Friday, October 30

Author: 10th Amendment Center

A Brief History of Court Packing
Tenth Amendment Center

A Brief History of Court Packing

by Judge Andrew Napolitano Since the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the determination of President Donald Trump to fill her Supreme Court seat before Election Day with the traditionalist Judge Amy Coney Barrett, the concept of court packing has reared its head. The phrase “court packing” is a derogatory reference to legislation that alters the number of seats on the Supreme Court to alter its perceived ideological makeup. The origins of modern court packing are from the depression era when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to expand the court from nine to 15 by adding a new justice for every sitting justice who declined to retire upon reaching his 70th birthday. FDR offered the plan in the spring of 1937, shortly after he was inaugurated to his second...
Brutus No. 1: Antifederalist Warning on Consolidation
Tenth Amendment Center

Brutus No. 1: Antifederalist Warning on Consolidation

by Michael Boldin If you’ve been following our work here at the TAC, you’ll often see articles, videos, quotes, posts – about the dangers of centralization of power. In fact, it might be one of the most common themes – both here and from the Founding Generation. That’s why the Constitution itself was very likely to fail ratification until deals were made in places like Massachusetts and elsewhere – that an amendment would be added in the near future to reaffirm the principle that all powers not expressly delegated would remain with the states or the people. That, of course, became the 10th Amendment, which Thomas Jefferson called “the foundation of the Constitution.” Even supporters of ratification regularly acknowledged the dangers of centralization – what they referred to as...
The Nature of the Federal Government
Tenth Amendment Center

The Nature of the Federal Government

by Mike Maharrey We have flipped the American constitutional system on its head. It operates exactly the opposite of how the supporters of the Constitution said it would. So, what type of government did the Constitution create? Is it powerful or weak? Is it expansive or limited? How much authority does it wield? Can it act in any situation, or does it have a limited sphere? How you answer these questions will shape your view of American government and guide your understanding of every clause in the Constitution. During the Philadelphia Convention, many framers favored a strong national government. In fact, James Madison even proposed a federal veto on state laws. But as the convention wore on, delegates voted down proposals to create a centralized government one by one – inclu...
Status Report: Nullifying the National Surveillance State
Tenth Amendment Center

Status Report: Nullifying the National Surveillance State

by Mike Maharrey In 2014, the Tenth Amendment Center dove headfirst in the fight against unconstitutional federal surveillance when it spearheaded efforts to turn off the water at the NSA facility in Bluffdale, Utah, and cut off other critical state and local services to other NSA facilities. We haven’t turned off the water in Utah — yet. But we did win some victories. In 2014, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB828 into law, laying the foundation for the state to turn off water, electricity and other resources to any federal agency engaged in mass warrantless surveillance. In 2018, Michigan built on this foundation with the passage of HB4430. The new law prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from assisting, participating with, or providing “material suppor...
Federal Courts Fail Again in Washington Gun Case
Tenth Amendment Center

Federal Courts Fail Again in Washington Gun Case

by Mike Maharrey Conservatives and libertarians often turn to the federal courts to “protect their rights” through an application of the Bill of Rights to the states. This is a bad strategy. Most of the time it fails, and we end up with bad precedents that apply to the entire United States. Case in point: a federal judge recently upheld strict Washington State gun control laws. Voters passed the new regulations on firearms in 2020. Initiative 1639 raised the legal age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle to 21 and instituted enhanced background checks. It also prohibited the sale of these rifles to non-residents. The ballot initiative passed by nearly 60 percent. Opponents of the new law decided to make a federal case out of it and sued in federal court, arguing the restrict...
Supreme Court and Rules of the Game
Tenth Amendment Center

Supreme Court and Rules of the Game

by Walter E. Williams The United States Constitution’s Article 2, Sec. 2, cl. 2, provides that the president of the United States “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States.” President Donald Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett as U.S. Supreme Court justice who will replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Barrett currently serves as United States Circuit judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 7th Circuit serves the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. It is now the Senate’s job to decide whether to confirm Barrett’s appointment as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. In thinking about t...
Bigger Problem Underlies Supreme Court Fight
Tenth Amendment Center

Bigger Problem Underlies Supreme Court Fight

by Mike Maharrey Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last week, opening up a spot on the Supreme Court even as election day looms. The fight over her replacement is already heating up. But there’s a far bigger problem underlying the battle over which politically connected lawyer sits on the Court next.Regardless, let the political theater begin. I’m already enjoying watching Republicans do rhetorical gymnastics to explain the difference between blocking Obama’s nominee during an election year and rushing a Trump nomination during this election year. “This is different!” Yes. Whatever. Here’s the thing — it doesn’t really matter. As I explained recently, you shouldn’t be depending on federal judges to protect your liberty or the Constitution. They aren’t committed t...
Can the Vice President Break a Tie on Appointments?
Tenth Amendment Center

Can the Vice President Break a Tie on Appointments?

by Michael D. Ramsey In the Boston Globe, Laurence Tribe (Harvard) makes an originalist case that the Vice President cannot break ties on appointments votes.  It’s an interesting issue but I am not persuaded. He begins: While the vice president has the power to cast a tiebreaking vote to pass a bill, the Constitution does not give him the power to break ties when it comes to the Senate’s “Advice and Consent” role in approving presidential appointments to the Supreme Court.You don’t have to take my word for it. Alexander Hamilton said the same thing way back in 1788, in Federalist No. 69: “In the national government, if the Senate should be divided, no appointment could be made.” … Well, I don’t always take Alexander Hamilton’s word for things either,...
No, the U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Save Us
Tenth Amendment Center

No, the U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Save Us

by John Whitehead The U.S. Supreme Court will not save us. It doesn’t matter which party gets to pick the replacement to fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. The battle that is gearing up right now is yet more distraction and spin to keep us oblivious to the steady encroachment on our rights by the architects of the American Police State. Americans can no longer rely on the courts to mete out justice. Although the courts were established to serve as Courts of Justice, what we have been saddled with, instead, are Courts of Order. This is true at all levels of the judiciary, but especially so in the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, which is seemingly more concerned with establishing order and protecting government interes...
The Constitutionality of a National Bank: Hamilton vs. Jefferson
Tenth Amendment Center

The Constitutionality of a National Bank: Hamilton vs. Jefferson

by Mike Maharrey The First Bank of the United States was charted for a period of 20 years by Congress on Feb. 25, 1791. Alexander Hamilton championed the bank, but it wasn’t without its detractors. One of the most vocal opponents of the bank was Thomas Jefferson who argued that it was unconstitutional. The debate was really about more than chartering a bank. At its core, it was an argument about the extent of federal power. Jefferson held to the promise of the ratification debates – that federal authority would remain carefully circumscribed by the enumerated delegated powers. Given that the Constitution doesn’t authorize Congress to charter corporations, much less a national bank, Jefferson argued that it was an unconstitutional act. On the other hand, Hamilton pivoted from the ...