10th Amendment

Judge Walker Ignores People, Logic, Constitution To Advance Progressive Agenda In Prop 8 Decision

Wednesday, in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, federal Judge Vaughn Walker declared California's Marriage Amendment ("Proposition 8") unconstitutional, ruling that the state must allow same-sex marriage (see opinion, here). But, apparently, Judge Walker saw  "marriage" in the U.S Constitution, even though it is nowhere to be found there, which most people understand to mean that it is an issue for each state to decide (i.e., the 10th Amendment). However, there is a stay on the ruling through today, so that opponents of the decision can appeal it to a higher court and ask for a stay until that appeal is ruled upon.  This deplorable decision has the potential to gut the definition of marriage as well as the integrity of the democratic process — a single, unelected federal judge, undoing the votes of more than seven million Californians who voted for this state constitutional amendment in 2008. That November, when California voters chose Barack Obama for president (who has stated he believes marriage is between one man and one woman, see interview with Jake Tapper of ABC News), they also passed Proposition 8 (52 to 48 percent) declaring marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Sadly, when special interest groups fail to win either in the legislature or on the ballot, they turn to the courts to overturn the will of the people. This is precisely what happened in California. In fact, according to Dan McLaughlin at RedState.com (please read for a detailed analysis of Judge Walker's flawed "reasoning"), even in a bad year for conservatives: 

49 percent of white voters, 58 percent of black voters, 59 percent of Latino voters, 49 percent of women, 54 percent of men, 53 percent of independents and 67 percent of voters over age 65 voted in favor Proposition 8.

Can't get more diverse than that. Ironic, huh?

An accurately defined democratic process should not allow for a handful of activists to overturn what a majority has conclusively and legally decided. Fortunately, yesterday's opinion is far from final. Pro-family advocates have immediate plans to appeal the ruling to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. There is a good chance that the case eventually will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

In his opinion, Judge Walker singularly waived off as irrelevant any "moral and religious views [that] form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples." Some have called into question Judge Walker's impartiality, as he is openly homosexual. Adding to the skepticism, Judge Walker will rule on today's request to place a stay on his own ruling.

In Virginia, the homosexual lobby has lost time and time again, both on the ballot and in the General Assembly. While this activist judge is redefining the centuries-old meaning of marriage, the people of Virginia have stated very plainly that they don't want anything like that to happen here.

Counterfeit forms of marriage cheapen and undermine real marriage. The union of a man and a woman in a committed marriage is the foundation of a stable society. Social science is clear that men, women and children benefit far more in a stable, traditional family. That makes traditional marriage and family far too important to society to experiment with to advance a political agenda. Especially when it's done by one man against the will of seven million people.

The Framers Had Doctors, Too: Judge Andrew Napolitano Explains The Commerce Clause

The Congress shall have the Power To . . . regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian tribes. ...

Article I, Section 8, United States Constitution: "The Commerce Clause" 

Many in Congress admit they don't know where in the U.S. Constitution (the document they swear to uphold) it says Congress has the power to takeover health care or interfere in any aspect of the economy. Others, ignorantly, say it's in the Commerce Clause. Still others know they don't have the authority, but live a lie in order to consolidate power in government, rather than the people, to further their statist aims (See U.S. Rep. Phil Hare). A very few, unfortunately, know that the power is nowhere to be found in the document.

Above is the Commerce Clause verbatim. It clearly means that the federal government's only role is to ensure the equal treatment of commerce across borders, whether with other countries, native tribes or "among the several States." That's right! States! Notice the equal footing the Framers gave states with "foreign Nations" — both are capitalized. The Framers did not want New Jersey, for example, taxing goods coming into it from New York differently than it did goods coming into it from Virginia. Similarly, New Jersey and Virginia couldn't impose different tariffs on goods from England; the central government would referee that and put a uniform tariff on imports coming into the country at any port.

The Commerce Clause, then, had nothing to do with individuals conducting their own transactions, much less conducting the personal business of seeking treatment or medical advice. It means just what it says. Pretty simple.

Clarifying it further is former Judge Andrew Napolitano, seen on the Fox News Channel as its senior judicial analyst and heard on his own Fox News Radio program. Here is a telling excerpt from a piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal last September:

I asked South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, where in the Constitution it authorizes the federal government to regulate the delivery of health care. He replied: "There's nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do."   

Rep. Clyburn, like many of his colleagues, seems to have conveniently forgotten that the federal government has only specific enumerated powers. He also seems to have overlooked the Ninth and 10th Amendments, which limit Congress's powers only to those granted in the Constitution. 

