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States' Rights
  • This Week's Top Five Hot State Legislative Actions

    Florida State HouseFederalism is among America' s most fundamental practices. Unfortunately, when someone says "leave it to the states," it means we have to leave it to these states…

    1. A New Hampshire bill that would have required all new legislation addressing individual rights to quote its authority from the Magna Carta was killed in committee by an 11-1 vote, leaving residents bereft of regulatory reforms based on dictates such as, "If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it." Should have gone with the Code of Hammurabi or just mandate that all legislation be drafted using only the letters R-O-N-A-L-D R-E-A-G-A-N.

    2. Creeping Sharia, which also happens to be the name of my favorite garden vine, is crawling into South Dakota where the state Senate Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 against a bill to regulate the use of foreign law in South Dakota courts.

    3. The Virginia legislature is set to repeal a 19-year-old state law that forced residents into dangerous, illicit, back-alley gun purchases by preventing residents from purchasing more than one handgun a month. They also defended the 2nd Amendment right to carelessly leave guns in any damn place

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    Tags: Education, Florida, Guns, LGBT, Marriage, Marriage Equality, New Hampshire, Religion, South Dakota, State Legislature, States' Rights, Virginia, Washington
  • New Hampshire Legislators Introduce Freedom to Beat Your Spouse Bills

    One thing to keep in mind whenever a presidential candidate suggests that some issue is best handled at the state or local level is the fact that this relegates lawmaking to state and local legislators and absolutely nothing about the history of governments suggests that is a good idea. Our "laboratories of democracy" are basically 50 self-contained arguments against federalism.

    Take New Hampshire, which in some populist conceit has decided that every dozen residents need their own severely under-resourced and under-paid state legislator, who will somehow remain "close to the people." Of course, the natural conclusion of "citizen legislatures" isn't home-spun wisdom and incorruptibility, insomuch as a bunch of part-time real-estate agents throwing monkey feces at a wall and calling the result a "House Bill."

    The latest in the New Hampshire legislature's attempt to beclown their state as the Arizona of New England is House Bill 1581, which would stand up to lobbyists from Big Battered Spouse and prevent police officers from making an arrest in a domestic violence case without first getting a warrant unless the officer witnessed the crime. The Concord Monitor explains

    An officer is called to a home where she sees clear evidence that an assault has occurred. The furniture is overturned, the children are sobbing, and the face of the woman of the house is bruised and bleeding. It's obvious who the assailant was, but the officer arrived after the assault occurred. It's a small department, and no one else on the force is available to keep the peace until the officer finds a judge or justice of the peace to issue a warrant. The officer leaves, and the abuser renews his attack with even more ferocity, punishing his victim for having called for help.

    And — even though abused spouses have already been told once! — a related bill, which was rejected in committee on Wednesday, would have restricted judicial authority to issue domestic violence protective orders to a few select circumstances.

    The legislative mastermind behind H.B. 1581 is Republican Representative Dan Itse, whose own political philosophy he explains in ways only a guest on the Glenn Beck and Alex Jones Shows can…

    Today our nation, though still the freest in the world, is in danger of sliding into tyranny.  The reason is best explained in the prelude to the movie "Fellowship of the Ring."  The elf queen Galadriel is giving a discourse on the history of the ring, and man's lust for power over other men. Near the conclusion she states "…and some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth…"

    Naturally, Itse's conclusion is that Galadriel should shut her elf queen mouth and go back to making him a Lembas bread sandwich.

    Tags: Crime, Nerdiness, New Hampshire, Republicans, State Legislature, States' Rights, Women's Rights
  • Rick Perry Will Support States' Rights Soon as a Federal Judge Gets Him on Virginia Ballot

    There are a few reasons to pity Rick Perry, such as his inability to use…words, or his lack of interest in knowing…things, but it turns out he also suffers from a serious medical condition. No, not just back pain. Let's call it a case of irony deficiency.

    Take it away, Perry's legal team

    Virginia ballot access rules are among the most onerous and are particularly problematic in a multi-candidate election. We believe that the Virginia provisions unconstitutionally restrict the rights of candidates and voters by severely restricting access to the ballot, and we hope to have those provisions overturned or modified to provide greater ballot access to Virginia voters and the candidates seeking to earn their support.

    It's all a matter of roles. Governor Perry loves federalism and the 10th amendment, which reserves powers not delegated to the federal government to the states, because it allows him to complain about "mandates" — which sound suspiciously homosexual, yes? — from Washington, D.C. and lets him argue that stupid ideas transmogrify into good policy when done at the state and local level.

    Presidential candidate Perry loves the the 10th amendment so much that he wants a federal judge to ignore it and force the Virginia Republican Party to grant him access to the primary ballot, even though he gathered only 6,000 valid signatures out of the 10,000 legally required. Don't we always hurt the ones we love?

    Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Constitution, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Perry, States' Rights, Virginia
  • Federal Judge Finds DOMA to Be Unconstitutional

    Well, here's some big gay news hot out of the closet! A federal judge in Boston has ruled, in two separate cases, that a critical part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

    Apparently, according to Judge Joseph Tauro, Congress violated the Tenth Amendment when it passed DOMA, taking away the ability for states to decide which couples can be married. In a companion case, the judge ordered that DOMA violates equal protection in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Oh, snap!

    GLAD attorney Mary Bonauto told Tauro that DOMA constitutes a "classic equal protection" violation, by taking one class of married people in Massachusetts and dividing it into two. One class, she noted, gets federal benefits, the other does not. Just as the federal government cannot take the word "person" and say it means only Caucasians or only women, said Bonauto, it should not be able to take the word "marriage" and say it means only heterosexual couples.

    Hmmmm, defining "person" to mean only Caucasians. I hear they were flirting with passing similar legislation in Arizona.

    Anyway, the next step in the case is the U.S. Court of Appeals, and then the Supreme Court! Only three more years until a decision is made!

    Tags: Bill of Rights, Constitution, DOMA, LGBT, Marriage Equality, Massachusetts, States' Rights