The American Civil Liberties Union and the Tenth Amendment Center have partnered with lawmakers from 16 states to introduce counter-surveillance legislation. On January 20, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, and Michael Boldin, executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, released an op-ed through Time announcing the new legislation and calling for a partnership between conservatives and progressives.
Boldin and Romero discussed the increase in cell phone surveillance from tools like Stingrays and tracking from automatic license plate readers which track the public’s driving habits. Their concern extends not only to government institutions but corporations who are willing to capture and sell personal data of customers.
The legislation comes from both political parties spread across the United States, including the District of Columbia, Hawaii, North Carolina, Minnesota, Alabama, New Hampshire and New Mexico. The ACLU is supporting the bills as part of their campaign “#TakeCTRL: Nationwide Privacy Push.” The campaign offers a map showing the participating states and explanations of each bill introduced.
The bills deal with personal data privacy, location tracking through Stingray cell site simulators, Automatic License Plate Readers, employee and student social media privacy, and protection for students personal technology on campus. Each bill offers protections that guarantee the right for each individual to be in control of maintaining their private, personal information.
Boldin and Romero wrote, “Americans have grown tired of hearing stories like that of former college hockey player Megan Donahue, who quit her team because she did not want to give her coaches access to her social media accounts, or high school student Blake Robbins, whose school remotely accessed the webcam on the laptop it issued him and took pictures of him while he undressed.”
Another focus of the bills is to force law enforcement agencies to get a warrant if they desire to use new technologies to access someone’s private communications. When it comes to corporate access to Americans’ data, the coalition is calling for corporations to get “clear and express permission to do so.”
As the ACLU and Tenth Amendment Center recognize, the laws have not kept up to pace with technology that is being employed by the military and law enforcement. If every state passed their legislation and enacted privacy protections such as warrants it would still not stop invasions by federal agencies which are also known to have similar technology.
The coalition ends their letter with a call for unity and action.
“We know that this is a fight that will continue, but with conservatives and progressives standing united, it’s a fight we can win.”
AUSTIN, November 14, 2014– A Texas legislator has introduced a new bill to derail the enforcement of virtually all federal gun control measures within the state’s borders.
“With this bill, Texas could help lead the country forward,” said Scott Landreth, campaign lead for ShallNot.org, a project of the Tenth Amendment Center that advocates for states to protect their citizens from federal overreach. “Passage would have serious impact on the federal government’s ability to carry out its unconstitutional gun control measures already on the books.”
Landreth has suggested that this could create a domino effect.
Introduced by newly re-elected State Representative Tim Kleinschmidt (R-Lexington), House Bill 176 (HB176) declares all federal restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms to be “invalid” and “not enforceable” within the state of Texas. It bill reads, in part:
A federal law, including a statute, an executive, administrative, or court order, or a rule, that infringes on a law-abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 23, Article I, Texas Constitution, is invalid and not enforceable in this state.
If passed into law, all government agencies and employees within Texas would be banned from enforcing any federal law in violation of the act. The prohibition on enforcement includes any federal legislation that:
(1) imposes a tax, fee, or stamp on a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition that is not common to all other goods and services and may be reasonably expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by a law-abiding citizen;
(2) requires the registration or tracking of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition or the owners of those items that may be reasonably expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by a law-abiding citizen;
(3) prohibits the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition by a law-abiding citizen;
(4) orders the confiscation of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition from a law-abiding citizen.
State employees who knowingly violate the act would risk a suit for damages for assisting the federal government violate an individual’s right to keep and bear arms in Texas. A defense of sovereign immunity would also be prohibited in such a suit.
Kleinschmidt, starting his 4th term in January, has developed a reputation as a strong defender of the Second Amendment. In the 2013 session, he worked to pass legislation that “prohibits public and private colleges and universities from adopting administrative rules banning the possession, transportation and storage of lawfully-owned firearms and ammunition in private motor vehicles by students and visitors with Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs).” He was also heralded by the NRA-ILA for his 2011 employee/parking lot protection bill that was signed into law that year.
Recognizing that the federal government would always require cooperation on a state and local level, James Madison, writing in Federalist #46, advised state “legislative devices” and a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” as a strategy to push back against unconstitutional or merely unpopular federal acts.
Last year, Judge Andrew Napolitano said that if a single state stop participating in the enforcement of federal gun laws, it would make those laws “nearly impossible” to enforce within the state.
“If a few other states follow Kleinschmidt’s lead, it’ll also give Washington D.C. pause before even trying to pass new restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms,” he said.
The approach is on sound legal footing, with notable Supreme Court opinions backing the view that the federal government cannot require a state to expend manpower or resources in the enforcement of a federal act. The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:
The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.
As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now 20 years old and considered well settled.”
