The Threat of Foreign Law

Once again great controversy has arisen over the building of a Mosque; this one in Murfreesboro, TN. Once again no one is getting to the heart of the problem. The fear is not over Islam, but of Sharia Law and the solution lies in preventing foreign law not interfering with a religious practice. We have a nation built on fundamental principles of liberty and law, not fear. If we are ruled by fear, we will lose liberty.

How serious did our founders take the threat of foreign law?

John Adams warned in his 1797 inaugural address:

“[If our nation can be influenced] by foreign nations by flattery or menaces, by fraud or violence, by terror, intrigue, or venality, the Government may not be the choice of the people but of foreign nations. It may be foreign nations that govern us and not we the people who govern ourselves;”

George Washington in his farewell address says this:

“Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.”

How adamant were they, that we must support Constitutional liberty?

John Adams said if we are to have a free republican government, then we must have an attachment to the Constitution and a conscientious determination to protect it. George Washington said “the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake”; John Philpot Curan stated in 1790, “the condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance”, (a quote apparently repeated by Jefferson), and the list goes on.

Our founders were adamant that we the people resist the encroachment of foreign law AND defend Constitutional liberty. Can we do BOTH?

First and foremost we must protect religious liberty for ALL faiths (and non-faiths). We were established as a government of the people, by the people, for the people. However, our founders knew through history and experience, to truly protect liberty we must have a representative form of government and not a democracy. Democracy can never grant true liberty, because the voice of the majority will always silence the rest. Were we a democracy instead of a Constitutional Republic, women would still be unable to vote and the civil rights movement would have certainly failed. A republican form of government grants a voice to those outside of the majority. Jefferson explained in his Notes on the state of Virginia, “One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive as one. An elective despotism was not the government we fought for.” Jefferson knew in order to maintain liberty we must be educated in its principles; else we would digress to a “mob rules” mentality and become a country ruled by a tyranny of the majority.

The issue of building Mosques anywhere in the United States must be viewed within this Constitutional framework. We cannot allow the government to dictate the practice of religion, even if the majority of the people demand it. Our Constitution stands as a guardian against the encroachment of foreign law, yet its 1st Amendment stands as a sentinel against the restriction of religious liberty.

Richard Henry Lee remarked, “It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a Constitution, it is to be for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion, as a part of the national compact.”

Our founders envisioned a nation “whereas all should be equally free, Jews, Turks, Pagans, and Christians” to worship “in that way that he can best reconcile it to his conscience”. (John Leland, The Rights of Conscience Inalienable, A Chronical of His Time in Virginia 1789-1805) It is proven through history and experience that where the government is involved it will dictate and regulate. Many of our founders knew that to preserve religious liberty for all was to preserve Christianity. We cannot give the government the power to dictate the conscience of men, because today’s majority is tomorrow’s minority and there is liberty for no one.

What then is the solution to the conundrum of Islam and Sharia Law?

The conscientious determination to support the Constitution cuts both ways: for many Muslims, Islam is not only a religion but also a theocracy, it mixes religion and government. The other side of this Constitutional sword is the key to solving the conundrum of Islam and Sharia Law. When we stand on the foundation of the Constitution, we acknowledge that it cannot support the infiltration of foreign law. George Washington made this point abundantly clear in his farewell address noted above.

Our founders’ own Bill of Rights, the English Bill of Rights of 1689 required their representatives – including the King and Queen – to take the following oath: “And I do declare that no Foreign Prince, Person, Prelate, or Potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, preeminence, or authority ecclesiastical or spiritual within this realm, so help me God.” We must have representatives that are willing to step up and name the enemy; its name is FOREIGN LAW.

No foreign law affords the protections to liberty that our Constitution does, and much of foreign law would directly threaten the liberty of individual Americans.Properly upholding the Constitution, maintaining the laws of this nation, is the way to prevent foreign law’s baneful attack. The Constitution will not support the interference of religious liberty. If we push the courts to decide these issues the results will likely be disastrous. The courts will either follow the Constitution and rule in favor of the Mosques, empowering the Islamic theocracy as a by-product; or the courts will not follow the Constitution, allowing the government to dictate where and how worship can take place. Our forefathers had already been down that road.

