Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Holder, Obama, States' Rights and The Abuse of Power

We begin today's opinion piece with a brief lesson in Civics and Government.  If any of our readers are like the Two Sisters, we need a refresher course every now and then.  During the Obama administration we've seen our constitutional rights violated and in keeping with our ideas of what constitutes an informed voter, we avail ourselves of the material which is now so readily available to all. 

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, were adopted as a single unit two years after ratification of the Constitution. Dissatisfaction with guarantees of freedom listed in the Constitution led the founding fathers to enumerate personal rights as well as limitations on the federal government in these first 10 amendments. The Magna Carta, the English bill of rights, Virginia's 1776 Declaration of Rights, and the colonial struggle against tyranny provided inspiration and direction for the Bill of Rights. 1

The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." 2

At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, delegates represented state governments that had become autonomous centers of power. The Constitution avoided a precise definition of the locus of sovereignty, leaving people to infer that the new charter created a divided structure in which powers were allocated between the central government and the states in such a way that each would be supreme in certain areas. 3

  • State Rights are a doctrine and strategy in which the rights of the individual states are protected by the U.S. Constitution from interference by the federal government. 4

States Rights have been an issue which has concerned America during various periods in our history.  It was the Tenth Amendment  which formed  the basis of the doctrine of states' rights that became the ante-bellum rallying cry of the Southern states, which sought to restrict the ever-growing powers of the federal government. The principle of states' rights and state sovereignty eventually led the Southern states to secede from the central government that they believed had failed to honor the covenant that had originally bound the states together. 5

During the 1930's the New Deal policies under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt substantially increased the size and the power of the federal government.  In the 1940's the issue of states rights was raised again as the Southern "Dixiecrats" challenged Democrat President Harry S. Truman when he called for a more aggressive civil rights policy.  Democrats in the South unitedly decided that  their "states' rights" platform called for continued racial segregation and denounced proposals for national action on behalf of civil rights. 6

By the 1960s  segregationists again argued for state sovereignty, and developed programs of massive resistance to racial integration in public education, public facilities, housing, and access to jobs.  Beginning in the 1960s, other states' rights proponents started stressing the need for local control of government. One reason was the introduction of federal welfare and subsidy programs. The concern was that along with federal money would come federal control. 7

By the 1980s the fears that many held that the encroaching powers of the federal government would take away the sovereign rights of states became a great concern.  President Ronald Reagan agreed with the public that the federal government was becoming too involved in state government affairs.  As a result, a major focus of his administration was to reduce the size and power of the federal government. States were given more authority to experiment with policy initiatives, especially social programs, which had previously been directed from Washington.

Subsequent administrations followed suit. In the early 2000s, however, political analysts commented that a new trend was afoot: both Republicans and Democrats were pushing for federal laws that would preempt state laws, especially state laws that attempted to regulate financial corporations and other types of business. 8

In 2008 Americans of both parties began to fear the abuse of power by the Obama  administration, and a grassroots a movement which became know as second Tea Party took root.  The Tea Party movement called for three basic principles: 
  • Limited government
  • Adherence to the Constitution of the United States
  • Free market system
Which brings our discussion to the main issue we face today.  Early in March, nine Republican attorney generals denounced the Obama administration's abuse of power.  “You’re seeing now a federal government that’s doing everything in its power to circumvent the Bill of Rights,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said during a press conference during the Washington, D.C. meeting of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

“We are constantly being forced to sue the federal government to protect our states,” added Florida AG Pam Bondi.

Washington is waging an “across the board regulatory assault” on state governments, said Virginia’s AG, Ken Cuccinelli, who organized the event. This “administration repeatedly shows disdain for the law … the states, and the Constitution,” he said. “It is absolutely unprecedented.”

President Barack Obama’s legal impositions on states should be recognized by voters in November, Cuccinelli said. “It is important for them to understand what is at at stake in this election. … It is literally the rule of law itself.”