One of those powers — the power "to regulate" interstate commerce — is the favorite hook on which Congress hangs its hat in order to justify the regulation of anything it wants to control. ...

James Madison, who argued that to regulate meant to keep regular, would have shuddered at such circular reasoning. Madison's understanding was the commonly held one in 1789, since the principle reason for the Constitutional Convention was to establish a central government that would prevent ruinous state-imposed tariffs that favored in-state businesses. It would do so by assuring that commerce between the states was kept "regular."

In the video below, Judge Napolitano, the youngest Superior Court Judge in New Jersey history, expounds on the original intent of James Madison and the Framers as well as the evils of an all-powerful, big-government. (The Framers had doctors, too, and saw no need to mention "health care" in the Constitution!) Look no further than what the 18th century definition of "regulate" meant to know today's government is out of control. The article, linked above, and the video, are well worth the big education you will get for such a short expenditure of your time.

Judge Andrew Napolitano: If the Framers thought health was a constitutional power, they would've mentioned it. After all, people got sick, then, too.

Interview: Senator Jill Vogel, Part 1

Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester) is in her first term in the Virginia Senate. She is a rising star in the Republican Party of Virgina, let alone in the GOP caucus, and already has led on a number of issues, becoming an effective voice for conservatism in the very liberal Senate. She sits on the General Laws and Technology, Privileges and Elections, and Rehabilitation and Social Services Committees. This year, she was one of three patrons of Senate legislation that protects Virginians from the increasingly long arm and outright girth of the federal government over states and individuals in the area of health care. Her bill, SB 417, with the others, shocked liberals across the state by passing the Democrat controlled Senate and now is on the way to Governor Bob McDonnell's desk for his signature, which will make Virginia the first state to protect itself from ObamaCare. We originally scheduled this interview for one part, but Senator Vogel gave such informative replies, we decided to break it up. So, here, in part one, we ask her about her Health Care Freedom legislation. In part two, we'll cover the state budget and spending, the economic benefit of eliminating corporate taxes, and de-funding Planned Parenthood.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Senator Vogel, thank you very much for spending time with us and answering these questions. They cover a broad range of topics of interest to our readers. As we have just passed "Crossover," we very much look forward to your answers and insights as to what is happening in the General Assembly. Are you ready for some questions?

Senator Jill Vogel: I am ready and I am happy to have an opportunity to be with you. Also, before we begin I should tell you how grateful I am for all that The Family Foundation does to provide support and encouragement on the bills that I have carried. It is a huge help.

With crossover behind us, this is a perfect opportunity to take stock of where we are and for me to answer some questions about progress in the Senate this year. It has been an intense session, but with the help of the newly elected Governor we have made some significant headway on issues affecting jobs and the economy as well as a long list of other issues that are priorities for us.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Thank you for those kind words. That's very high praise. Now, question one: You are one of the leaders in Health Care Freedom legislation to protect Virginians from the federal government's reach into our personal health care decisions. Why did you take on this issue?

Senator Vogel: I took this on because it is time that our state legislature acted on this subject — both to protect our citizens and to reinforce that what the federal government is currently attempting to do with health care is not only bad public policy, but it is unconstitutional.

My bill is simple. It makes it illegal to impose insurance mandates on the citizens of the Commonwealth and forecloses the kinds of mandates that government run health care would dictate. Frankly, never in the history of this country has the federal government attempted such a power grab and I have an obligation to the citizens that I represent to prevent Congress from usurping the authority for decisions that are clearly left to individuals and the states under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Such a scheme by the federal government will never survive a Constitutional challenge and Virginia’s legislation sets us up for that challenge. The United States Supreme Court has never expanded the 10th Amendment or the Commerce Clause or any other category to reach the regulation of the purchase of a private product. We can incentivize certain behavior, we can tie certain requirements to certain funding or other contingencies, but a flat out mandate of this nature is a clear violation of the Constitution.

Other state legislatures around the nation have taken up the charge as well and, at this count, I think more than 38 states are considering similar measures. The point is that states are the breeding ground of innovation and competition for new ideas and solutions about health care should be left to the states. I am proud to say that yesterday marked the passage of the legislation in both the House and Senate of Virginia, bringing us national attention as the first state legislature to fully pass the measure.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Were you prepared for the heated barrage of questions and, quite frankly, the rude treatment from one of your liberal colleagues in the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee? Also, tell us about the close vote in the committee — did it surprise you that it even got reported? How much work went in to convincing Senators Colgan and Puckett to crossover?

Senator Vogel: I knew that the issue would be controversial and politically charged and I think the slim margin of the vote made it that much more tense. I was surprised that the bill passed in a committee with such a large Democratic majority on the committee and that merely reinforces that this is not a partisan issue. Also, it was not a hard sell with Senators Colgan and Puckett, whose votes very much reflect the mood of their districts.