In 2013, similar legislation was passed in Idaho, although not as far-reaching as the bill from Kleinschmidt. Another bill was signed into law in Alaska, but lacked the specifics of which federal acts the law addressed. And another law was signed in Kansas, but is currently not being enforced due to a court challenge from the Brady Campaign over provisions that include criminal charges for federal agents.
HB176 will first be assigned to a committee, where it will need to pass before a full assembly of the State House can consider it.
SALT LAKE CITY, February 12, 2014–Can Utah shut down the new NSA data center by turning off the water? A new bill introduced by state Rep. Marc Roberts seeks to do just that.
The legislation drafted by a transpartisan coalition organized by the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) called OffNow Coalition. The Utah Fourth Amendment Protection Act would expressly prohibit state material support, participation, and assistance to any federal agency that collects electronic date or metadata without a search warrant “that particularly desribes the person, place and thing to be searched or seized.”
“Without question, the mass surveillance and data collection by the Utah Data Center is a delicate and important matter,” Roberts said. “But for me, the language of the Fourth Amendment is clear. It simply protects us against unreasonable and unwarranted searches or seizures of our persons, private residencies and property, documents and information and personal and private belongings. This legislation preserves those rights to the people.”
This puts contracts that provide the 1.7 million gallons of water a day necessary to cool the NSA computers at its Bluffdale facility in the crosshairs.
Bluffdale, a political subdivision of Utah, provided the NSA with a sweetheart water deal. The bill would begin the process of ending that deal, potentially crippling the NSA’s ability to keep the facility functional.
“No water equals no NSA data center,” TAC executive director Michael Boldin said.
He called the potential impact of this legislation significant, especially compared to what Congress has done to deal with the agency.
“In 1975, Sen. Frank Church warned that the power of the NSA could enable ‘total tyranny.’ He recommended that Congress should limit the agency’s power. Almost four decades later, we’re still waiting. Congress is not going to stop the NSA. The people and their states have to,” Boldin said. “Turn it off.”
BORDC executive director Shahid Buttar echoed Boldin’s enthusiasm for state action.
“At stake is nothing less than our nation’s triumph in the Cold War. The NSA’s decade of warrantless surveillance en masse assaults not only the rights of hundreds of millions of law-abiding Americans, and our democracy as a whole, but resembles Soviet-style spying — on meth, empowered and amplified by the past generation’s remarkable advances in computing technology,” he said. “Utah residents have a chance to take matters into their own hands, defending democracy by shutting off state resources consumed by the Bluffdale data center in its assault on We the People, our fundamental rights, and the Constitution that enshrined them.”
Notable anti-establishment figures such as Naomi Wolf and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg advise the BORDC.
“The NSA was welcomed by politicians in Utah with a promise that their activities would be “conducted according to constitutional law”. As we all know, that promise has been violated—institutionally, repeatedly, and aggressively,” said Utah Libertas Institute President Conor Boyack. “If Congress and the Courts are unable or unwilling to rein in this beast and put a stop to the rising surveillance state, then it’s up to the states to stake their ground and resist such broad violations of the Constitution. This new bill, along with others like it in over a dozen states, would accomplish that very thing.”
As Boyack points out, Utah doesn’t stand alone. Earlier this week, a group of Maryland legislators introduced a similar bill, targeting water and other resources to NSA headquarters. Lawmakers in more than 10 other states, including California, Vermont and Alaska, have also introduced the legislation. A bill in Tennessee addresses material support and resources to the NSA’s encryption-breaking facility at Oak Ridge.
Boldin said other states need to join the push, even those without NSA facilities. He called it essential.
“If enough states do this in the coming years, the NSA won’t have a place in the country where their spy centers are welcome,” he said.
Other provisions of the Fourth Amendment Protection Act would also have an impact. The bill would make data collected by the NSA and shared with state and local law enforcement in Utah inadmissible in court, unless a specific warrant is issued.
TAC national communications director Mike Maharrey said that this provision might prove as important as cutting off the water, because it erases a practical effect of NSA spying.
“We know the NSA shares data with state and local law enforcement. We know from a Reuters report that most of this shared data has absolutely nothing to do with national security issues,” he said. “This data sharing shoves a dagger into the heart of the Fourth Amendment. This bill would stop that from happening immediately.”
The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot “commandeer” or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. The 1997 case, Printz v. US, serves as the modern cornerstone. The majority opinion deemed commandeering “incompatible with our constitutional system.”
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
Boldin emphasized this is just the beginning.
“It took the people of Illinois ten years to legalize marijuana for medical use,” he said. “This isn’t going to be easy, and we’re not stopping until we win. The NSA has a choice; follow the constitution or get the hell out.”
Tallahassee, Janurary 27, 2014– The Florida legislature will consider a bill that would prohibit any state agency from cooperating with enforcement of federal gun laws.