We know the Constitution and the history that produced this foundational document will support the exclusion of foreign law. What we are concerned about is the apparent danger of the courts ignoring the both the Constitution and the warnings of history and our founders, thus allowing foreign law to infultrate our nation. This is where we need representatives on the state and national level to step up to support and defend the Constitution. These true Patriot leaders will say, “we love our country and our Constitution so much that we will allow Mosques, but we will not allow foreign law”. They will put the courts on notice that the people will not allow the Constitution to be destroyed by either ignorant or activist judges. Foreign law has no place in this nation regardless of whether it is called religion or not. Think about it. The same principles that do not allow the practice of poligomy or human sacrifice in the name of religion will support the denial of unconstitutional Sharia Law.

The point is, Islam is not the enemy, foreign law is the enemy. We cannot preserve the Constitution by picking and choosing which provisions are convenient. The same Constitution that gives us religious liberty, gives us a foundational law that rejects foreign law. We must make a conscientious decision to support the Constitution, IN ITS ENTIRETY, or it will be destroyed by the very people charged to protect it. We must remember that tyranny is no different whether it is in the hands of one man or in the hands of many.

We the people MUST educate ourselves on our history and Constitutional principles. We the people MUST make a conscientious decision to stand for the Constitution, every part of it. We the people MUST require our elected representatives to do the same. As Daniel Webster said, “Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.”

More Victims in the Casey Anthony Trial?

Many Americans voiced their outrage at the recent Casey Anthony verdict. Some thought she was guilty and wondered what in the world was going through the minds of the 12 jurors. Some jurors are talking, and some may be willing to share their thoughts in a book. However, Florida Representative Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) wants to put legislative duct tape over the mouth of the jurors or at least their word processors. He says that the jurors are free to talk about their experience, they just can’t publish it until he says so. What makes Mr. Randolph think he has such authority? Does he not understand that free speech is a right of the individual and not a privilege doled out by government? Will the First Amendment be another victim of the Casey Anthony saga?

The First Amendment is not the first one by accident. Our founders believed the rights protected by this monumental Amendment were foundational to Liberty. Daniel Webster, one of the greatest orators of our time and extraordinary founding father said, “If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep the power of communication, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.” So why, is Representative Scott Randolph attempting to weaken the First Amendment?

The First Amendment actually charges the government to protect five rights held by the people:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The right to speech and press are fundamental to the concepts of Liberty. Where would we be without the pen of Thomas Paine and his pamphlet “Common Sense,” which helped stir the people to throw off the bonds of a tyrannical government? John Adams reportedly said of Paine “Without the pen of the author of ‘Common Sense,’ the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.” Such writings were suppressed under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler. Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda acted as a central control point for all media, private and public, issuing orders as to what could and could not be printed. Anyone who crossed Goebbels’ ministry were routinely imprisoned or shot as traitors. Our Constitution stands as a sentinel to protect Americans against such extreme tyranny.

Besides the ignorance of Constitutional principles and Constitutional history, the primary problem here is reactionary legislation. In the aftermath of the Casey Anthony trial we were immediately bombarded with reactionary legislation. First came the proposition for Caylee’s law; a law that makes it a felony offense to not report a child missing within 24 hours of the child’s disappearance. Sounds like a great idea, I’m sure, but trust me, creating laws based upon reactions to social injustice is never a sound legislative practice. Good legislation takes an informed and reasoned process. Imagine you were the parent of a rebellious teenager who frequently makes himself “unaccountable”. Does the parent have to suffer the embarrassment of dealing with a private family issue publicly, under the threat of felony prosecution? What if the parent has been told by the teen that he is staying the night at a friend’s house, when in fact, he is actually engaging in dangerous behavior that results in his death at the hand of another? Suppose further that the parent believes the child to be on a weekend trip with friends and it is later determined that he has been murdered. Do we now prosecute this parent for not reporting the child missing because under the law the parent “should have known” the child was missing? Now, if we want to create a law that makes it a crime to not report your child’s known death (more in line with the facts of this case), I can understand the foundation for that law.

