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BlueCarp

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Neither tort reform nor the “War on Drugs” trump the Tenth Amendment

It is de rigueur for some politicians to declare themselves believers in constitutionally limited government.

It seems this belief is limited, all too often, when the principles of constitutionally limited government conflict with something they believe to be a “great idea.”  Apparently “great ideas” trump the constitution. 
Many Republicans are proponents of tort reform. They believe frivolous lawsuits drive up the cost of doing business and that capping damages in civil lawsuits is a great idea.
There is such a bill pending in Congress. It would

“…put a three-year statute of limitations on medical lawsuits, cap non-economic damages at $250,000, and limit punitive damages to $250,000 or twice the economic damages, whichever is greater. It would apply to lawsuits in federal and state courts…”

Apparently this is such a great idea it trumps the Constitution. 
Nowhere among the enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8 is Congress given the authority to tell states how to run their civil justice systems. To argue that the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to do so is a purely progressive notion. It is a repudiation of the Tenth Amendment. It is  repudiation of a constitutionally limited government. 
Yet it is Republicans, the party that proclaims itself the “limited government” party, that is behind this bill.
Those Republicans in favor of this bill believe tort reform trumps the Constitution.
They either do not understand what they are doing or they have very malleable principles.
Likewise, any congressperson proclaiming to be a believer in the Tenth Amendment should be working to defund the DEA’s effort to crack down on medical marijuana providers in states that have legalized the plant for such use.  To the extent marijuana is planted, cultivated, harvested, sold and consumed entirely within a state, one cannot be consistent and support both the DEA enforcement of these federal laws and the Tenth Amendment. The federal government has zero legitimate authority to enforce federal laws against such medical marijuana. (Yes, I know the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled to the contrary. However, the Supreme Court can declare the sun is the moon, but it does not make it so.)
The current conflict between the DEA and state law presents an excellent opportunity for states to assert their sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. Colorado, for example, should tell the federal government that enforcement of federal marijuana laws in Colorado is ultra vires and msut be stopped. If the feds persist, the federal agents acting unconstitutionally should be arrested by local or state law enforcement. 
Of course, such action in Colorado would require not only a principled belief in the Constitution, it requires balls. Sadly, both are entirely lacking among state officials.

This presents an excellent opportunity for those that believe in the United States Constitution: a chance to actually enforce it.

The Federal regulation of a plant grown in this state, harvested in this state, sold in this state and consumed in the state is a farce. None of the enumerated powers of Article, Section 8 gives the feds the authority to regulate this activity. Using the interstate commerce clause as a justification is nonsense, yet we countenance it because the US Supreme Court said we should. What sheep we are. The feds can not make the moon the sun by declaring it so. It is time we assert our sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment and stop the fed's unconstitutional usurpation of state power.

How many "conservative" Republicans would be willing to enforce the Tenth Amendment when the issue is marijuana? On the other hand, how many "progressive' Democrats want the feds to butt out of this issue, but want them involved in health care?

It is hypocrisy to pick and choose when the Constitution should be applied on a case-by-case basis depending on the issue. The enumerated powers and the Tenth Amendment always apply, even when you don't want them to.

Medical Marijuana and the Tenth Amendment

The Colorado Independent has an article (that I found thanks to Complete Colorado) on Obama’s Department of Justice potentially cracking down on the medical marijuana industry in states that have legalized it. (See “DOJ smack down of medical continues, raising questions in Colorado.“)
This presents an excellent opportunity for those that believe in the United States Constitution: a chance to actually enforce it.
The Federal regulation of a plant grown in this state, harvested in this state, sold in this state and consumed in the state is a farce. None of the enumerated powers of Article, Section 8 gives the feds the authority to regulate this activity. Using the interstate commerce clause as a justification is nonsense, yet we countenance it because the US Supreme Court said we should. What sheep we are. The feds can not make the moon the sun by declaring it so. It is time we assert our sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment and stop the fed’s unconstitutional usurpation of state power.
How many “conservative” Republicans would be willing to enforce the Tenth Amendment when the issue is marijuana? On the other hand, how many “progressive’ Democrats want the feds to butt out of this issue, but want them involved in health care?
It is hypocrisy to pick and choose when the Constitution should be applied on a case-by-case basis depending on the issue. The enumerated powers and the Tenth Amendment always apply, even when you don’t want them to.

It is time for the States to simply hold the federal government to its legitimate powers as enumerated in the Constitution. When the feds overstep those limits, they must be told "no, you can not impose your unfettered will upon us. We will not recognize your usurped power. The Tenth Amendment means what it says."

This is not as radical as it sounds. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed in the concept and wrote about it in regards to the Alien & Sedition Acts. The acts were clear violations of the First Amendment, and Jefferson and Madison did not care that the federal legislature said otherwise. They declared the Acts void. Kentucky and Virginia both passed resolutions to that effect in 1798.

Likewise, Wisconsin refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Even right now, many states have refused to enforce the Real ID Act. Several states have declared that any federal firearm legislation is void within their boundaries as they apply to firearms made within that state - because there is no interstate commerce that applies.

If we continue, as a state, to lay down for the federal usurpation of power, we will continue to get rolled over. And that is unAmerican.



Time to enforce the Tenth Amendment

Trust Obama? – Reason Magazine

As explained in the Reason Magazine story linked above, President Obama has not even made a cursory attempt to abide by either the Constitution or the War Powers Act in his decision to bomb Libya.
Likewise, neither Obama nor the last Congress gave any deference to the Constitutional limitations of Article I, Section 8 – or the Tenth Amendment – when Obamacare was passed.
The Constitution is being ignored by the federal government.
It matters not that the Supreme Court has declared that the interstate Commerce Clause applies to matters that are neither interstate nor commerce (See Wickard v. Filburn). If the Supreme Court said that the moon were actually the sun, it would not make it so.
What are we, mere subjects, to do? One option is to insist that state legislators start standing up for our Tenth Amendment rights. Colorado needs to tell the feds “Hell, no! Just because you, the legislature and executive branch of the federal government, tell us to do something, and then you, the court system of the federal government reinforce your original usurpation of power, does not make the usurpation legitimate.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has failed in its duty to be a check on the executive and legislative branches. This should be of no real surprise. It is akin to asking the third of three brothers if what the first two did was legitimate. Likewise, asking the federal courts to call fouls on the executive and legislative branch is akin to asking the Lakers guards to call the fouls committed by the Lakers forwards. Don’t be surprised when the fouls aren’t called fouls.
It is time for the States to simply hold the federal government to its legitimate powers as enumerated in the Constitution. When the feds overstep those limits, they must be told “no, you can not impose your unfettered will upon us. We will not recognize your usurped power. The Tenth Amendment means what it says.”
This is not as radical as it sounds. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed in the concept and wrote about it in regards to the Alien & Sedition Acts. The acts were clear violations of the First Amendment, and Jefferson and Madison did not care that the federal legislature said otherwise. They declared the Acts void. Kentucky and Virginia both passed resolutions to that effect in 1798.
Likewise, Wisconsin refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Even right now, many states have refused to enforce the Real ID Act. Several states have declared that any federal firearm legislation is void within their boundaries as they apply to firearms made within that state – because there is no interstate commerce that applies.
If we continue, as a state, to lay down for the federal usurpation of power, we will continue to get rolled over. And that is unAmerican.