Rep. Dan Eagle (R-Cape Coral) introduced HB733 on Monday. The Second Amendment Protection Act declares that no agent of the state or its political subdivisions may participate with or assist federal agents in the enforcement of unconstitutional federal firearms laws, or provide material support of any kind to federal agents in the enforcement of these laws. State agents and/or contractors who knowingly participate in or provide support for the enforcement of federal firearms laws would be subject to dismissal.
“The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly provides that all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Time and time again, Florida has proven that we have the best solutions to our own issues, whether it be healthcare, education, or our balanced budget, which is accomplished without raising taxes. When it comes to protecting our fundamental Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution, I believe it is best left to be handled by Floridians for Floridians,” Eagle said.
The legislation would not attempt to stop federal agents from enforcing gun laws, but would pull the plug on any state cooperation. The bill rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce and federal act or program The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone.
Montana sheriff Jay Printz and Arizona sheriff Richard Mack sued the federal government over provisions in the 1993 Brady Gun Bill that required chief law enforcement officers in each county to administer background checks. The Supreme Court majority held the feds could not force compliance by state officers.
“The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy-making is involved, and no case-by-case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
Mack has since called working at the state and local level the key to fighting tyranny.
Florida Tenth Amendment Center outreach director Francisco Rodriguez said the proposed act would make it very difficult for the federal government to enforce its gun laws.
“The federal government relies on state and local assistance for almost everything. One source I read indicated that state or local police assist in seven out of every 10 ATF raids. That’s a lot of help that will disappear in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Now imagine if 20 or 30 states followed suit. It would make it virtually impossible for the feds to violate the Second Amendment.”
Florida Tenth Amendment Center state coordinator Andrew Nappi said Rep. Eagle first became interested in this bill almost a year ago and called to discuss the model legislation.
“The timing last year just could not be worked out. But Representative Eagle said he would not forget about this bill and he didn’t. He remained true to his word, and we began working with him on this last fall,” Nappi said. “This is a substantial attempt to push back against federal actions violating the Second Amendment. Representative Eagle has not only kept his word by sponsoring the bill this year, he set an example for others who say they support the Second Amendment, but stop short of taking action.”
Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate a Senate version of the bill will likely be introduced in the next week or so.
Jefferson City, January 26, 2014– The Missouri State House of Representatives is working on a bill that would virtually nullify any past, present or future gun control laws handed down by the feds.
House Bill 1439 reads in part, “All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”
The bill was introduced by Rep. Funderburk (R-103) and has already picked up 33 co-sponsors.
HB1439 serves as the companion bill to SB 613. Sen. Brian Nieves introduced the Senate version earlier this month.
A similar bill passed both Missouri houses by a large margin earlier this year, but after a veto by Governor Jay Nixon, an override effort failed by one vote.
HB1439 goes on to state that “the general assembly hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation touching in any way firearms, components, ammunition and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance or regulation by any political subdivision of this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances or regulations in this field are hereby and shall be null and void.”
The legislation bans all state employees from enforcing any federal acts which run counter to the state law. By ordering a complete stand-down on all federal gun control measures, enforcement falls back to the federal government. This is exactly what James Madison advisedstates to do in Federalist #46. He called it “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.”
Earlier this year on the Fox Business Channel, Judge Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, suggested that taking such an action would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”
In what many legal experts consider a controversial move, the legislation also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates the state law. State and local law enforcement are given “discretionary power” in the bill to determine whether or not such charges will actually be made. Inside sources say that this was done to alleviate concerns from Missouri Law Enforcement organizations who actively lobbied against the effort in 2013, citing a requirement to arrest “federal law enforcement partners in the field” as a primarily concern.
While the legal community and federal courts may not uphold this particular provision, every bill in Missouri is severable. That means if a court finds part of it unconstitutional, the rest remains. And the main provision calling on the entire state to stop enforcing federal gun control measures is on strong legal ground with Court precedent going from 1842 to 2012. States simply are not required to help the feds violate your rights. And the feds don’t have the manpower to do it themselves. The anti-commandeering doctrine holds that the feds do not have the authority to make the states act in any way, shape or form against their will. This has been upheld in four separate Supreme Court cases and is widely accepted as legally valid.
The idea behind the legislation is that, if enacted, states will be able to keep the NSA from commandeering state resources. This will force NSA facilities to look for other locations, making it far more difficult to operate.
As of now, here is a list of geographical locations:
1.) Utah Data Center, Bluffdale, Utah
This location is the NSA’s main hub. The center stands at more than one million square feet, this $2 billion digital storage facility outside Salt Lake City is the centerpiece of the NSA’s cloud-based data strategy and essential in its plans for decryption of previously uncrackable documents.
