Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Constitution

The Supreme Court Gets it Right on the First Amendment

First Amendment rally (Union Square, New York ...

Calling it the “most significant religious liberty decision in two decades,” the New York Times announced the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “ministerial exception” whereby churches and other religious organizations are exempt from governmental interference in their hiring and firing practices.

In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the Court said that churches have an overriding “interest…in choosing who will preach their beliefs, teach their faith and carry out their mission.”

The case started when a teacher at a Lutheran school in Redford, Michigan was fired for threatening to sue the school over an alleged discrimination violation. Cheryl Perich was diagnosed with narcolepsy and took a leave of absence. When she tried to return, she learned that the school had hired someone else to take her place. When she threatened a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act, she was fired for

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Ron Paul Primary Results: the Rest of the Story

English: Texas Congressman at CPAC in .

The exit polls following the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary showed something remarkable that somehow missed the evening news: Paul consistently won the votes of the young, the disaffected, the independent, as well as discouraged Democrats. CNN’s exit polls in New Hampshire showed Paul winning almost half the voters aged 18-29 (compared to Romney’s 26 percent), and splitting the vote with Romney in the 30-to-39 age bracket. Paul also won 35 percent of unmarried voters, 40 percent of those who had never voted in a primary before, one-third of the independent vote, and nearly half of those with no religious affiliation. He also took a third of those who characterized themselves as “somewhat liberal” in their outlook.

These results were startlingly similar to the results of exit polls taken following the Iowa caucuses: Paul won the majority of voters under age 40. By age bracket, Paul won 50 percent of caucus-goers aged 17-24, 45 percent of those between age 25 and 29, and a third of those in the 30-to-39 age bracket.

Paul’s press secretary, Gary Howard, tried to explain this phenomenon: “Congressman Paul has a strong and consistent message that resonates with a wide range of people, but young people in particular appreciate his honesty and his character. They realize the mess that the establishment status quo politicians have put us in, and recognize that

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Family Research Council: Individual Mandate Unconstitutional, Thus Whole Law

English: cartoon version of an ambulance

On Monday the Family Research Council (FRC) filed a “friend of the court” (amicus curiae) brief with the Supreme Court that makes its case that if the mandate forcing citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty is ruled unconstitutional, then the entire 2,700-page Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care law should be thrown out as well.

The brief, co-authored by two attorneys, Ken Klukowski and Nelson Lund, called the hotly contested mandate the “linchpin” for the entire law and if it fails, the whole massive superstructure fails with it. Klukowski stated:

After almost two years of impassioned debate, Obamacare will finally have its day before the Supreme Court. The “individual mandate” in Obamacare that requires all Americans to have health insurance is unconstitutional. And for the reasons we explain in this brief, 135 years of Supreme Court precedent show that this is one of those rare instances where striking down the individual-mandate provision requires the Court to strike down this entire 2,700-page law.

We have high hopes that the Supreme Court will recognize that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, and will act to safeguard the freedoms of all Americans by holding the individual mandate “nonseverable,” and strike down every part of Obamacare.

There is no “severability” clause in ObamaCare—it was deliberately left out during negotiations between the House and the Senate—which means that if part of the law is deemed unconstitutional,

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Arrogant ATF Makes Up Rules As It Goes Along

ATF inspector at a federally licensed gun dealer

Robert E. Sanders, a former ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) official for 24 years and now a board member of the National Rifle Association, complained that the ATF’s practice of issuing “private letter rulings” on what constitutes a “weapon” are not only confusing but often arbitrary and even contradictory.

The main reason is that the regulations under which the ATF operates aren’t defined and therefore are subject to interpretation and modification:

It is hard to tell what ATF wants you do to without submitting your product and asking for a letter ruling. You can’t tell what the agency has said in the past to others, because those letter rulings are generally secret. How could somebody know how to comply with the law?

Len Savage, the owner of Historic Arms in Georgia, found out the hard way about the ATF’s capriciousness, and it cost him $500,000. Savage is a firearms designer and manufacturer and was told by the ATF in July 2005 that he could convert machine guns legally owned by collectors into belt-fed weapons. After investing in the tools and machinery to make the conversions, he received another letter from the ATF in April 2006 saying that “upon reconsideration” it was rescinding its previous approval. Savage said the ATF “follows no rhyme or reason” calling it “enforcement by ambush.”

