A prior post here was titled “Americans Must Demand End to Obamacare Mandates By Jeff Atwater”. I’m going to expand upon that theme and not stop with health insurance.
As many are aware, I am the issue lead here for REAL ID, so this will be the unconstitutional federal law of focus- but there are many more- such as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) or Agenda 21 in general. REAL ID is a federal law passed by Congress as a reaction to 9/11 attacks based on a study that revealed the 19 foreign nationals that attacked us had driver licenses from several states in their true identities. The law came to be under the cover of a defense authorization and Tsunmai relief bill that affects how states issue their driver licenses- if they want them to be acceptable as “federal identification”. If you’ve had to do anything with your Florida license since January 1, 2010, you are familiar with it. It is similar to “Obamacare” in the respect that both are unconstitutional, yet different because it was passed by Republicans- in 2005 by Congress, and in 2008 here in Florida (where it was similarly hidden in a highway safety bill as 4 of 47 sections).
It’s hypocrisy 101 when our Republican Governor and Attorney General grandstand about unconstitutional mandated federal health insurance, and then tell me REAL ID is a federal law and must be “fixed” at the federal level, and then one of our legislators refuses to address the issue. Here is why:
The Florida Legislature, like any other State Legislature must do something when these federal bills come down the pipeline. The choice is to comply by passing state-level legislation, or to nullify by passing state-level legislation, or in some instances doing nothing. The State Legislature is the citizen’s first line of defense against unconstitutional federal laws. I’ll use my yellow shirt analogy (what is an analogy- see #5)?) here to help you understand how this process works. You can substitute any other absurd act to illustrate the problem.
Let’s say the garment industry in the USA is in trouble. A group of foreign terrorists wore yellow shirts and attacked us a few years ago by killing people in grocery stores and banks. No one now wants to wear a yellow shirt due to this. The garment industry made way too many yellow shirts, and are about to “lose their shirt”. Congress steps in and declares it a matter of national security that everyone prove their citizenship by buying a yellow shirt that is made in each of the states with a state logo on it, and to wear it on Tuesday, or else the people will not be able to enter grocery stores or banks, or anything else the Secretary of Homeland Security determines. They compel local government to sell the shirts at the tax collector’s office and police to ticket people on Tuesdays that are not wearing yellow shirts in banks or grocery stores. They pass a bill to this effect as part of defense funding and humanitarian relief. The shirt part is just 5 pages of a 2,500 page bill, so no one ever reads it.
A State legislator gets wind of the law, and since it is a federal law, sponsors legislation to enact it here. I’d hope something so ludicrous as the example would not even get to this point, but for the sake of this analogy, we’ll presume it does.
You find out about it on your next trip to Wal-Mart or where ever you buy clothing. Under federal law, you must buy one yellow shirt each 8 years and wear it on Tuesdays if you wish to buy groceries or do any banking, and Wal-Mart can no longer sell yellow shirts. To buy the shirt, you must prove your citizenship by giving the tax collector original or certified copies of several of your personal documents. The tax collector then places the copies in an online database by taking and scanning them.
Congress is empowered in A1 S8 to regulate interstate commerce. What this means is commerce starting in one state and going to another. Follow the money. Intrastate commerce starts in one state and stays there. Congress is not empowered to have anything to do with intrastate commerce. In our example above, the citizen is buying a shirt made in their state and paying money to the state, so there is no interstate commerce.
For the “Necessary and Proper” clause to apply, there must be a necessary basis for Congress to act, which can only be one of the enumerated powers. If it is not there, it cannot be proper. If it is not proper, it is therefore not necessary for Congress to do anything. If it is indeed necessary, then the States can perform the function, as the Tenth Amendment reserves all powers not given to Congress to the States, or to the People.
The “General Welfare” clause is the slipperiest of slopes. Where the Courts have erred in this is interpreting the welfare as being that of the individual, not the nation as a whole. We see this taking place where entitlements continue to grow and taxes, fees, and national debt increase. At some point, this is detrimental to the nation as a whole. We saw this to a degree when our credit rating was downgraded due largely to all of the debt. All suffered for the benefits of a few.
What happens when Congress violates the 10th Amendment or any other part of it? Time for another analogy. What if a highway patrol officer pulls you over and says you were doing 100 MPH in a 55 zone in your Prius Hybrid that tops out at 70 MPH (I have no idea how fast a Prius goes, but used it as an example of a low-powered car)? You know you were doing the speed limit and your car can’t go that fast, but you end up with a ticket. It’s now up to you to do something about it, as the ticket is presumed proper. Just as the ticket is presumed proper, federal laws are presumed constitutional when passed, even if they cannot possibly be so. It then falls on the Legislature to stop them, or ultimately a Court if the Legislature fails to act. A suit to do so costs tens of thousands of dollars, something the average person cannot afford. This is why it is vital the Legislature protects our rights and sovereignty.