2.) NSA headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Analysts here will access material stored at Bluffdale to prepare reports and recommendations that are sent to policymakers. To handle the increased data load, the NSA is also building an $896 million supercomputer center here.
3.) Aerospace Data Facility, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado
Intelligence collected from satellites, and signals from other spacecraft, as well as, overseas listening posts, is relayed to this facility outside Denver. Approximately 850 employees track these satellites, transmit target information, and download the intelligence data.
4.) NSA Georgia, Fort Gordon, Augusta, Georgia
Focuses on intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Codenamed Sweet Tea, the facility has been massively expanded and now consists of a 604,000-square-foot operations building for up to 4,000 intercept operators, analysts, and other specialists.
5.) NSA Texas, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio
This location recently underwent a $100 million renovation. The center functions as a data backup center for the Utah center. Also, the center focuses on intercepts from Latin America and, since 9/11, the Middle East and Europe. Some 2,000 workers staff the operation.
6.) Multiprogram Research Facility, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Approximately 300 scientists and computer engineers with top security clearance spend their day here. They are currently tasked with building the fastest quantum supercomputers in the world and working on cryptanalytic applications and other secret projects which are unknown to the public.
7.) NSA Hawaii, Oahu
This center intercepts data from Asia. The center was built to house an aircraft assembly plant during World War II, the 250,000-square-foot bunker is nicknamed the Hole. Its 2,700 employees now do their work above-ground from a new 234,000-square-foot facility.
The NSA also controls four satellites and has multiple international data centers. Many are wondering what the solution is. As mentioned before, the Tenth Amendment Center has provided one. View the below video to learn more.
NASHVILLE, Janurary 15, 2014– Tennessee state lawmakers are pushing a new piece of legislation, which if passed, will gut the implementation of Obamacare in the state.
Sen. Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) and Rep.Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) announced Monday that they will sponsor bills to resist implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in Tennessee. Based on similar legislation already introduced in Georgia (HB707) and model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center, SB1680 and its House companion bill would prohibit any cooperation by the state or its agencies in implementing or administering the federal health care program.
From the bill:
“No powers, assets, employees, agents or contractors of the state, including any institution under control of the University of Tennessee or the Tennessee board of regents, or any political subdivision, municipality or other local government entity shall be used to assist in implementing the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, or any subsequent federal amendment to such act…”
Tenth Amendment Center national communication director Mike Maharrey says.
“The federal government has no constitutional authority to create or run a national health care system. On top of that, why would you want them to? Why would you want a monopoly on healthcare, any more than you would want a monopoly on grocery sales? Especially a monopoly run by an entity as incompetent as the federal government,” he said. “We know the feds counted on the states to do the heavy lifting. We know the number of states refusing to create exchanges created problems. If enough states simply say, ‘No,’ this monstrosity will collapse under its own weight.”
South Carolina legislators spoke Monday at a rally in support of their own Obamacare nullification legislation. The crowd swelled to more than 400 in the cold rain. Senators Tom Davis and Lee Bright spoke alongside Matt Kibbe (President of DC think-tank, Freedom Works) and Rep. Bill Chumley.
The Tennessee bill will effectively nullify Obamacare.
“This action, especially in conjunction with similar steps being taken in other states, has the effect of nullifying ObamaCare,” he said. “If the feds cannot even build an appropriate website or keep their promises to consumers, they will be extremely hard-pressed to implement the other provisions for this program within our boundaries,” said Pody.
Georgia, South Carolina and now Tennessee are among the many states taking new measures to block the federal healthcare law.
Two years ago when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, civil libertarians were put to the test in terms of government overstep. Of course, indefinite detention provisions that allow the military to detain any American without trial were included in the 2012 NDAA package. Libertarians have taken their work at combating what they believe is totalitarianism to the state level.
Backed by civil libertarian advocacy groups, dozens of state lawmakers have not only started the process of introducing anti-indefinite detention legislation to their bodies, but have also began changing government power conversation, completely. The most recent legislator to embrace anti-indefinite detention legislation is Timothy O’Flaherty of New Hampshire. Other legislators, both Republican and Democrat, have also sponsored it.
The Liberty Preservation Act, prescribed by the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC), would nullify federal provisions pertaining to NDAA detention in the “Live Free or Die” state.
Specifically, the legislation reads: “No New Hampshire agency, political subdivision, or employee of either acting in his or her official capacity, and no member of the New Hampshire national guard when such member is serving in the national guard, may knowingly engage in any activity that aids an agency of or the armed forces of the United States in the execution of 50 U.S.C. section 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Public Law 112-18, section 1021 or any other similar law, order or regulation.”