The ATF said it was just following the rules in its National Firearms Act Handbook, to wit: “classifications are subject to change if later determined to be erroneous or impacted by subsequent changes in the law or regulations.” Since those regulations are written by the ATF, their explanation is

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Whirlpool Asks for Mercantilism, Forces Consumers to Pay More

Whirlpool Corporation

One of the ways that Whirlpool Corporation celebrated its 100th anniversary last year was to file petitions against two of its main South Korean competitors for “dumping” washing machines onto the market on Black Friday. Whirlpool claimed that Samsung was selling their 3.7 cubic-foot top-loading washing machines at a wholesale price of $363.18, way below the $751.46 Whirlpool says it would cost them to make the same product. Consequently, Samsung and LG Electronics sold thousands of their washers over the Black Friday weekend, taking substantial market share away from Whirlpool.

In its complaint, Whirlpool demanded an investigation into their rivals’ practice of “dumping” washers at prices that Whirlpool couldn’t match, and then demanded sanctions—tariffs—against the offending competitors and their products.

It’s worked before. Last March Whirlpool filed a similar petition about their competitors dumping high-end refrigerators and the Commerce Department agreed, applying a 37-percent duty on

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Obama’s Anti-Gun Agenda Remains Alive and Well

Barack Obama

Barack Obama (Photo credit: jamesomalley)

On March 30 of last year, President Obama dropped in to greet Sarah Brady, who was meeting with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. Sarah is the wife of Jim Brady, the former White House Press Secretary under Reagan, who was shot but not killed in an assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. The Bradys subsequently became strong supporters of gun control. According to Brady, the President brought up the issue of gun control “to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda. [The President said,] ‘I just want you to know that we are working on [additional limits on gun ownership]. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar.'”

Thanks to the efforts of freedom advocates such as John Lott, Obama’s efforts to stay under the radar are now glistening in the sunlight. Lott reviewed an unsettling and lengthy list of Obama’s “processes,” starting with the President’s intention to ignore at least 20 parts of the 2012 omnibus spending bill that he signed into law last week. Using the controversial and likely unconstitutional “signing statements,” Obama said, “I have advised Congress that I will not construe these provisions as preventing me from fulfilling my constitutional responsibility…such measures as I shall judge necessary and expedient.” Buried in the 1,200-page bill was a restriction that bars health officials from using taxpayer funds to lobby for gun control. To rub it in, Obama iterated his position: “Our spending decisions shall not be treated as dependent on the approval of congressional committees.” In plain English, the President just told Congress to go jump—he was going to do what he wanted to do, regardless.

Lott noted that Obama’s Interior Department just issued new administrative rules that threatened the use of public lands for recreational shooting. The language of the new regulations reads in part: 

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Oath Keepers Launches Effort to Recall Members of Congress

Oath Keepers 1_2

In response to the passage by the House and the Senate of the National Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 (NDAA), Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, announced a national effort to recall every member who voted for the act.

Oath Keepers was founded by Rhodes to encourage current members of the military services and veterans to keep their oath to protect and defend the Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Members commit to following certain “orders we will not obey,” including, as especially relevant to NDAA, Number Three:

We will NOT obey any order to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to trial by military tribunal.

One of the causes of the American Revolution was the denial of the right to jury trial, the use of admiralty courts (military tribunals) instead, and the application of the laws of war to the colonists. After that experience, and being well aware of the infamous Star Chamber in English history, the Founders ensured that the international laws of war would apply only to foreign enemies, not to the American people. Thus, the Article III Treason Clause establishes the only constitutional form of trial for an American, not serving in the military, who is accused of making war on his own nation. Such a trial for treason must be before a civilian jury, not a tribunal.

The international laws of war do not trump our Bill of Rights. We reject as illegitimate any such claimed power, as did the Supreme Court in Ex Parte Milligan (1865). Any attempt to apply the laws of war to American civilians, under any pretext, such as against domestic “militia” groups the government brands “domestic terrorists,” is an act of war and an act of treason.

