they are bound by the Court’s decisions, and they must enforce them even if they disagree with them.   This decision exemplifies why the Supreme Court is incapable of faithfully interpreting the Constitution, according to its plain meaning and intent.

Remember that Jefferson and Madison contemplated a remedy to federal over-reach in 1798 and wrote their series of resolutions in that same year. Jefferson, in particular, was already leery of the federal courts and the Supreme Court in particular and it hadn’t even decided Marbury v. Madison yet.  (1803). In that case, the Supreme Court assumed broad powers for itself with judicial review and the ultimate voice on the meaning of the Constitution. With that decision, the federal monopoly on government power was complete.

The sad thing is that Jefferson went to his grave under the conviction that the three ruling branches of the national government were acting in combination to strip their colleagues, the States, of all powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic.  He wrote this in a letter six months before he died.  Furthermore, Jefferson never supported states’ rights for their own sake. He supported states’ rights for the primary reason “to safeguard the freedom of individuals,” which he understood would, without a doubt, suffer in a consolidated nation. 

And that’s why, in drafting the Kentucky Resolves, Jefferson identified the states as the proper entities of resistance. And that’s why his friend James Madison drafted the Virginia Resolves as he did.

You know, we talk about how much we love and cherish our Constitution.  How brilliant we believe it to be written and intentioned. We are passionate and rise up to defend it….. good and decent men and women – Americans who care deeply about their country and their republic. Ye there were no men more protective of the Constitution and what it stood for than James Madison (its primary author) and Thomas Jefferson – who wrote the principles upon which it was crafted.  That’s why I look to these men for advice.

I have written that Nullification is a doctrine whose time perhaps hasn’t come.  I think it finally has.

William Watkins Jr., a lawyer, wrote: “For true change to take place, Americans must once again conceive of their history as a struggle to create and maintain real freedom. Part of that reconceptualization would entail making a place for the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions in the pantheon of American charters. The resolutions articulate the fundamental principles of our government in an eloquent yet logical manner; in their import, they rank second only to the Constitution. For Americans who would recreate a limited federal government of enumerated powers — the government created by the Founders — the resolutions can serve as an enduring inspiration.”

We shouldn’t forget —  we can’t forget — that the ultimate goal of the Nullification doctrine – is to PREVENT the enforcement of unconstitutional, oppressive laws on citizens.  To PREVENT the government of usurping powers from those who they rightfully belong to —–   You and me and from the States. 

So, if you believe in what I just said and you believe that you have a God-given right to your liberty and that it MUST be protected, then I hope you will believe that Nullification is the Rightful Remedy to restore government to its constitutional boundaries.

References:

Boston Legal, “Trick or Treat” (Episode 51, Season 3)–  http://boston-legal.org/episodes-season3.shtml

Transcript: http://www.boston legal.org/script/BL03x07.pdf

Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958)

“Secession,” North Carolina History Project.  http://www.northcarolinahistory.org/commentary/52/entry

“Secession Acts of the Thirteen States of the Confederacy.”  http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/secessionacts.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Telegram Exchange Between NC Governor John Ellis and US Secretary of War Simon Cameron.  http://blogs.lib.unc.edu/civilwar/index.php/2011/04/15/15-april-1861-telegram-exchange-between-n-c-governor-john-ellis-and-u-s-secretary-of-war-simon-cameron/

“Constitutionally Sound: Nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act,” Tenth Amendment Center, May 20, 2014.  Referenced at:  http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2014/05/20/constitutionally-sound-nullification-of-the-fugitive-slave-act/

“Nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act,” Campaign for Liberty.  Referenced at:  http://www.campaignforliberty.org/nullifying-the-fugitive-slave-act

Ableman v. Booth and United States v. Booth.  http://law.jrank.org/pages/25237/Ableman-v-Booth-United-States-v-Booth-Joshua-Glover-Saved-from-Slave-Catchers.html

Thomas E. Eddlem, “Ableman v. Booth: How State Nullification Can Resist Tyrannical Government,” New American, May 10, 2013.  Referenced at:  http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/history/item/15355-ableman-v-booth-how-state-nullification-can-defy-tyrannical-government

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions –  http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h466.html

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Supreme Court Rules & Blocks OSHA’s Vaccine Mandate for Businesses

a review by Diane Rufino, January 13, 2022

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES v. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, OSHA