Now Rep. Scott Randolph is proposing more reactionary legislation in the wake of the Casey Anthony trial. Only this legislation is a direct attack on the very fundamental principles of the First Amendment. Randolph proposes legislation that allows jurors to speak of their experience in the trial process but prevents them from contracting with publishers to write about it. The premise is that jurors should not be able to profit from their experience as a juror. Some might ask, “What is wrong with that?” First it is illogical. Mr. Randolph suggests a cooling off period of 270 days will prevent jurors from profiting from their experience. The desire to profit and the thirst for drama will not end after 270 days. It will only delay the inevitable. What then? Does Mr. Randolph then readdress the issue and make legislation to extend that “cooling off” period, or worse yet a permanent gag order? Where does this legislation stop? What else must I not write about or profit from?

The First Amendment is clear; the Government shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or press. That word “abridge” means “to lesson, diminish, deprive, or cut off”. From a Constitutional perspective Rep. Randolph has no right to push legislation that would diminish any person’s right to free speech or press. I am certain Mr. Randolph would argue that he is not interfering with the First Amendment; he is interfering with the profiting from that form of speech. In the article outlining the plan for this legislation, Randolph states, “The purpose of this legislation is to preserve the integrity of the jury process. It balances the First Amendment freedom of speech with the Sixth Amendment guarantee to a fair trial.” Is Mr. Randolph suggesting that jurors are somehow manipulating the verdicts in order to create situations where they will optimize their profits? If so, then book deals are not the problem, the problem goes much deeper than that. The solution is not limiting the Constitutional rights of the people. You will not prevent profiteering by “cooling off” periods, you will however succeed in “lessoning, diminishing, depriving, and cutting off” the First Amendment rights of the people. Removing or altering Constitutional Rights is NEVER the solution to a moral deficiency.

Alexander Hamilton stated in the debate over the incorporation of the Bill of Rights in our Constitution, that enumerating the rights inherently held by the people would be dangerous. In Federalist Paper 84, Hamilton states, “What is the liberty of press? Who can give it any definition which would not leave the utmost latitude for evasion?” Hamilton was afraid that by including an enumeration for the protection of speech and press would inevitably serve as a handle “which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers” and would furnish to “men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming power.” What power would be claimed? The power to regulate a right and “balance” that right with another in the name of fairness, equality, safety… Any legislation, according to Supreme Court precedent, that is a prior restraint on free speech and creates “chilling effect” on speech is unconstitutional.

Reactionary legislation is often bad. Reactionary legislation that interferes with a Constitutional Right is worse. The fact that we have become unmoored from or Constitutional principles and are ignorant of its history is why I wrote my book and created the DVD seminar; perhaps I should forward them to Mr. Randolph.


Impeach! Now!

Abuse of Separation of Powers: A Long-standing Evil

It is a common misconception that our founders had no Bill of Rights before 1776.  They, in fact, had their own – the English Bill of Rights of 1689. In this document grievances against King James II were listed, just as grievances against King George III would be listed in the Declaration of Independence 87 years later.  Among those grievances was the following:

“By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without the consent of Parliament;…”

The King was overstepping his authority and bypassing Parliament – the lawmaking body.  In 1689, the British people saw this as an attempt to completely destroy liberty. In our system of government, Congress is the lawmaking body.  For the Executive to take up the power of making laws is for that Executive to engage in an act of tyranny.

Separation of Powers Essential to Liberty

One of the most fundamental characteristics of our Republic is the Separation of Powers among the three separate branches of government.  The checks and balances in the American system were instituted for the express purpose of combating the rise of a tyrannical and oppressive government.

James Madison points out in Federalist 47 that “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Federalist Papers 47 through 51 deal specifically with this issue of separation of powers.  The debate of the time was not whether these branches SHOULD be separate, but to WHAT DEGREE they should be separate.  Madison begins by pointing out that all Founders understood that a separation of the three branches of government was necessary to preserve Liberty.  They all agreed that the accumulation of all powers by one person or a single group of people is the very definition of tyranny.  “Where the accumulation of power is possible, no further argument is necessary” to support a division and separation of those powers. Madison declares:

“…by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. “

No Branch is a Ruler Unto Itself

Madison further explains that the branches are not completely separated, but where one has any authority over the other that authority is very specific, and that the separate responsibilities of one are not to be usurped by the other.  Hence, law making authority is invested solely in Congress and may not be taken up by the Executive.  Yet, checks have been invested in each to ensure that one body does not become tyrannical and oppressive.  The executive has its veto, the Legislative has its impeachment power and the Judiciary has its legal oversight…and don’t forget the people.