What appears to be reasonable on the surface is complicated by the actual “Oath of Enlistment” sworn by members of the military, to wit:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Oath Keepers has taken the position that when the President gives an order not in compliance with the Constitution, their members should

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Supreme Court Just Might Upset Rent Controls in New York City

Central Park

When R.S. Radford, a principal attorney for the public interest law firm Pacific Legal Foundation, learned about the ruling against a property owner suffering under New York City’s rent control laws, he appealed the case to the Supreme Court. At issue in the case, Harmon v. Markus, is whether James and Jeanne Harmon, the owners of a handsome brownstone near Central Park, are entitled to relief from the city’s onerous rent control laws that force them to accept lower-than-market rents from three of their renters.

Harmon filed the original lawsuit against the chair of the Rent Guidelines Board claiming that the rent control laws violated his Fifth Amendment rights under the Constitution’s “taking” clause. (“No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”) When he was denied, he appealed, claiming that he had been denied the right of due process under the 14th Amendment. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit dismissed it out of hand, and that’s when Pacific Legal jumped in.

Radford explained why his firm was involved: “Jim Harmon and his wife own a building in New York City that has some rent controlled units that are occupied, apparently, by fairly affluent tenants, and he simply can’t use the property the way he would like to.” Harmon indicated that he would eventually like to pass the building on to his children and grandchildren but the regulations limit his rights as a property owner to do so.

The three units in question are renting for about 40 percent of fair market rents and the renters have long since outstayed the terms of

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Bill of Rights Day: Celebration or Mourning?

English: The Bill of Rights, the first ten ame...

The Cato Institute’s newspaper ad reminding citizens that December 15th was Bill of Rights Day summarized the desperate shape those first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States is in, thanks to an overweening government and an uninformed citizenry. Reviewing each of the amendments, Cato pointed  to specific infringements of each of them, concluding that “It’s a disturbing picture, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” [to totalitarian government].

The erection of the original “parchment barrier,” the Bill of Rights, was initially considered unnecessary because the language of the Constitution explicitly enumerated limited powers to the newly created government and why should further protections against powers not even granted be needed? As “Brutus,” one of the authors of the Anti-Federalist Papers, wrote: 

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Institute for Justice: Licensing Tour Guides is Unconstitutional

Tour guide at Paul Revere's Grave, Boston MA

In its press release on Tuesday the Institute for Justice announced it is going to bat for the freedom of tour guides in New Orleans to speak. The city currently has a law in place that says that “no person shall offer to act as a sightseeing tour guide on the roads, sidewalks, public spaces, or waterways of [the city] unless the person holds a valid sightseeing tour guide license.” Violation of the ordinance can result in a fine up to $300 and five months in jail.

Matt Miller, the lead attorney in the case brought by the public interest firm, stated firmly that “the government cannot be in the business of deciding who may speak and who may not. The Constitution protects your right to communicate for a living, whether you are a journalist, a musician or a tour guide.”

Under the law being challenged in court, freedom of speech isn’t free as obtaining a license to speak requires tour guides to take and pass a history exam, undergo a drug test and submit to an FBI criminal background check — every two years. Candance Kagan, the lead plaintiff in the case, survived Hurricane Katrina, but says now “I’m being knocked out of business again, this time by the city I love.”

The Institute for Justice has been fighting battles like these for 20 years with a remarkable, and reassuring, degree of success. They have a similar case pending in Washington, D.C. where local laws make it illegal for

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Government Dependency Reaches Pandemic Levels

English: Scanned image of author's US Social S...

Conservative economist Robert Higgs‘ warnings about the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Dependence on Government were already outdated when they were published on Thursday. The updated statistics from Heritage for 2011, published the next day, showed the situation in the United States to be even worse than Higgs warned.

Higgs noted that the so-called “ruling class” (taken from Angelo Codevilla’s book of the same name) is a tiny percentage of the total population in the country, and has in the past only been able to maintain its legitimacy through vote-buying and mainstream media credibility. The fear of the ruling class has always been that dissatisfaction and distrust would result in their expulsion from the seats of power. But Higgs notes that now there are so many Americans dependent upon the government for their very subsistence that resistance to the tyranny of the ruling class is being increasingly neutralized.