FamilyFoundationBlog: Were you surprised at the big margin the Health Care bills passed in the Senate given the liberal control of that chamber? Have you seen an issue like this before that has so galvanized such a large number of people from all across the political spectrum?

Senator Vogel: Once it passed committee, I was less surprised at the amount of bipartisan support in the full Senate. Again, those numbers just reinforce that these concerns about health care are compelling to people across the political spectrum. No matter what, Virginians don’t believe in a one size fits all health care solution that subjects them to the dictates of a federal bureaucracy that manages health care.

Senate Health Care Freedom Bills Advance To House Floor, Last Step Before Governor's Signature

Here's an update on Health Care Freedom legislation: The three Senate bills — SB 283, SB 311 and SB 417 — passed in historic fashion by the Senate last week, all passed by 16-5 bi-partisan margins in the House Commerce and Labor Committee around 3:30 today. (These bills originally were listed on the committee agenda last week, but were carried over to today. The vote most likely will be 17-5 as one pro-10th Amendment delegate was not there, but delegates are allowed to vote after committee as long as it doesn't afect the outcome.) The Senate bills are patroned by Senators Fred Qualye (R-13, Suffolk), Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) and Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester), respectively. All three bills proceed to the House floor tomorrow and face a projected key vote Thursday. House passage is very much expected, but nothing should be left to chance. Contact your delegate (here) or, to learn who your delegate is, click here. If passed by the House, the bill goes to Governor Bob McDonnell for his signature.

In other words, establishing a 10th Amendment wall around Virginia against the encroachment of federal bureaucrats is within a very short grasp — much quicker and without the huge dust-up most anticipated — making Virginia the first state to do so! The Old Dominion, leading for liberty, again.

That founding principle, ingrained but ignored for so long, that the states and the people, are the sovereigns of this country and commonwealth, may soon have the weight of law in Virginia. Where the central government has no stated role, the people have natural rights to make decisions for themselves. That is the essence of constitutionally guaranteed limited government — government does not grant rights nor issues commands. It secures rights and guards freedom. There's a rebirth of that now and, as during freedom's birth at the Founding, it's finding its bearings in Virginia.

Attorney General Cuccinelli Ready For 10th Amendment Fight If Necessary

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli appeared with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network last night and answered questions from the anchor who appeared stunned Virginia had gone so far so fast in seeking to protect itself from federal intrusion in individuals' health care decisions. He was referring, of course, to the quick work the General Assembly so far has made in advancing the Virgina Health Care Freedom Act. To Cuccinelli, it's not that at all — defending liberty is not far and speed is good in that regard. The AG said it was nice to see "freedom break out again" and for Virginia to be, most likely, the first state to pass such a law, leading now for liberty as it did in the 1700s. He also sounded ready and willing for the fight Cavuto predicted from the feds if and when Virginia asserts itself under the 10th Amendment when and if the central government mandates that individuals purchase particular products.

Cuccinelli: It's nice to have a bipartisan outbreak of freedom.

Here Are The Five Senate Democrats Who Voted For Health Care Freedom

The five Virginia Senate Democrats who voted for SB 283, SB 311 and SB 417, the Senate bill for health care freedom and defense of the 10th Amendment, are: Senators Charles Colgan (D-29, Manassas) and Phil Puckett (D-38, Tazewell), who both voted for it committee, as well as Senators Edd Houck (D-17, Spottsylvania), John Miller (D-1, Newport News) and Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville). See the vote for SB 283 here, which is identical to the votes for the subsequent bills. The bills are patroned, respectively, by Senators Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) and Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester).

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Approves Health Care/10th Amendment Bill 23-17!

Just seconds ago, by a vote of 23-17, the Virginia Senate passed SB 283, a bill that asserts Virginians' rights not to be forced into a federal health care plan or to be forced into buying insurance because of a federal mandate. Five Democrats voted with the 18 Republicans. Details to follow. SB 283 is patroned by Senator Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk). The bill now goes to the House of Delegates, where it likely will be referred to the Commerce and Labor Committee.

Open Thread: Family Foundation Day At The Capitol, Lt. Governor Bolling To Speak

First, a bit of breaking news: We are very pleased to announce that Lt. Governor Bill Bolling is speaking at 11:00 at Family Foundation Day At The Capitol, today, at the Miller & Rhodes Hilton Garden Inn (6th and Broad Streets), our lobby day headquarters. If you are in the area, and want to hear some great speakers and participate in lobbying your legislators on behalf of traditional family values and conservative principles, please drop by and register on site. This is an open thread for the thousands of conservative grassroots activists in Richmond today to lobby their elected representatives at the General Assembly. Whether you are one of the hundreds attending Family Foundation Day at the Capitol or one of the 10th Amendment rallies, post your impressions of the day here, on this thread.

Let us know how your meeting with your delegates and senators went, which speakers you liked, what bills you are supporting and opposing, or whatever impressions or suggestions you have — or any interesting or funny stories that you saw or happened to you. We look forward to reading your comments and hope everyone enjoys their day at the capitol.

Can The States Stop Nationalized Health Care? Bob Marshall Says, "Yes"

As mentioned here (and according to the AP), 13 attorneys general are preparing to file suit on behalf of their states to block any eventual nationalization of America's health care system — or at least leave their states free to choose whether to participate. Virginia Attorney General Bill Mims is one of the 13. Law suits have been known to work. It is, after all, the states which have the right and obligation to defend themselves from participation in any federal scheme not enumerated in the constitution as a federal responsibility — also known as the 10th Amendment. Of course, the 10th Amendment, nor anything about the constitution, has stopped the federales from increasing its size and scope over our lives throughout recent decades.

But law suits aside, what else can the states do? Apart from the attorney general, who else is in the game? What about legislatures? If Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Prince William) has anything to do with it, Virginia's General Assembly will have a lot to do with it. Last month, he made a presentation to the Tuesday Morning Group Coalition about HB 10, The Health Care Freedom Act, a bill he has already filed. Other patrons thus far are John O'Bannon (R-73, Henrico), Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Prince William), Harvey Morgan (R-98, Gloucester) and Bob Tata (R-85, Virginia Beach). HB 10 reads, in its entirety, thus:

No law shall restrict a person's natural right and power of contract to secure the blessings of liberty to choose private health care systems or private plans. No law shall interfere with the right of a person or entity to pay for lawful medical services to preserve life or health, nor shall any law impose a penalty, tax, fee, or fine, of any type, to decline or to contract for health care coverage or to participate in any particular health care system or plan, except as required by a court where an individual or entity is a named party in a judicial dispute. Nothing herein shall be construed to expand, limit or otherwise modify any determination of law regarding what constitutes lawful medical services within the Commonwealth.

Marshall, as ever, is sure of its legislative cure as well as its constitutionality, as we are reminded by Norm Leahy at Tertium Quids. In fact, as Leahy points out, Delegate Marshall offers a Q&A on Dr. Bob Hollsworth's Virginia Tomorrow blog, asking and answering questions himself, a FAQ tutorial on state legislative prerogative on federal issues, if you will. At least as far as it concerns the federal takeover of the health care industry and individuals' constitutional rights to be forced into it. 

So, the 10th Amendment lives? We'll see what Virginia's General Assembly says — about its own authority. Virginia could make hay as the bulwark against the largest federal power grab in history. That would really give the lawyers something to fight about.

The 10th Amendment Disconnect

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Bob Holsworth (Virginia Tomorrow) speak Monday night about the recent elections. He is the best political analyst in Virginia in my opinion and his insights on campaigns and strategies never fail to enlighten. He said that one of the many aspects where the Creigh Deeds campaign (as well as the Wagner and Shannon campaigns) fell short was in its inability to respond to the federal issues — card check, cap-and-trade, nationalized health care — Republican Bob McDonnell repeatedly raised as not only an intrusion into Virginians' sovereignty, but as harmful to Virginians themselves —their prosperity, opportunity, way of life, health. In other words, upholding the 10th Amendment, which leaves to the states all powers not specifically delineated to the federal government.

Senator Deeds couldn't dis President Barack Obama, who historically carried Virginia last year, and turn off the liberal Democrat base and its newly energized voters, by opposing those signature liberal issues. So the best he could do was assert they had nothing to do with running the commonwealth. Dr. Holsworth said Deeds' inability to satisfactorily deal with this dynamic pleased no one — crucial independents, who broke overwhelmingly to the GOP, nor the base.

Who am I to disagree with Dr. Bob? But I want to add that it was more than that. Defending one's state against the onslaught of the federal leviathan is a constitutional charge. So it is a legitimate issue. But Senator Deeds, reflective of today's ingrained liberalism, at the very least couldn't respond to the issues because he doesn't understand the 10th Amendment. Doubtful. So that leaves the worst, but more likely, case — a total disregard for it. When state politicians become too comfortable accepting mandates and force-fed programs from Washington, which stunt states from their roles as democratic laboratories and distinctly different places to live, they deserve to lose. Indeed, federal issues always have and always will be integral to state issues because the constitutional relationship of states to the national government demands it.