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Entries in Constitution (139)

Thursday
May172012

Shea-Porter For Congress - Frank Guinta votes against victims of violence

New Hampshire- Today, former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, who is running for Congress in the First Congressional District, released the following statement.

“Today, Congressman Frank Guinta voted for a weakened, partisan version of The Violence Against Women Act that leaves out vital protections for victims of abuse. He rejected pleas from hundreds of religious, civic, humanitarian, and law enforcement organizations and sharply limited protections for gay, immigrant, and Native American victims of violence. Frank Guinta even refused to vote for a motion that would have prevented a suspected batterer from being notified of a victim's efforts to seek assistance from law enforcement. Mr. Guinta was the only member of the New Hampshire Delegation who found stronger protections for victims of violence unacceptable.” 

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Carol Shea-Porter for Congress
P.O. Box 453
Rochester, NH 03866

www.sheaporter.com

Monday
Apr302012

Heritage - Saving America From Failure

We've witnessed the struggles of the American economy and the government attempts to intervene and "fix" things. Heritage research and recent history confirms what conservatives always have known, which is that government programs are not the solution, they are the problem. This fall America will send a new batch of leaders to Washington who will hopefully arrive with a plan to get government out of the way and allow American ingenuity and entrepreneurship to provide a real and sustained recovery.

 

What Would It Take For America to Fail?
An organization called FreeMarketAmerica.org has created a series of videos explaining how important free markets are to sustaining and growing American prosperity. One video cites Heritage's Index of Economic Freedom when describing our nation's multi-year economic slide. The most popular video, entitled "If I wanted America to fail," articulates what an administration might hypothetically do to inflict the greatest economic harm on the country.

 

Are Companies Too Big or Too Small To Fail?
The current debate on Capitol Hill is over whether small post offices should be closed in order to cut costs for the beleaguered USPS. Will the agency cut costs and innovate or become an even larger encumbrance on the taxpayer by sustaining tiny post offices for the sake of nostalgia? James Gattuso tackles the issue in a recent Issue Brief on regulation.

 

Now Online: A Clause-By-Clause Guide to the Constitution
Heritage just launched an online version of The Heritage Guide to the Constitution that provides a brief and accurate explanation of each clause of the Constitution. Three key benefits of the online format are: the content is completely searchable, the website provides links to Heritage research papers and analysis, and free access to the entire book makes it an attractive teaching companion. This tool will help American citizens and lawmakers develop a deeper understanding of what the Constitution really means, so please spread the word about ConstitutionOnline.com through your social networks.


New Insider Magazine: Obamacare vs. Liberty
The spring edition of Heritage's quarterly magazine The Insider has just been released with a brand new look! This issue features an article entitled "Obamacare vs. Liberty." Visit InsiderOnline to download your PDF copy today.

 
National Standards Say: "I'm From the Government & I'm Here to Help"
The federal government is using a combination of carrots and sticks to encourage states to sign on to the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Relying on government bureaucrats in Washington, DC to know what's best for your child is never a good idea.  Learn why Heritage education expert Lindsey Burke rejects the idea of federal standards and what we should do about it in her Backgrounder on the subject.

The Values Bus Tour
The next leg of the bus tour swings through Colorado. In June the bus will visit Wisconsin. For detailed tour dates and information please visit www.ValuesBus.com.
Thursday
Apr192012

CEI Today: Highway bill, Upside-Down Constitution, and the Water Desalinization Act 

HIGHWAY BILL - MARC SCRIBNER

CEI.org: Highway Bill Needs Real Reform, Not Politics as Usual

The House is set to consider yet another extension of 2005’s SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law. The current extension, which is the tenth since the law expired in 2009, is set to expire on June 30.

While the purpose of tomorrow’s
Rules Committee hearing is ostensibly to enact another extension to continue existing highway program funding through the rest of Fiscal Year 2012, proponents of the Senate-passed MAP-21 bill are working overtime to push their deeply flawed legislation into conference.  > View more on CEI.org


> Interview Marc Scribner

 

GOV'T WASTE - WAYNE CREWS


CEI.org: Tuesday testimony before the House Water & Power Subcommittee, on Reauthorization of the Water Desalination Act of 2011

 

Occasionally the problem confronting research isn’t market failure but the failure to have markets. “Doing something” about legitimate water needs is not the same as spending money and initiating research and education. When linking research to human needs and promoting infrastructure, capital markets trump the legislative process  — or if not, policy should shift to ensure that they can.

Interestingly, the dollars allocated in the various federal desalination acts over the decades seems to total perhaps a few billion. But removing barriers to private researchand manufacturing could yield far greater gains than relying upon appropriations that invite rent-seeking and that may threaten safety improvements.  
> Read the full testimony and analysis on CEI.org


> Interview Wayne Crews, author of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State

 


Video: The Fred Weekly

Fred Smith reviews Michael Greve's book, The Upside-Down Constitution, and explains why America may be experiencing another "Constitutional" moment today much like our founding fathers.

 


Also featuring...