Notice how Madison describes the necessity of these checks:

”But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government.”

Madison continues:

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

So, if such strong checks were and are necessary to resist the tyranny of men, then why are these checks not being employed? Consider the following overreach by our current tyrannical Executive:

1.     In May Democrats put forward the Dream Act.  Before a vote was even held, Obama passes the Dream Act through Executive Order.

2.     “Cap and Trade” legislation was defeated in Congress, yet President Obama pushes his agenda into law through the EPA, an executive branch agency.

3.     Obama signs an Executive order on July 12 restricting the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens in the southern border states of Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona.

4.     Obama’s FCC decided last year to assume authority over the internet regulation despite a ruling by a federal appeals court explicitly denying the commission that authority. In contradiction to the court’s ruling FCC voted 3-2 in December to pass the first ever federal regulations on internet traffic.

5.     Obama unilaterally decided he should declare war on Libya.  When Congress disagreed, he simply ignored them, their lawsuit, and the War Powers Act which is just a restatement of the separation of powers that already exists in the Constitution.

6.     On January 28, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) head John Pistole announced that the Screening Partnership Program, which allows airports to privatize their security procedures, would no longer be available.  TSA’s decision is directly contrary to the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which statutorily grants this ability for airports to privatize.

7.     Rather than push Congress to repeal federal laws against Marijuana, the Justice Department decided in 2009 that it would simply stop enforcing the federal laws. Proposals to legalize Marijuana at the federal level consistently fail, but that has not stopped the Obama administration.

8.     The Department of Justice has announced that they would no longer enforce the Defense of Marriage Act.  The Administration did not agree with the law, so they simply ignore it.

9.     Congress removes the card check provision from the Employee Free Choice Act to maintain the rights of the people to choose not to unionize.  The National Labor Relations Board moves to reduce the length of time for elections in order to limit employer’s ability to present their own case against unionization, having the effect of overriding Congress and limiting the people’s choice to not unionize.

10.  Obama Administration suggests that they could ignore Congressional authority and raise the Debt Ceiling unilaterally by reinterpreting the 14th Amendment.  Now Mitch McConnell apparently wishes to surrender the Constitution to the President, rather than protect it from ALL enemies foreign AND DOMESTIC.

Following the November elections where President Obama’s party lost control over the House Obama told America, where he cannot legislate he will regulate.  The Executive Branch is not the law making body of our Constitutional Republic.  In 1689 and in 1776 this type of overreach was seen as tyranny; an attempt to completely destroy Liberty.

In the Federalist Paper 69, Hamilton responds to those who fear that the executive branch looked too much like a king and would have too much power.  He points out a very vital and distinct difference that would put the minds of the people to rest:

“…there is not comparison between the intended power of the President and the actual power of the British Sovereign.  The one can perform alone what the other can only do with the concurrence of the branch of the legislature.”

What is our reassurance as the President does exactly what Hamilton assured could not be done?  Where is our protection as in the Supreme Court decision in 1952 (Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer) that ruled President Truman’s executive order unconstitutional as he attempted to place all steel mills under federal control.  The Supreme Court said executive orders cannot make law.  More importantly in the Colonial Constitutions this was the very behavior that drew IMPEACHMENT time and time again.

History and experience prove that Obama’s attempts to completely destroy liberty must be stopped.  Congress must override these executive orders with proper legislation.  Congress must exercise Congressional oversight over these Executive agencies and defund them. Congress must begin the impeachment process and end this unconstitutional usurpation by the executive branch.

So, I ask you again Congress when will you do your job?

Do your Job, Congress!