In July of 2010 AG Eric Holder and the Justice Department, filed  a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Phoenix against the state government and Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.), arguing  that the new state law violates the Constitution by claiming authority over immigration policy, which has historically been the jurisdiction of the federal government.



The law requiring voters to present proper identification in order to vote was enacted simply to prevent voter fraud.  It is a law that is popular with most Texans except those Democrats who count of fraudulent votes for their election.  Although voter fraud is prevalent throughout the nation, it is particularly significant here in Jim Wells County, Texas where we live.  
  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, writes about voter fraud in Texas:  "In Texas, AN EPIDEMIC of voter fraud is harming the electoral process and it's time we rooted it out.  Of course, voter fraud is  no newcomer to the Lone Star State.  Six decades ago, the votes "found" in Jim Wells County's infamous Ballot Box 13 helped Lyndon Johnson squeak into the U.S. Senate.  Maybe none quite so dramatic, but other instances of "election irregularities" on both sides of the political aisle have plagued Texas since that 1948 primary. And the fraud continues.  Just since last summer, my office has been involved in prosecuting several voter fraud cases across the state.  Last month, three people, including a Texarkana City Council member were indicted in Bowie County for illegally handling mail-in ballots for seniors and other voters during the November 2004 general elections."
Holder's speaker in this case is Assistant AG Thomas Perez for the Civil Rights division of the DOJ.  Claiming that the law discriminates against Hispanics, Perez boldly refutes  the word of Texas AG Abbott stating that, "The department concluded there is little evidence of voter fraud in Texas warranting the legislative changes."  As Texas residents we are particularly perplexed by a New Yorker's summation of voting conditions in Texas.  The audacity to challenge the word of our own Attorney General is typical of the arrogance of the Obama administration.

For those readers who are not aware of the new law, it simply requires voters to present a form of photo  identification when voting.  This can include a driver's license, a military ID, a U.S. citizenship certificate, a U.S. passport or a license to carry a concealed handgun. 

Acquiring a state issued Texas I.D. card is a very simple process and one that can be completed before the November election.  The items needed are proof of citizenship and cash or a money order to pay the fee.  The ID is obtainable at the Texas Department of Public safety and it takes very little time.  The state of Texas, along with many others, requires a state-issued ID to check into a hotel, to board airplanes, to cash checks and to complete several other day-to-day activities.  It is not much to ask that a picture ID be provided in order to vote.

What is at stake here of course is that the law  takes away the element of fraud from those unscrupulous politicians who would cheat their way into elected office.  As of just a few weeks ago we were reading about irregularities that have surfaced regarding Barack Obama and the 2008 presidential elections.  The Hispanic population is growing at a rapid pace. In states like Texas, the Hispanic vote will become more and more important for a candidate to win office. Democrats are terrified at losing this support.  It is no coincidence that before this election, Holder is doing what he can to claim that Texas - led by Republicans - is trying to deny minority (read Hispanic) voters the right to cast a vote.

We find it insulting to the Hispanic population of Texas to have Eric Holder consider them so gullible that they will fall for his ploy.  Hispanics in Texas and other states are increasingly discovering that their philosophy of life and beliefs fall more in line with those of the Republican party and not the Democratic party of their forefathers who kept them under the thumb of the "patron system".  This system   did not permit Hispanics in Texas  the upward mobility and personal independence needed to succeed, and which was richly deserved. 

Perhaps Eric Holder, Obama, and that entire Chicago backroom politics system under which they operate, need to take a serious look at the world around them and realize that people want to put an end to crooked politics.   They are tired of being manipulated.   The intention behind the Texas voter ID law is to eliminate voter fraud.   

Holder and Obama need to cease attempting to create problems among Texans.  Their plot to pit Hispanics and non-Hispanics against one another will fall flat in a state where the lines which once divided them are being quietly erased.  We have a saying in Texas, DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS.  It started out as a campaign to stop littering our streets and highways,  but it has become synonymous with our state.  It is a strong message which conveys to  those who would interfere with our state's sovereignty  to back off and let Texans govern themselves. 

Two Sisters From The Right  

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