FACTS of the CASE

The Secretary of Labor, acting through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), enacted a vaccine mandate on November 5, 2021 for much of the Nation’s work force. The mandate, which employers must enforce, applies to roughly 84 million workers, covering virtually all employers with at least 100 employees. It requires that covered workers receive a COVID–19 vaccine, and it pre-empts contrary state laws. The only exception is for workers who obtain a medical test each week at their own expense and on their own time, and also wear a mask each workday. OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here. Many States, businesses, and nonprofit organizations challenged OSHA’s rule in Courts of Appeals across the country. The Fifth Circuit initially entered a stay. But when the cases were consolidated before the Sixth Circuit, that court lifted the stay and allowed OSHA’s rule to take effect. Applicants (Petitioners) now seek emergency relief from this Court, arguing that OSHA’s mandate exceeds its statutory authority and is otherwise unlawful. Agreeing that applicants are likely to prevail, the Supreme Court grants their applications and stay the rule.

Background

Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. [84 Stat. 1590, 29 U.S.C. §651] The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the  Department of Labor and under the supervision of its Secretary. As its name suggests, OSHA is tasked with ensuring occupational safety – that is, “safe and healthful working conditions.” §651(b).  It does so by enforcing occupational safety and health standards promulgated by the Secretary.  §655(b). Such standards must be “reasonably necessary or appropriate to provide safe or healthful  employment.” §652(8) They must also be developed using a rigorous process that includes notice, comment, and an opportunity for a public hearing.  §655(b). The Act contains an exception to those ordinary notice- and-comment procedures for “emergency temporary standards.” §655(c)(1). Such standards may “take immediate effect upon publication in the Federal Register.” They are permissible, however, only in the narrowest of circumstances: the Secretary must show (1) “that employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful or from new hazards,” and (2) that the “emergency standard is necessary to protect employees from such danger.” Prior to the emergence of COVID–19, the Secretary had used this power just nine times before (and never to issue a rule as broad as this one). Of those nine emergency rules, six were challenged in court, and only one of those was upheld in full. See BST Holdings, LLC v. OSHA.

On September 9, 2021, President Biden announced “a new plan to require more Americans to be vaccinated.” As part of that plan, the President said that the Department of Labor would issue an emergency rule requiring all employers with at least 100 employees “to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.” The purpose of the rule was to increase vaccination rates at “businesses all across America.” In tandem with other planned regulations, the administration’s goal was to impose “vaccine requirements” on “about 100 million Americans, two-thirds of  all workers.” After a 2-month delay, the Secretary of Labor issued the promised emergency standard. [See 86 Fed. Reg. 61402 (2021)]. Consistent with President Biden’s announcement, the rule applies to all who work for employers with 100 or more employees. There are narrow exemptions for employees who work remotely “100 percent of the time” or who “work exclusively outdoors,” but those exemptions are largely illusory. In arbitrary and irrational fashion, the Secretary has estimated, for example, that only nine percent of landscapers and groundskeepers qualify as working exclusively outside. The regulation otherwise operates as a blunt instrument. It draws no distinctions based on industry or risk of exposure to COVID–19. Thus, most lifeguards and linemen face the same regulations as do medics and meatpackers. OSHA estimates that 84.2 million employees are subject to its mandate. Covered employers must “develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID–19 vaccination policy.” The employer must verify the vaccination status of each employee and maintain proof of it. (COVID vaccine certifications). The mandate does contain an “exception” for employers that  require unvaccinated workers to “undergo [weekly] COVID19 testing and wear a face covering at work in lieu of vaccination.” But employers are not required to offer this option, and the emergency regulation purports to pre-empt state laws to the contrary. Unvaccinated employees who do not comply with OSHA’s rule must be “removed from the workplace.” And employers who commit violations face hefty fines: up to $13,653 for a standard violation, and up to $136,532 for a willful one. OSHA published its vaccine mandate on November 5, 2021. Scores of parties, including States, businesses, trade groups, and nonprofit organizations, filed petitions for review, with at least one petition arriving in each regional Court of Appeals. The cases were consolidated in the Sixth Circuit, which was selected at random pursuant to federal law [28 U.S.C. §2112(a)].

With the passage of Federal Statute 29 U.S.C. § 655(c)(1), Congress authorized OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Agency) to issue “emergency” regulations upon determining that “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful” and “that such emergency standards are necessary to protect employees from such dangers.” According to the agency, this provision supplies it with “almost unlimited discretion” to mandate new nationwide rules in response to the pandemic so long as those rules are “reasonably related” to workplace safety.