Once back in session on January 8th, the House Committee on State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs will debate and hear further arguments for the passage of O’Flaherty’s bill. New Hampshire hasn’t been the only state in the past year to introduce anti-indefinite detention legislation. Other states include California, Montana, Virginia and New York, to name a few, where some have failed and others have passed into law.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) signed into law yesterday SB0094. The bill attempts to nullify Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Michigan joins other states who have sought to nullify the NDAA’s controversial indefinite detention clause.
SB0094 sponsor Michigan Senator Rick Jones (R) told us:
“Historically Michigan first asserted 10th Amendment rights in 1855 when we passed a law to block the Fugitive Slave Act. I thought of this great history as I pushed the bill to nullify the NDAA. No US citizen should have to fear being thrown into jail or prison without charges. I got support from both sides of the political spectrum. With the Governor’s signature, Michigan states no local police, state police, sheriff or Michigan National Guard will assist the feds with holding a US citizen without Habeas Corpus.”
Senate Bill No. 94 reads:
AN ACT to prohibit any agency of this state, any political subdivision of this state, any employee of any agency of this state or any political subdivision of this state, or any member of the Michigan national guard from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of any citizen of the United States under certain circumstances.
No agency of this state, no political subdivision of this state, no employee of an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state acting in his or her official capacity, and no member of the Michigan national guard on active state service shall aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of any person pursuant to section 1021 of the national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2012, if such aid would place that state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the Michigan national guard in violation of the United States constitution, the state constitution of 1963, or any law of this state… (Read the rest of the bill HERE)
According to Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey:
“This is a great step forward in protecting the basic due process rights of people in Michigan and gives activists there something to build on. Moving forward, I would love to see the Michigan legislature expand the policy in two ways. First, I would like to see it include protection for all people, not just U.S. citizens. After all, every person has a right to basic due process, no matter who they are or where they are from. Second, I would like to see a bill expanding the ban on cooperation to any future federal law or regulation that purports to allow indefinite detention. No federal act can justify kidnapping. None.”
Maharrey does note that the bill needs some work. He calls it “a fantastic start.”
“By including a caveat – “if such aid would place that state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the Michigan national guard in violation of the United States constitution, the state constitution of 1963, or any law of this state” – the bill is not an express prohibition. Rather, since no official determination has been made on such constitutionality as of yet, it leaves the decision of constitutionality to discretion. But, the new law does provide legal backing for those sheriffs, law enforcement officers, and other agencies and employees, who refuse to assist the federal government in such activities based on their own constitutional determination.”
The bill’s bite is rooted is anti-commandeering doctrine. This doctrine, which has been well established by the United States Supreme Court (Printz v. United States), dictates that the federal government cannot force state legislatures to enforce federal laws.
According to Justice Scalia’s majority opinion in Printz v. United States, state legislatures are not subject to federal direction. Although Congress may enforce its own laws, they may not force the states to carry out their duties in such laws. According to the Court, the Constitution establishes a system of dual sovereignty where states and the federal government exercise concurrent authority. Giving Congress the power to force states in to service would greatly enhance federal power, and the Court ruled this could not stand.
Sen. Kelli Ward announced Monday that she plans to introduce the Fourth Amendment Protection Act to stop her state from supporting the NSA in its unconstitutional spying.
“While media attention is focused on a possible effort to shut off water to the NSA data center in Utah, I’m introducing the Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act to back our neighbors up,” she said. “Just in case the NSA gets any ideas about moving south, I want them to know the NSA isn’t welcome in Arizona unless it follows the Constitution.”
Based on model legislation drafted by the OffNow coalition, the Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act blocks state support for the NSA through four provisions.
Prohibits state and local agencies from providing any material support to the NSA within their jurisdiction. Includes barring government-owned utilities from providing water and electricity.
Makes information gathered without a warrant by the NSA and shared with law enforcement inadmissible in state court.
Provides sanctions against corporations attempting to fill needs not met in the absence of state cooperation.
Ward called stopping unconstitutional snooping a national security issue.
“I believe the number one priority for national security is defending and protecting the Constitution. Without that, the rest becomes irrelevant. There is no question that the NSA program, as it is now being run, violates the Fourth Amendment. This is a way to stop it.”
Arizona becomes the first state to officially consider the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey says he expects at least four other states to take up the bill early in the 2014 session.
While the NSA does not currently operate a data or “threat operations” center in Arizona, Maharrey said states around the country need to pass similar legislation to make NSA expansion more difficult.
“We know the NSA is aggressively expanding its physical locations, not just in Utah, but in Texas, Hawaii and other states too,” he said. “Since the NSA isn’t transparent about its plans, it’s essential to not only address where it is today, but work to get the rest of the country to say, ‘You’re not welcome here either!’”
Two Arizona state universities have partnerships with the NSA. The Arizona Fourth Amendment Protection Act would address the status of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, Tucson, as NSA “Centers of Academic Excellence.”