On November 19, 2001, Congress passed The Aviation and Transportation Act, (ATSA), as a reaction to the September 11 attacks.  Reactionary legislation is never a good solution to any problem.  However, even with reactionary legislation, proper checks are in place to detect and prevent poor administration, waste, abuse, arbitrary and capricious behavior, or illegal and unconstitutional conduct.  Congressional Oversight is the “check and balance” that must apply here. So why isn’t Congress doing their job?  If we want to require Congress to do their job and not fall prey to their excuses, we must understand the very power of oversight that they hold.

Congressional oversight refers to the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation.  Congressional Oversight is a “derived power” and even the Congressional Research Service refers to it as an “integral part of the American system of checks and balances”.  (CRS Report for Congress 97-936, p. 2 2001)

Our founders spent a great deal of time discussing separation of powers and believed that such separation was essential to the protection of our liberty.  Our Founders also believed that a certain amount “blending” of these departments was necessary to prevent one Branch from usurping the power over the other.  In Federalist Paper 47, Madison discusses this very issue.

Quoting Montesquieu, James Madison relates that, “There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body of magistrates,” nor “if the power of judging be not separate from the legislative and executive powers.” Madison reasons that the departments are not intended to be so separated that they have no partial agency in, or no control over each other. (Fed. 47)  Montesquieu was concerned with the “whole” power of one department exercised in the hands of another department.  Madison assures the Constitutional critics that the current Constitution provides safeguards against such encroachment and abuse of liberty.

Madison demonstrates this principle of checks and balances by pointing out the very existence of them in the several state constitutions that existed at the time of the writing of the proposed Constitution.  He points out that nearly all of the constitutions blend these powers, not for the purpose of usurping, but for the purpose of partial agency and control. For example, the Senate, which is a branch of legislative department, is also a judicial tribunal for the trial of impeachments.  Finally, in response to the proponents of ABSOLUTE separation, Madison explains that the very cause of liberty for which they fight is only obtained through proper blending of power to achieve control and oversight:

It was shown in the last paper that the political apothegm there examined does not require that the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments should be wholly unconnected with each other.  I shall undertake, in the next place, to show that unless these departments be so far connected and blended as to give each a constitutional control over the others, the degree of separation which the maxim requires, as essential to a free government, can never in practice be duly maintained. (Fed. 48)

In summary, what Madison was saying is if you truly want liberty, separation of powers along with mutual checks is vital.  Madison understood that simply enumerating powers and identifying boundaries on paper would be an insufficient barrier “to the encroaching spirit of power.”  Liberty cannot be preserved unless you allow for departmental oversight.

In light of the founder’s perspective and the truth behind separation of powers and each branch’s responsibility to check the power of the other and maintain oversight, we must ask, where is our current congressional oversight even within the same Branch? We see statement after statement of how appalled or outraged our Senators are at the gross display of authority by the Transportation and Safety Administration (Incidentally they make the same statements about executive overreach and do nothing about it). They demand everything from control to dissolution of the TSA.  What is with all the posturing?  THEY created the TSA in 2001.  THEY passed an Act that allowed for privatization of airports after two years.  How can the TSA turn around and tell Congress that it will not privatize. Congress has oversight over TSA, not TSA over Congress.

Congress needs to be reminded that the Congressional Research Service stated in 2001 their job in Congressional oversight is to:

  • improve the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of governmental operations;
  • evaluate programs and performance;
  • detect and prevent poor administration, waste, abuse, arbitrary and capricious behavior, or illegal and unconstitutional conduct;
  • protect civil liberties and constitutional rights;
  • inform the general public and ensure that executive policies reflect the public interest;
  • gather information to develop new legislative proposals or to amend existing statutes;
  • ensure administrative compliance with legislative intent; and
  • prevent executive encroachment on legislative authority and prerogatives.

As we see a 95-year-old cancer patient strip-searched and 6-year-old girls groped and other outrages on a daily basis by the Transportation Security Agency, must we be reminded that we are a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people?”  When a Nigerian immigrant can fly coast-to-coast with an expired, stolen boarding pass and passport is too much to ask that Congress step up and DO THEIR JOB?  Hey Congress YOU WORK FOR US.  Your job descriptions are clearly identified in the law, in the Constitution and in the “operator’s manual” written by those who wrote the Constitution.  Do your job or be fired!  We don’t accept your “outrage,” stop flapping your gums and making excuses and start doing the job you’ve been tasked to do.