Ambulance Chasers Feast on Americans with Disabilities Act Claims

Tuesday
Apr032012

CACR 26 Would Rein-In Judicial Overreach and Restore the Balance of Power to the People of New Hampshire

BLATANT CASES OF JUDICIAL ABUSE AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL RULES
SIGNAL NEED FOR CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT


KEENE, N.H.—Two state representatives and a former police officer are calling attention to the apparent abuse of power by a New Hampshire district court judge and other officials around him in an effort to showcase the need for a constitutional amendment, specifically CACR 26, which is designed to rein-in judicial authority and is now headed for the Senate after the House passed it last week.
 
In addition, a recent memo from Attorney General Michael Delaney about the August 2011 Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Glik decision, which explained that citizens have a right to video and audio record public officials when they are working, further showcases the need for the Legislative Branch to take back its authority from N.H. courts. The state courts are currently violating the Glik decision with Superior Court Rule 78, which restricts video and audio recording in the court room, and they have arrested several citizens on contempt charges for violating this rule. By adopting CACR 26, the Legislature would be able to take corrective action and ensure that the courts allow video and audio recording of their proceedings, which will ensure accountability to the people.

“We’ve seen judges write orders that directly violate the constitution’s freedom-of-speech, freedom-of-the-press or right-to-bear-arms provisions, and because of Part 2, Article 73-a of the constitution, those orders have the full ‘force and effect of law’ and put innocent people in jail,” said State Rep. George Lambert, R-Hills. 27. “I want to see us return to the New Hampshire I learned about in school, where judges make decisions that protect the rights of people based on the clear language of the state constitution. Passing CACR 26 is necessary to help restore the constitution’s original meaning so the Legislature can hold the courts in check.”

The N.H. House passed CACR 26 last week, and now the language moves on to the Senate. If adopted by the People, CACR 26 would restore the Legislature’s full authority to control law-making in New Hampshire and restore Legislative authority over the administrative rule-making of the Judicial Branch in a system similar to RSA 541-A, which governs the rule-making ability of the Executive Branch.

Specifically, the amendment would repeal Part 2, Article 73-a of the N.H. Constitution, which the courts have used in many cases since the article’s enactment in 1978 to protect judges’ assumed authority within the courtroom and beyond to advance rules that have the “force and effect of law.” Because 73-a makes the Chief Justice the “administrative head of all the courts,” there is concern that the Supreme Court can interpret the article as authorization to control the Legislature, which is also known as the “General Court.” CACR 26 would help restore the separation of powers required by Part 1, Article 37 of the N.H. Constitution.

Former Police Officer Bradley Jardis of Dover, N.H., is now acting as Attorney-in-Fact for Jason Talley of Keene, N.H., a journalist who was arrested for wearing a camera on his belt into a courtroom after a judge issued rules under Article 73-a that said no cameras carried by members of the public were allowed into the building. Talley argues that he was carrying the camera as part of his Part 1, Article 22 N.H. Constitutional right to the freedom of the press, a freedom that was recently upheld by the August 2011 Glik decision in the First Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Yet, because the New Hampshire rules on cameras have the apparent “force and effect of law” under Article 73-a, Talley was arrested on charges of contempt, among other charges. The trial is scheduled for later this month.

In the meantime, Jardis has attempted to spread the word across the state about the Glik decision, which police departments and New Hampshire courts are routinely violating. In one recent videotaped situation, Jardis helped educate Hudson Police officers about the decision. His efforts have been so successful, Attorney General Michael Delaney sent a memo to all of the state’s County Attorneys and Law Enforcement Agencies alerting them to the implications of the Glik decision.

Jardis isn’t stopping with the apparent abuse inherent in Talley’s case, however. He noted how the court rules regarding cameras that led to Mr. Talley’s arrest surfaced just three days after Keene District Court Judge Edward Burke was filmed on tape asking a Bailiff to arrest Adam Mueller of Keene for threatening him. Mr. Mueller spent two days in jail as a result of Burke’s accusation under RSA 640:3(b), Improper Influence. The problem with Burke’s assertion is that Mueller’s videotape shows the videographer simply asking the judge questions. On the video, Mueller politely asks Judge Burke about the judge’s decision to jail Beau Davis of Keene for five days on a contempt charge for simply refusing to remove his hat in Burke’s courtroom (view the separate video about the hat incident). Mueller is heard asking on the video, “Do you think people want to pay for someone to be in jail for five days for wearing a hat? It’s kind of ridiculous to waste taxpayer money on that, don’t you think?”

After his arrest, Mueller attempted to pursue Burke on a charge of False Reports to Law Enforcement under RSA 641:4, I, but that charge was never brought. Mueller says the event is a clear sign of a double standard when it comes to public officials. In his video chronicling the incident, he notes that he has a friend currently serving six months in jail for doing the same thing Burke was filmed doing.

“I typically do not like the activism tactics of some of the people who confront Judge Burke and other officials in the Keene area, but as a former police officer, I find it inexcusable that government officials think they can get away with treating people so poorly simply because they are politically unpopular or annoying,” Jardis said. “I am willing to stake my reputation on this issue because I truly believe it is the right thing to do. After seeing this, it’s definitely time to repeal 73-a and rebalance government authority so it protects the rights of the People.”

Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Merrimack 13, who has been involved with Jardis’s latest efforts to call attention to judicial abuse, noted the recent action of Judge Timothy Vaughan in Grafton Superior Court in December. At the time, Judge Vaughan issued a restraining order against Bradley Jardis and Tommy Mozingo, and anyone associated with them, prohibiting them from lawfully carrying weapons onto any campus of the University System of New Hampshire under penalty of contempt. The judge also ordered Jardis and Mozingo to post a copy of the restraining order on a specific Web site, a violation of their freedom of speech.

“With 73-a in place, judges are assuming unbridled powers to order people to do practically anything they want them to do, and they are jailing many peaceful dissenters,” Hoell said. “This is a clear sign that the constitution needs amendment to fix this. At the same time, if we cannot amend the constitution, it may be time for the House to introduce charges of impeachment. It is clear to me that some judges are abusing the authority delegated to them, and their abuses include but are not limited to corruption, malpractice and maladministration.”

Tuesday
Mar272012

NRO Editorial: Obamacare is “an offense against constitutional government”

A new NRO editorial, The Constitution and Obamacare,” states the federal law now being considered by the Supreme Court is “an unprecedented infringement on Americans’ liberty” and “an offense against constitutional government.”

The complete text of the editorial follows. It can also be found on National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/294370/constitution-vs-obamacare-editors.

For further information contact National Review Publisher Jack Fowler at jfowler@nationalreview.com.

The Constitution vs. Obamacare

By The Editors

The Supreme Court this week is hearing arguments about some specific, grave constitutional concerns about Obamacare: most prominently, whether the federal government has the power to order all Americans to purchase health insurance that meets the federal government’s standards. But it is worth taking a few steps back to remind ourselves that while this requirement is an unprecedented infringement on Americans’ liberty, the legislation as a whole — in its conception, not just its details — is an offense against constitutional government. As is much of modern government, and conservatives should not shrink from saying so.

The Constitution provides few and defined powers to the federal government, as James Madison put it. The precise scope of those powers has always been subject to debate, but that the description does not apply to today’s federal government cannot seriously be denied. The Constitution divides power among the branches of the federal government: But today’s government features countless agencies that combine executive, legislative, and judicial functions. The Constitution’s structure and logic militate against commingling state and federal powers. Today’s government includes vast state-federal spending programs in which the division of responsibility is blurred by design. These are not merely formal deviations from the constitutional template. They subvert its goals of liberty for citizens, accountability for governments, and security for property. What is needed today, then, is not so much the protection of constitutional government as its reclamation. The courts have an indispensable role to play in that project, but it will also necessarily involve shrewd and patient political action.

It is in the context of an already hypertrophied government that the discrete-yet-momentous legal controversies over Obamacare should be judged. As the plaintiffs contend, a federal mandate would expand federal powers still further, and in a way that does not admit of any principled limit. It would mean that the federal government would have the kind of general police power that has heretofore been considered a monopoly of the states. Thus even someone who believes today’s administrative state to be broadly in accordance with the Constitution should balk at the mandate.

The federal government has the power to regulate commerce among the states, but that power neither includes nor implies the authority to force individuals to purchase particular products. If it is read to include or imply that authority, then it must surely follow that the federal government may institute a compulsory calisthenic program for all Americans. The administration argues that an individual’s decision not to purchase health insurance has an effect, however minute, on health markets nationally, and that such decisions when aggregated have a large effect. But of course the same is true of individuals’ decisions to remain sedentary or eat too many sweets.

The mandate cannot be justified, either, under the Constitution’s grant of authority to Congress to make all laws “necessary and proper for carrying” its legitimate powers “into execution.” The mandate is not necessary to execute Obamacare’s insurance regulations. It is necessary only to stop some of their unwanted effects. Obamacare requires insurers to offer the same policies at the same prices to the sick and the healthy alike. Absent a mandate, that regulation will cause insurance premiums to rocket skyward. But regulatory folly cannot itself be a source of additional constitutional authority. Nor can a blunt command to citizens be a “proper” method of executing a regulation.

That should close the constitutional case. But we need not worry that the Constitution has barred us from adopting a policy indispensable to solving the problems of American health care. The mandate is supposedly a measure to reduce cost-shifting by the uninsured, and the insurance regulations to help those with pre-existing conditions get insurance. But there are less intrusive, and indisputably constitutional, ways to address these concerns. A deregulatory program would reduce cost-shifting by making it easier for the uninsured to purchase coverage, and enable people to keep their insurance while sick by making them rather than their employers the owners of their policies.

Democrats chose to include the mandate in the bill because, notwithstanding its unpopularity, it was more politically expedient than other ways to reach their goals. That calculation does not make it constitutional. It does, however, suggest that the legislation would never have passed without the mandate. The provisions interlock, and they must either stay or go together. A proper understanding of the Constitution compels them to go — and that should remain conservatives’ goal whatever the Court does.

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