Maharrey said he was thrilled with Ward’s decision to introduce the legislation, noting the OffNow coalition strategy was always multi-state.
“Right now, all the talk is all about denying water to the NSA facility in Utah. That’s important, but we hope every state will stand up and say, ‘No!’ to the NSA,” he said. “In Federalist 46, James Madison told us a single state resisting an unwarrantable act could create ‘serious impediments.’ But when several states work in union, he said it would ‘create obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.’ Arizona is an important piece of the obstruction puzzle.”
In a bold move, one think tank is going above the rhetoric and mobilizing a nation to fight back against the NSA. The power of many is derived from the power of one, and Michael Boldin, Executive Director of the Tenth Amendment Center, is one titan the government has pushed too far.
The plan? It’s crazy, and risky. So was the iPhone. Attack the Achilles heel of the NSA. Water.
Shane Trejo, Tenth Amendment Center national campaign director of the #NullifyNSA campaign, provided us with this exclusive interview:
The systemic problem of corruption within the federal government seems like an unstoppable juggernaut. It doesn’t matter which major party is in power, things just keep getting worse.
I think this has been pretty damaging beyond the government policies. Many people seem to have been inflicted with scandal fatigue because of the endless litany of attacks on our rights.
Meanwhile, the Fed keeps inflating, the debt continues to go up, and accountability is nowhere to be seen.
Worse, I get the impression that the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for our current state of affairs keep getting bonuses, praise, or increases in funding.
This is best evidenced by the NSA scandal. That agency has been shown to be, by sheer volume, the greatest violator of rights on the planet. What’s been the result? Business as usual. If anything, they’re intent on escalating their program.
It’s easy to get discouraged because it doesn’t seem like anything can be done. People get angry. They call their representatives, they hold protests and the direction of the country never changes.
Reps. Justin Amash and John Conyers led a bi-partisan effort in the House of Representatives to defund the NSA’s illegal spying operation earlier this year. It was a valiant effort, but it fell short, like virtually every effort to limit federal power.
Simply put, the federal government simply cannot be counted on to regulate itself.
That does not mean reform is impossible. We just have to stop trying the same failed ideas over and over again. Sun Tzu recognized this when he wrote, “He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.” Fighting on their turf – Washington DC, that is – is a battle that cannot be won.
On the other hand, following the advice of Founders like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and modern libertarian thinkers like Tom Woods and Andrew Napolitano, state-level resistance can be a very effective way to thwart the efforts of the NSA.
Under what is known as the ‘anti-commandeering doctrine,’ the federal government cannot force the states to carry out federal programs – or even help the feds do so.
While there are a number of Supreme Court cases backing this up, the most well-known one is the 1997 Printz case. That’s the one where Sheriffs Mack and Printz sued the Clinton administration about being required to carry out the federal gun control scheme known as the Brady Act. They won.
This is how we fight back: Putting this into play against the NSA means passing the 4th Amendment Protection Act in states around the country (model legislation here)
The Act bans the state from assisting the NSA or providing any material support.
For example, in Utah, where the new data center is coming on line, the NSA computers there require a stunning 1.7 million gallons of water per day to keep from overheating. They are already having problems with metldowns at the massive facility, and the water to cool it is being provided by the State of Utah.
Under the 4th Amendment Protection Act, Utah would be banned from doing this. No water = no NSA data center (emphasis added).
But it’s not just Utah. There are similar facilities in Texas, Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Tennessee, Georgia, and West Virginia. There’s 166 Universities around the country that have partnered with NSA as research centers. And local law enforcement has a very symbiotic relationship with warrantless data collected by the NSA. It’s being passed down to locals through the DEA’s Special Operations Division – and back upstream through Fusion Centers.
Passage of the 4th Amendment Protection Act would attack NSA’s needs and spying capabilities at all these strategic points, and more.
We asked if it can work:
Absolutely, 20+ states are slowly, but surely, putting nails in the coffin of federal marijuana prohibition. Other states are taking the same path with industrial hemp production.
In the 1850’s, Northern States were so effective using legislation like this against the Fugitive Slave Act that South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas all complained about it as nullification when issuing statements outlining their reasons for leaving the Union.
The 4th Amendment Protection Act is just the first step of a comprehensive plan to stop the NSA’s mass-spying program. At OffNow.org, we’re building a strong coalition that crosses traditional political lines.
From the Tenth Amendment Center and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, to Antiwar.com, DownsizeDC, and Revolution Truth, we’re focusing on a single goal. Starting today, we’re setting aside differences to push back against the NSA. Working together, we can turn it off (emphasis added).
Boldin tells us in an exclusive interview:
We’re not really trying to convince people that the NSA’s mass surveillance program is wrong. There are millions of people around the world who already agree with this. We are, however, working to show people what to do about it. The solution, as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson advised, starts in the states.