At issue in this case is the claim that the Secretary lacked authority to impose the mandate.  Administrative agencies are creatures of statute. They accordingly possess only the authority that Congress has provided. The Secretary has ordered 84 million Americans to either obtain a COVID–19 vaccine or undergo weekly medical testing at their own expense. It is instead a significant encroachment into the lives, and health, of vast number of employees. As petitioners asserted: “We expect Congress to speak clearly when authorizing an agency to exercise powers of vast economic and political significance.” The Supreme Court agreed that there is little doubt that OSHA’s mandate qualifies as an exercise of such authority. The question, then, is whether the Act plainly authorizes the Secretary’s mandate. 

The Supreme Court concluded that it does not. The Act empowers the Secretary to set workplace safety standards, not broad public health measures. [See 29 U.S.C. §655(b), directing the Secretary to set “occupational safety and health standards” and §655(c)(1), authorizing the Secretary to impose emergency temporary standards necessary to protect “employees” from grave danger in the workplace]. Confirming the point, the Act’s provisions typically speak to hazards that employees face at work. And no provision of the Act addresses public health more generally, which falls outside of OSHA’s sphere of expertise.

DECISION – written by Justices Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito

The opinion opened with a review of the Supreme Court’s precedents. For one: There is no question that state and local authorities possess considerable power to regulate public health. They enjoy the “general power of governing,” including all sovereign powers envisioned by the Constitution and not specifically vested in the federal government. [See the Tenth Amendment and the case National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, aka, the “Obamacare” case, 2012]. And in fact, States have pursued a variety of measures in response to the current pandemic. Second: the federal government’s powers, however, are not general but limited and divided. [See the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland, (1819). Not only must the federal government properly invoke a constitutionally enumerated source of authority to regulate in this area or any other. It must also act consistently with the Constitution’s separation of powers. And when it comes to that obligation, this Court has established at least one firm rule: “We expect Congress to speak clearly” if it wishes to assign to an executive agency decisions “of vast economic and political significance.”

OSHA’s mandate fails that doctrine’s test. The agency claims the power to force 84 million Americans to receive a vaccine or undergo regular testing. By any measure, that is a claim of power to resolve a question of vast national significance. Yet Congress has nowhere clearly assigned so much power to OSHA. Approximately two years have passed since this pandemic began and vaccines have been available for more than a year (with decreasing effectiveness).

How has OSHA replied?  It points to provision 29 U.S.C. § 655(c)(1), in which Congress authorized OSHA to issue “emergency” regulations upon determining that “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful” and “that such emergency standards are necessary to protect employees from such dangers.” According to OSHA, this provision authorizes it with “almost unlimited discretion” to mandate new nationwide rules in response to the pandemic so long as those rules are “reasonably related” to workplace safety.

The Court rightly applies the “Major Questions” doctrine, which says that states some issues are of such exceptional political and economic consequence that the courts will presume Congress did not intend to delegate the issue to agencies unless the statute is clear. In such cases, explicit, rather than implicit, delegation is necessary. The Court concluded that this lone statutory subsection does not clearly authorize OSHA with discretion to issue nationwide mandates related to workplace safety. Specifically for this case, it does not authorize the agency’s vaccine mandate.

Why does the “Major Questions” doctrine matter?  It ensures that the national government’s power to make the laws that govern us remains where Article I of the Constitution says it belongs—with the people’s elected representatives. If administrative agencies seek to regulate the daily lives and liberties of millions of Americans, the doctrine says, they must at least be able to trace that power to a clear grant of authority from Congress. In this respect, the Major Questions doctrine is closely related to what is sometimes called the “Nondelegation” doctrine. Indeed, for decades courts have cited the nondelegation doctrine as a reason to apply the Major Questions doctrine. Both doctrines are designed to protect the separation of powers and ensure that any new laws governing the lives of Americans are subject to the robust democratic processes the Constitution demands. Whichever doctrine is applied, the point is the same because both serve to prevent “government by bureaucracy supplanting government by the people.” (quote taken from late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia). And both hold their lessons for this case.