The more dependent the citizens become on their government, the less influence they are likely to have in any substantial downsizing of that government: 

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Harvard Professor Calls OWS Protesters “Inchoate”

#OWS 3,000 strong to defend wall street

After being asked about the walkout of a few of his students from his Economics 10 class on November 2, Harvard professor Greg Mankiw responded with an open letter in the New York Times. The walkout involved only about 30 or 40 of the 750 students who usually attend, he noted. In addition, some other students entered his class as a “counter protest,” and at least one of the original protesters returned to his class because he didn’t want to miss his lecture.

His biggest disappointment, he said, was “at how poorly informed the…protesters seemed to be. As with much of the Occupy movement across the country, their complaints seemed to me to be a grab bag of anti-establishment platitudes without much hard-headed analysis or clear policy prescriptions.” He allowed that perhaps the protesters “were motivated by an inchoate feeling that standard economic theory is inherently slanted.” (Emphasis added.)

“Inchoate” is defined as “imperfectly formed or formulated.” And indeed that is the proper descriptor of the Occupy Wall Street movement. From its de facto website one learns such “anti-establishment platitudes” as

OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations…. [OWS] aims to fight back against

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The Story Behind the Best- and Worst-Run States

Seal of Wyoming

In its second annual survey of the best- and worst-run states, 24/7 Wall St. noted some significant changes but the same message: “States can do a great deal to control their fate.”

The report noted:

Well-run states have a great deal in common with well-run corporations. Books are kept balanced. Investment is prudent. Debt is sustainable. Innovation is prized. Workers are well-chosen and well-trained. Executives, including elected and appointed officials, are retained based on merit and not politics.

Based on data collected from numerous sources such as Standard & Poor’s, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Tax Foundation24/7 Wall St. then ranked each state on its performance in 10 categories. The study concluded that the best-run state was

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Institute for Justice Celebrates 20 Years of “Litigating for Liberty”

Institute for Justice

Economist and conservative commentator Don Boudreaux attended the opening of the Institute for Justice (IJ) on September 10, 1991, and thought to himself at that time that “it sounded like a good idea.” Looking back at what IJ has accomplished since then, Boudreaux says, “IJ’s success over the past two decades is nothing short of phenomenal.”

At the ceremony marking the beginning of IJ, co-founder Clint Bolick spelled out exactly what they intended to do, and recognized the enormous changes in the way of their doing it. IJ is going to be focused, he said, on “removing barriers to opportunity and helping low-income people earn their share of the American Dream.” For instance:

Little Devon Williams, who was able to escape the cesspool of the Milwaukee Public Schools and instead get a good education in an excellent neighborhood private school, thanks to

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Market Economy Now a Game of Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette (game show)

Four of MF Global’s former clients have made public their experiences with the failed financial derivatives broker, each of them losing their money and two of them their businesses as a result of MF Global’s bankruptcy.

One, a commodity trading advisor who wishes to remain anonymous, described her experience when she first learned that MF Global was in trouble:

At first, as I heard, I was quite relaxed because I thought we’ve been through this a number of times in the industry. Usually the client has the opportunity to move [her] accounts—it just gets moved. [But] I knew on Monday something was fishy when they turned off my terminal…. Later in the day when [my] funds were frozen—that had never happened before. And then I knew that we were in trouble, because things were not happening in the way they were supposed to happen…. This was unprecedented.

Not only did she lose $100,000 of her own money, she lost her business as well, with three of her major European clients telling her that they never

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Liberty University Allows Concealed Carry on Campus

Students for Concealed Carry on Campus

Lynchburg, Virginia‘s Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced a change in policy that now allows students, staff, and visitors with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on campus. He commented that the new policy “adds to the security and safety of the campus and it’s a good thing. If something—God forbid—ever happened like what happened at Virginia Tech, there would be more than just our police officers who would be able to deal with it.” He added, “I think it’s consistent for a school, for a student body that’s strongly in favor of the Second Amendment…to have policies that are at least as lenient as a number of other universities.”