The NSA relies on your state in many ways. Whether it’s information sharing with local law enforcement, partnerships with 166 universities to do research and recruiting for the NSA, or states like Utah providing the water to the NSA data center to keep it operational, passage of the state-level 4th Amendment Protection Act would turn that cooperation off.
Rosa Parks showed the world the power of saying “No”, and now perhaps it is time the world harness such power. The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank focused on nullifying unconstitutional laws from within the states.
Follow Michael Lotfi On Twitter: @MichaelLotfi & Don’t Forget To Tweet: #NullifyNSA
Assembly Bill (AB) 351 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown yesterday. California is the third state to have passed legislation, which nullifies the unpopular federal provision. A selection of AB 351 reads:
The United States Constitution and the California Constitution provide for various civil liberties and other individual rights for a citizen of the United States and the State of California, including the right of habeas corpus, the right to due process, the right to a speedy and public trial, and the right to be informed of criminal charges brought against him or her.
Certain provisions of federal law affirm the authority of the President of the United States to use all necessary and appropriate force to detain specified persons who engaged in terrorist activities.
This bill would prohibit an agency in the State of California, a political subdivision of this state, an employee of an agency or a political subdivision of this state, as specified, or a member of the California National Guard, on official state duty, from knowingly aiding an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of a person within California pursuant to (1) Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), (2) the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in 2001, or (3) any other federal law, except as specified, if the state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the California National Guard would violate the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any law of this state by providing that aid. The bill would also prohibit local entities from knowingly using state funds and funds allocated by the state to those local entities on and after January 1, 2013, to engage in any activity that aids an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in the detention of any person within California for purposes of implementing Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA or the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force , if that activity would violate the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any law of this state, as specified.
The bill’s common name is “The California Liberty Preservation Act.” California’s legislation takes things a step further than other states, which have implemented nullification legislation with regard to the NDAA.
The bill specifically states:
It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within California. (emphasis added)
This meaning the legislation takes aim at not only the NDAA provision, but any federal law, which seeks to disregard one’s constitutional rights.
Democrats and republicans worked together to sponsor and pass the legislation. The bill was introduced by ultra-conservative Tim Donnelly, and managed by San Francisco liberal-democrat Mark Leno.
Nullification has broken barriers in the political world not seen since Reagan won every state in the country in 1984 except Minnesota, home of challenger Mondale (D).
Nullification is able to do this because the federal government has put its hands in far too many pies. Liberals passionate about marijuana legalization and privacy rights find refuge in nullification. Meanwhile, conservatives passionate about the federal reserve, taxes and guns find refuge as well.
Tenth Amendment Center’s national communications director Mike Mike Maharrey tells us-
“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together and passed legislation to protect against federal kidnapping,” adding that, “by saying, ‘No!’ to indefinite detention and refusing any state cooperation, the California legislature and Gov. Brown just ensured it will be very hard to whisk somebody away in the dead of night and hold them without due process.”
This year has played host to a paradigm shift in the Republican Party. That shift has been reflected in headlines again and again. The below list reflects that shift and some other top moments in 2013 conservative politics.
#10 OBAMA TELLS STUDENTS NOT TO CELEBRATE FOURTH OF JULY SATIRE PIECE
A satire piece, which jokingly cited Obama telling students not to celebrate the Fourth of July made headlines around the country last Summer. The piece was published just 2 days before the holiday and went viral. Viewed more than 500k times in only 2 days, many conservatives were enraged when they discovered the story they had shared was in fact satire. As MSN News points out,
“A label at the end of the short article reads in all capital letters: “POLITICAL SATIRE.” But not everyone reads to the end of articles, however short. For every hour Americans spend online, only two minutes is spent reading news, according to Experian, which doesn’t leave much time to absorb details like “satire” labels.“
TheOnion.com ran a satire piece on Kim Jong-Un being the sexiest man alive a few months before this piece ran. Conservatives were delighted when the entire country of North Korea was fooled by the piece. However, when the tables were reversed it wasn’t funny. Perhaps the article taught us a lesson about actually reading versus seeing a 5 word headline and re-posting to our Facebook walls.
#9 OFFICIAL AT CENTER OF IRS SCANDAL PLEADS THE FIFTH
Conservatives knew they were onto something when Lois Lerner, a senior IRS official, took the Fifth claiming that she had nothing to do with the IRS targeting tea party political groups. They kept digging and discovered that Lerner was indeed involved. She had sent emails directly targeting the tea party.
#8 MEET DR. BEN CARSON
Dr. Carson isn’t new to politics, but he made national headlines in his National Prayer Breakfast speech last February when he literally insulted Obama at an event where the President was featured to his face. Dr. Carson has been a household name since, and many are begging the Dr. to run for office.