The question before the Supreme Court in this case was not how to respond to the pandemic, but who holds the power to do so. As Justice Gorsuch concluded: “The answer is clear: Under the law as it stands today, that power rests with the States and Congress, not with OSHA. In saying this, we do not impugn the intentions behind the agency’s mandate. Instead, we only discharge our duty to enforce the law’s demands when it comes to the question who may govern the lives of 84 million  Americans. Respecting those demands may be trying in times of stress. But if this Court were to abide them only in more tranquil conditions, declarations of emergencies would never end and the liberties our Constitution’s separation of powers seeks to preserve would amount to little.”

Supreme Court opinion link:  chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html?pdfurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.supremecourt.gov%2Fopinions%2F21pdf%2F21a244_hgci.pdf&clen=173604&chunk=true

As expected, President Biden is very disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling on his administration’s vaccine policy. At a White House press conference today, he audaciously announced his administration’s stance: “It is now up to States and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated.”

In other words, he is urging businesses to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling. Hmmm, could this be treason? Could this be an impeachable offense? Imagine if President Dwight Eisenhower urged all schools in America to ignore the Brown v. Board of Education ruling? Imagine if President Richard Nixon tried to coerce abortion clinics across the country not to perform abortions?

Here is my question: If the government can publicly urge businesses and institutions to ignore a ruling of the Supreme Court, then wouldn’t it be just as fair for States to tell their people, as well as local businesses and institutions, to ignore Court rulings that they don’t agree with?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Senator Dianne Feinstein Insults All U.S. Veterans

The LA Times printed the following piece after Senator Dianne Feinstein, desperate to save her gun control measure, said on the Senate floor “All vets are mentally ill in some way or another and the government should prevent them from owning firearms.” In other words, she insulted all U.S. veterans.

“Frankly, I don’t know what it is about California, but we seem to have a strange urge to elect really obnoxious women to high office. I’m not bragging, you understand, but no other state, including Maine, even comes close. When it comes to sending left-wing dingbats to Washington, we’re Number One. There’s no getting around the fact that the last time anyone say the likes of Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters, Kamala Harris, and Nancy Pelosi, they were stirring a cauldron when the curtain went up on “MacBeth.” The five of them are like jackasses who happen to possess the gift of blab. You don’t know if you should condemn them for their stupidity or simply marvel at their ability to form words.” — Columnist Burt Prelutsky

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Ensuring Election Integrity Anti-Democratic? (an article from Hillsdale College)

by John R. Lott, Jr., IMPRIMIS, a publication of Hillsdale College, October 2021 [“Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College”]

Sixteen years ago, in 2005, the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform issued a report that proposed a uniform system of requiring a photo ID in order to vote in U.S. elections. The report also pointed out that widespread absentee voting makes voter fraud more likely. Voter files contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, and deceased voters, a fact easily exploited using absentee ballots to commit fraud. Citizens who vote absentee are more susceptible to pressure and intimidation. And vote-buying schemes are far easier when citizens vote by mail.

Who was behind the Carter-Baker Commission? Donald Trump? No. The Commission’s two ranking members were former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State, James Baker III, a Republican. Other Democrats on the Commission were former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton. It was truly a bipartisan commission that made what seemed at the time to be common-sense proposals.

How things have changed. How times have changed. Some of the Commission’s members, Jimmy Carter among them, came out last year to disavow the Commission’s work. And despite surveys showing that Americans overwhelmingly support measures to ensure election integrity – a recent Rasmussen survey found that 80% of Americans support a voter ID requirement – Democratic leaders across the board sternly oppose such measures.

President Biden, for example, speaking recently in Philadelphia, condemned the idea of a voter ID requirement. “There is an unfolding assault taking place in America today… an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections.” He went on to suggest that requiring a photo voter ID would mean returning people to slavery.

But the fact is that the United States is an outlier among the world’s democracies in NOT requiring a photo voter ID. Of the 47 countries Europe today, 46 of them currently require government-issued photo ID’s to vote. The odd man out is the United Kingdom, in which Northern Ireland and many localities require voter IDs, but the requirement is not nationwide. The British Parliament, however, is considering a nationwide requirement, so very soon all 47 European countries will likely have adopted this common sense policy.

When it comes to absentee voting, we Americans, accustomed as we are to very loose rules, are often shocked to learn that 35 of the 47 European countries – including France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden – don’t allow absentee voting for citizens living in the particular country. Another ten European countries – including England, Ireland, Denmark, Portugal, and Spain – allow absentee voting, but require voters to show up in person and present a photo ID to pick up their ballots. It isn’t like in the United States where a person can say he is going to be out of town and have a ballot mailed to him.