Although the new policy still prevents students from carrying guns into dormitories and classrooms, and those who do decide to carry on campus must pass a background check in addition to meeting Virginia’s requirements for a concealed weapon permit, Liberty senior Craig Storrs, who heads up the local chapter of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, was ecstatic: 

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Options After the Supercommittee Failure

Newly Released Superman Returns Logo

Barring a miracle, the Supercommittee will announce Monday morning its failure at coming up with legislation to reduce the projected combined federal budget deficits over 10 years by $1.2 trillion, or $120 billion per year, starting in January 2013. Without enactment of these cuts, under the Budget Control Act the automatic option, called a sequester, will kick in, with $600 billion of the $1.22 trillion in cuts coming from defense spending. Social Security, Medicaid, and other low-income programs are exempt from the cuts, and cuts to Medicare would be modest.

Of course, there is the slim possiblity that the Supercommittee could come up with the cuts, in which case Congress would be expected to vote the legislation up or down without amendment. There are other possibilities too. The Supercommittee could “split the baby” and come up with a bipartisan deal that cuts less than the $1.2 trillion, leaving Congress to find the balance before the automatic cuts kick in. The Supercommittee could even hand Congress a package that includes tax increases as well as spending cuts.

But as of this writing, these possibilities appear unlikely. What appears more likely to happen is that, following a failure of the Supercommittee to present a bill, Congress will

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Gaming the Taxpayer-Funded Clean Energy System

Burn Money

Green Energy

The increase in federal subsidies for clean energy development from $17 billion in 2007 to $37 billion in 2010 has resulted in a “gold-rush mentality” among developers, according to the New York Times.

One of the primary beneficiaries of the rush to feed at the golden trough is David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, who exclaimed that this was a once-in-a-generation opportunity: “We intend to do as much of this business we can get our hands on. I have never seen anything…in my 20 years in the power industry that involved less risk than these projects. [We are] just filling the desert with [solar] panels.”

Crane was joined by Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve, another company enjoying federal subsidies, who said, “It is like building a hotel, where you know in advance you are going to have 100 percent room occupancy for 25 years.”

NRG Energy’s massive solar panel development, California Valley Solar Ranch, consists of nearly one million solar panels that will, according to proponents, produce enough electricity, on clear days, to power 100,000 homes (at least for a couple of hours each day when the sun is near its peak, and if those numbers aren’t being gamed). It also consists of massive subsidies from

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Solyndra Just the Tip of the Alternative Energy Iceberg

Solar Panels

In late October White House Chief of Staff William Daley ordered a complete review of all loan guarantees the Department of Energy has made to various energy projects. The review “is a tacit acknowledgement that the loan program [that supported the now-bankrupt energy company Solyndra]…has raised enough internal concern that an outside assessment is necessary…”, according the Washington Post.

While the review is supposed to take 60 days and will no doubt be an attempt to whitewash failed efforts by the government to jumpstart the economy through its support of the green industry, a look at past efforts is more than sufficient to conclude that such “investments” are more properly labeled “boondoggles” and an enormous waste of taxpayer money.

The spin on the review is already in. When Daley named Herbert Allison, a former assistant Treasury secretary, to head it up, he said:

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Niall Ferguson Ignores God-Given Rights

Crop of Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson, professor at Harvard and the London School of Economics, summarized his latest book, Civilization: The West and the Rest for Newsweek magazine’s The Daily Beast by stating that he is not a “declinist” but is instead expecting an imminent collapse of the United States. He wrote: “I really don’t believe the United States…is in some kind of gradual, inexorable decline…. …in my view, civilizations don’t rise…and then gently decline, as inevitably and predictably as the four seasons…. History isn’t one smooth, parabolic curve after another. Its shape is more like an exponentially steepening slope that quite suddenly drops off like a cliff.”

As evidence Ferguson points to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, which was built over a hundred years and collapsed in less than ten. He notes that the Roman Empire collapsed in just a few decades in the early fifth century, while the Ming dynasty ended with frightening speed in the mid-17th century.

He tries to explain why the West, and especially and specifically the United States, is set up for a similar collapse through the use of

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.