#7 THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN
A new libertarian leaning stronghold has emerged out of the United States Congress, and in 2013 their voices are being heard. Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) was attacked by Karl Rove, who called him, “The most liberal republican member of Congress.” Rove claimed Amash had the most similar voting record to Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Amash laughed back with facts. The fact is that Amash actually has the least similar voting record to Pelosi than any other member of the House. Rove Recently launched his Conservative Victory Project, which seeks to squash any tea party, libertarian leaning republicans who seek a run for office. Amash is joined by Rep. Thomas Massey (R-KY) who is being painted as Kentucky’s “Next Rand Paul”. United States Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul form the Senate version. Harry Reid (D-NV) recently took to the Senate floor and proclaimed that Congress had been taken over by anarchists. The 5 horsemen are certainly not anarchists. They just aren’t socialists, and that upsets Harry Reid. Headlines around the country read, “Nation Has Arrived At A New Libertarian Movement” and these are its leaders.
#6 WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE
Hillary Clinton, mulling over a presidential bid in 2016, gave conservatives all the ammunition they could ever need to take her down when she shocked the country by saying the talking points made no difference when it came to the Americans who had died in the Benghazi terrorist attack. To politicize Benghazi does no honor to the souls lost, but it’s the American way.
#5 SENATOR TED CRUZ V. SENATOR DIANE FEINSTEN
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy many in the country were calling for stricter gun laws. Democrats capitalized on the incident. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made a name for himself when he infuriated Diane Feinstein (D-CA) with his Texas straight talk. Cruz challenged Fenstein’s knowledge and understanding of the Constitution to which she responded:
“I’m not a sixth grader,” said Feinstein. “Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years. I was a mayor for nine years. I walked in, I saw people shot. I’ve looked at bodies that have been shot with these weapons. I’ve seen the bullets that implode. In Sandy Hook, youngsters were dismembered. Look, there are other weapons. I’ve been up — I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it.”
#4 Plead The Tenth
Nullification has experienced a recent renaissance in America. The Tenth Amendment Center, the driving force behind the rebirth of American nullification, has come under attack from mainstream democrats and republicans.
Michael Boldin, executive director, tells us:
“If you’re not catching any flak, you’re not over the target. Nullification is definitely over the target with the establishment on both the left and right using the same talking points to attack it. But truth seems to catch on, and the nullification movement keeps growing no matter what these people throw at us.”
It is the mission of the Tenth Amendment Center to pull back the hand of the federal government and return power to the states, which is where the Constitution delegates it. Polls show that more than 1/2 of Americans now support nullification.
#3 Ron Paul Retires From Congress
The man who quite literally started a revolution retired from Congress this year. Many heavy hearts watched his farewell speech and were sad to see him leave. Paul blatantly called his colleagues crooks to their faces, which they all applauded to by time the speech was over. It was quite comical.
#1 “I will speak, until I can no longer speak.” -The Rand Paul Filibuster
My number one pick for conservative politics in 2013 so far was the Rand Paul filibuster. There’s no need to go into details about the filibuster as it made headlines around the world, and if you don’t know about it then you probably aren’t alive. Rand Paul became a viral sensation around the world that night. The 13 hour filibuster was front page news everywhere you looked. Paul trended to the top of Twitter, Facebook and Google. He also generated a new campaign slogan #StandWithRand. The “Stand With x Candidate” slogan has now been used in just about every republican campaign for the upcoming election. Even the establishment likes it. Except John McCain and Lindsey Graham of course who called Paul a wacko bird. Paul’s bone-chilling 13 hour speech captured the hearts and minds of the world, and many believe it is why he now sits at the top of the 2016 GOP Presidential polls.
Stay tuned and in 2014 I will update the list to include the Top 20 moments for the year.
As states continue to nullify federal laws against marijuana and hemp, the federal government has been faced with an important question. It’s been more than 75 years, and marijuana and hemp still remain illegal. Never mind the total lack of reasoning behind the federal government’s ban. Is it time to end the law?
Less than 24 hours ago, it all came crashing down. According to the Associated Press, the justice department said that states can allow citizens to use the drug, license people to grow it and allow them to purchase it in stores. As long as the drug is kept away from the black market, children and federal property– It’s a go!
“The genie is out of the bottle and she won’t ever go back in. The feds have lost and they know it. No matter how Holder and the DEA couch their words in an attempt to maintain an illusion of control, state actions continue to effectively nullify these unconstitutional marijuana laws.“
When asked if the federal government just essentially legalized marijuana Maharrey responded:
“The announcement makes it clear the feds have no will to fight the states on weed. They can call it an “illegal drug” all they want, but if they can’t, or won’t, stop people from using marijuana, their “law” means nothing.”
The recent surge in nullification has sent states fighting against the federal government on pot use. It would seem that the federal government just gave up. A major victory for the states- no doubt.