England used to have absentee voting rules similar to ours in the U.S, but in 2004, in the city of Birmingham (England), officials uncovered a massive vote fraud scheme in the city council races. The six winning Labor candidates had fraudulently acquired about 40,000 absentee votes, mainly from Muslim areas of the city. As a result, England ended the practice of mailing out absentee ballots and required voters to pick up their ballots in person with a photo ID.

Up until 1975, France also had loose absentee voting rules. But when massive voter fraud was discovered on the island of Corsica, where hundreds of thousands of dead people were found voting and even larger-scale vote-buying operations were occurring, France banned absentee voting altogether.

On the topic of buying votes, I should point out that we in the United States did not always have secret ballots. It wasn’t until 1880 that the first state adopted the secret ballot, and the last state to adopt it was South Carolina in 1950. Perhaps surprisingly, when secret ballots were adopted, the percentage of people voting fell by about 12%. Why was that? Prior to the adoption of the secret ballot, lots of people would get paid for voting. In those days, people voted by placing pieces of colored paper in the ballot box, with different colors representing different parties. Party officials would be present to observe what color paper each voter put into the box, and depending on the color, the voter would often get paid. Secret ballots put an end to this unethical practice.

France learned in 1975 that the use of absentee ballots led to the same practice; it allowed third parties to know how people voted and pay them for voting a certain way. This same problem is now proliferating in the U.S. in the form of “ballot harvesting,” the increasingly common practice where party functionaries distribute and collect ballots.

Defenders of our current voting rules point out that in lieu of absentee voting, some European countries allow “proxy voting,” whereby one person can designate another to vote for him or her. And while it is true that 8 of the 47 European countries allow proxy voting (meaning that 39 do not), there are strict requirements. In 5 of the 8 countries – Belgium, England, Monaco, Poland, and Sweden – proxy voting is limited to those with a disability or an illness or who are out of the country. In Poland, it also requires the approval of the local mayor and in Monaco, the approval of the general secretariat. In France and the Netherlands, proxy voting has to be arranged through a notary public. Switzerland is the only country in Europe with a relative liberal proxy voting policy, requiring only a signature match.

How about our neighbors, Canada and Mexico? Canada requires a photo ID to vote. If a voter shows up at the polls without an ID, he is allowed to vote only if he declares who he is in writing and if there is someone working at the polling station who can personally verify his or her identity.

Mexico has had a long history of election fraud. Partly because its leaders were concerned about a drop in foreign investment if it wasn’t perceived to be a legitimate democracy, Mexico recently instituted strict election reforms.  Voters must present a biometric ID – an ID with not only a photo, but also a thumb print. Voters also have indelible ink applied to their thumbs, preventing them from voting more than once. And absentee voting is prohibited, even for people living outside the country.

Those who oppose election integrity reforms here in the U.S. often condemn it as a means of “voter suppression.” But in Mexico, the percentage of people voting rose from 59% before the reforms to 68% after. It turned out that Mexicans were more, not less, likely to vote when they had confidence that their votes mattered.

In light of the requirements to vote in other countries, how is it that Democrats can honestly claim that requiring a photo ID to vote amounts to a burden on the right to vote, an “attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote,” and would signal a “return to slavery”?

Schemingly, Democratic Party leaders have been pushing this year to adopt  H.R.1, a radical bill that would prohibit states from requiring voter ID and require states to allow permanent mail-in voting. Mail-in voting, I hardly need to point out, is even worse, in terms of voter fraud, than absentee voting. With absentee voting, a person at least has to request a ballot. With mail-in voting, as we saw in too many precincts in the 2020 election, ballots are simply mailed to everyone. One person can request a mail-in ballot be mailed to others. A political party can request that mail-in ballots be mailed out. With loose absentee voting rules, a country is making itself vulnerable to voter fraud. With mail-in voting, a country is almost begging for voter fraud.

If the rhetoric we hear from the Left today is correct, if voter ID requirements and restrictions on absentee (or even mail-in) voting are un-democratic, then so are the countries of Europe, Canada, and especially Mexico, as well as the rest of the developed world.

Those opposing common-sense measures and reforms to ensure integrity in U.S. elections, measures such as those recommended by the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission in 2005, are not motivated by a concern for democracy, but by partisan interests.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment