The Supreme Court on April 28 upheld the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) ban on "fleeting expletives." The FCC has had a long-standing ban on the usage of "obscene, indecent, or profane" language on network television, but the ban had been applied to usage of a "sustained or repeated" manner. In March of 2004, that policy changed after a series of events caused a public outcry. Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" at that year's Superbowl combined with uses of adult language at award shows led to the FCC crackdown on indeceny.
The Supreme Court on April 21 heard arguments in a school strip-search case, Safford School District v. Redding. Savana Redding was 13 years old in 2003 when she was subjected to a strip-search at an Arizona middle school to determine if she had any pain medication. She claimed her Fourth Amendment protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures" had been violated, and a U.S. circuit court of appeals agreed with her.
We Americans are expected to play by the rules — to obey traffic regulations, pay taxes, observe zoning ordinances — in short, to abide by the law. If we don’t, we may find ourselves fined or even jailed. Our federal government is also expected to abide by rules — in its case, the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution specifies which powers the federal government may exercise, and forbids any others. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is explicit: “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.”
In less than two months, an exciting new movement has captured the imagination of freedom-minded Americans all across our nation. This movement, often referred to as the “State Sovereignty Movement,” is more properly referred to as the “Tenth Amendment Movement,” because it is not a movement to affirm the absolute freedom and independence of each state, but instead a movement to restore the balance of power between the states and the federal government within the union in accordance with the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives on February 18 became the first state legislative body this year to pass a resolution affirming its "sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States." This resolution, HJR1003, was passed by the very lopsided margin of 83 to 13.
They beat him so badly they broke his bones. They cut him with a razor blade while pouring “hot, stinging liquid” in the wounds, chained him in cells with open sewage, kept him in total darkness for almost two years, and drugged and starved him, among other abuses. Why? Because he was a terrorist. Correction: he knew terrorists. OK, at least he was in the same country as terrorists.
Imagine that certain investors have set up a business under a charter and by-laws that specifically provide for a number of managers assigned to oversee various separate and independent branches of the company, all of whom must answer ultimately to the investors. One of the managers then announces that: (i) he alone will determine, not only when the other managers are not in compliance with the company's policies, but also what those policies actually are; (ii) the investors will have no say in the making of these determinations; and (iii) if the investors dissent from his unilateral determinations, their only recourse will be to re-write the company's charter and by-laws, subject to the manager's own interpretations of what such amendments mean. How long would any investors in their right minds tolerate such a topsy-turvy state of affairs? Yet this is precisely how the governments of the United States and the states operate under the contemporary doctrine of "judicial supremacy."
The left’s war against the Electoral College took on a steep up-tick when President Bush won the presidency while losing the popular vote to Al Gore in 2000. And it continues to pick up steam with new tactics. The modern incarnation of this movement is the “National Popular Vote” movement, which is attempting to get state legislatures to pledge to forego the votes of their people in favor of the national popular vote winner.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review has ruled that telecommunications companies must assist the executive branch in wiretapping American citizens’ e-mail messages and phone calls, the New York Times reported on January 15. Although the decision didn’t deal directly with the constitutionality of warrantless wiretaps, the decision is troubling for a number of reasons.
This topic reminds me of the story about the national politician who campaigned on a party platform promoting the Welfare State. His stump speech was filled with promises of all the government services that he would fight for, if the voters would just elect him to Congress. He promised to meet all of the people’s needs relating to childcare, education, nutrition, housing, transportation, healthcare, pensions, and good-paying jobs for every citizen. Finally, at one town hall meeting, a boy raised his hand and asked, “Why would we need jobs?”
"Federalism" is one of those words that turns many readers aside, as it conjures up images of boring old theoretical interpretations of John Locke treatises. The reality of federalism is much more exciting than the theory — it is actually about the insatiable struggle for power between elites in the federal government and elites in the state governments. Money, power, secret tribunals, corruption: now those things are interesting.