In the case of REAL ID, Florida driver licenses are made and sold in Florida. No money (commerce) goes to any other state in this process. The assertion that Congress has authority under interstate commerce is a lie.
Next, how is the general welfare of the nation supported by making everyone prove they are a citizen via their driver license? If this were the case, by now we would be reading of the thousands of illegal immigrants and terrorists identified thanks solely to REAL ID. I like to say how we have identified thousands of divorced and married women, but they were not the ones that attacked us on 9/11.
Not only have we not done so, we continue to foil terror plots by good old fashioned police work. The recent case in Washington, DC was broken up after a tip from the suspect’s landlord. Ditto the subject in Texas that was caught after the chemical company he was dealing with tipped law enforcement. None of this came about thanks to warrantless searches (the USA Patriot Act) or REAL ID. Just as a terrorist does not need to wear a yellow shirt in order to attack anyone (or they could steal yours to do so), they do not need a driver license to cause a lot of damage. REAL ID has been a costly failure, especially here in Florida where we spent over $10 million on it from 2008-2011. Speaking as someone that worked as a trooper and later supervisor in a county of half a million people that was lucky to have three troopers on duty, the money could have been put to far better use hiring more highway patrol officers.
If making regulations for State driver licenses is not an enumerated power, it cannot be proper for Congress to pass a law regarding it.
So how do the yellow shirts relate to the topic? In 2005, the federal REAL ID Act told States they needed to make people prove their citizenship when doing anything with their state-issued (intrastate commerce) driver licenses, or else they would not be able to use the licenses as “federal identification” in order to enter federal buildings, fly on commercial aircraft, enter nuclear power plants, or (and no one ever talks about this one) any purpose as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. Just a few State Legislatures acting out of fear of losing “federal” funds or the misguided view that this would solve illegal immigration changed their laws or procedures to comply. Florida was one of them. Many more refused to comply by passing laws or resolutions prohibiting compliance.
The Florida Legislature has trumpeted anti-Obamacare bills such as the Florida Healthcare Freedom Act. We’ve asked the Florida Legislature to protect the rights of citizens in Florida against REAL ID via House Bill 109 and Senate Bill 220. Rep. Larry Ahern and Sen. Greg Evers (both Republicans) and their several co-sponsors are to be commended for taking this stand. Likewise, Rep. Brad Drake (also a Republican) is to be condemned for blocking HB 109 in his subcommittee and representing the interest of the DMV vs. the citizens that elected him, especially since he ran for office on things such as more freedom for the people and the least intrusive government. Fortunately for Florida, Rep. Drake will not be running for reelection in 2012.
Unlike Rep. Drake, we will be back for the 2013 session with a refined version of our REAL ID partial repeal bill. REAL ID is a federal law, but it had to be enacted at the state level. Since it is an unconstitutional and ineffective law, it can and must be repealed at the state level. This is a true example of necessary and proper.
Obamacare ,REAL ID, NDAA, Agenda 21, etc. are but symptoms of a greater disease. The battle to preserve our freedoms is a never-ending one, just as is gravity that pulls things downward. We are unfortunately saddled with too many legislators that do not understand their function as a safeguard against unconstitutional federal laws. I along with others have talked/written at length on this subject. A better solution (the cure) is to elect those that will read and follow both our Florida and US Constitutions. A vehicle has been put in place for those wanting to run or just to volunteer to help. It is Liberty Takeover 2012. Please visit the site and take a look at it. It matters not if you are a Democrat, Independent, Third Party, or Republican. All you need is a desire to have people in office that will follow the rules, and be willing to run or to volunteer some time.
Paul has a law enforcement background, having served as a Florida Deputy Sheriff and State Trooper for over 25 years until he retired at the rank of Lieutenant. After retirement, Paul wished to pursue his automotive hobby and be left alone, but saw an increasing amount of waste in government as well as the government’s increasing involvement in our private lives and liberty, so he became politically active and remains so today. Paul is the founder of the non-partisan citizen’s group Floridians Against REAL ID, and has authored two bills for the 2012 Florida legislative session: The Drivers License Citizen Protection Act, HB 109 and the Motorist Rights Restoration Act, HB 343. He is the REAL ID and Red Light Camera issue lead for The Tea Party Network, a communications network for over 80 Tea Party groups. He currently works as the Deputy Director for Legislative Affairs with the Florida Campaign for Liberty. Paul lives in the Tallahassee, Florida area.
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