Archive for the ‘constitutional rights’ Tag

Alaskan Fights for Liberty   Leave a comment

John Sturgeon encountered the typical federal government attitude that Alaska belongs to the federal government … not just the federal lands, but the state lands as well. Like so many of us, it made him angry. He decided to do something about it and now he’s before the Supreme Court. This coincides with our local newspaper finally returning to local ownership resulting in a change in editorial policy. I included the editorial in its entirety, but I also provided a link to an Atlantic article that manages to deal with the issue sanely … as apposed to the rest of the liberal press, like Outside magazine. If you want to understand why Americans have taken over a National Park Service building in Oregon, this is one example. If this case is decided wrongly, Alaskans will no longer be able to use the rivers of the state to get anywhere without federal permission. In a state where 80% of the communities are not connected to a road system, that could be devastating. Lela

 

http://www.newsminer.com/opinion/editorials/alaskans-rights-deserve-protection-u-s-supreme-court-should-side/article_bf9acb88-bf28-11e5-ab1e-637e6b7e3889.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/a-constitutional-right-to-hovercraft/410176/

http://www.outsideonline.com/2041426/who-controls-alaskas-waterways

News-Miner opinion: Today in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that will resonate thousands of miles beyond the nation’s capital. The case of John Sturgeon v. National Parks Service and Department of Interior, being argued this week, could have big impacts on state residents’ ability to traverse waterways within Alaska. While the incident in question isn’t particularly notable — a disagreement over use of a hovercraft on a river flowing through a national park — the precedent it sets will be. It will provide a legal answer to the question of who has authority over navigable waters within the parks: the state or the federal government?

It’s a question Mr. Sturgeon and many Alaskans thought was settled. The relevant passage in the 1980 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act reads as follows:

“Only those lands within the boundaries of any conservation system unit which are public lands (as such term is defined in this Act) shall be deemed to be included as a portion of such unit. No lands which, before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act, are conveyed to the State, to any Native Corporation, or to any private party shall be subject to the regulations applicable solely to public lands within such units.”

Mr. Sturgeon, through his attorneys, makes a straightforward case. Based on established law, submerged lands under navigable waterways (in Mr. Sturgeon’s case, the Nation River) belong to the state, so state law is in force for those transiting them. As ANILCA states, state and private lands within the boundaries of the federal areas created by the act are not to be governed by the federal rules applying to the land surrounding them. If federal law were to apply on the waterways, the ability of Alaskans to access much of the land within the state — a land mass greater in size than the state of California — could be greatly curtailed. This is of particular concern for Alaska Native corporations with holdings adjoining such lands. Federal rule changes limiting transportation on waterways could isolate parcels and greatly hinder development, subsistence hunting and fishing or other uses for their land, directly contravening the stated purposes both of ANILCA and ANCSA.

The phrase “federal overreach” has been lobbed by state leaders and Alaska’s congressional delegation so often and loudly it has lost its meaning in some cases. But in the Sturgeon case, there’s no other way to describe what’s happening. In the language of ANILCA, Congress’ intent was clear. The law sought to strike a balance between protecting federal lands that would be governed under national laws and regulations and protecting the rights of Alaskans to use, traverse and transit private holdings and those of the state. By attempting to expand the jurisdiction of federal agencies, the agencies Mr. Sturgeon has sued are significantly endangering Alaskans’ rights in that regard.

Those with an interest in the balance of federal and state power should hope Mr. Sturgeon prevails and the rights of Alaskans to travel on state waterways are protected.

My Turn: The Fourteenth Amendment has outlived its usefulness | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper   Leave a comment

My Turn: The Fourteenth Amendment has outlived its usefulness | Juneau Empire – Alaska’s Capital City Online Newspaper.

Thom Stark’s View on State Sovereignty   1 comment

Last week the conversation turned toward issues of sovereignty, Indian nations and states rights. Here is Thom’s reply.

Thom StarkFirst of all, I see no point regarding Indian sovereignity on which we disagree. However, ours is, in John Adams’ phrase, “a nation of laws, not men” (although, granted, he was talking about the Constitution of Massachussetts, not the USA), so Supreme Court decisions on the subject, however imbecilic, are binding – at least, until they’re overturned. Thus, recognized Indian nations have sovereignity. I suspect it’d be nigh impossible to change that situation today – mostly because of opposition from the left, rather than the right.

But we both agree that racial discrimination, regardless of how and where it takes place, is indefensible. I merely noted that, given the history of Indian nations such as the Cherokee in the USA, the desire for revenge on the white man is understandable. That does NOT mean I approve of it. Only that I understand it as a product of human nature. Black people, Asians, even those of Irish extraction have similar, legitimate historical grievances about their treatment at the hands of the USA and its laws, but even the staunchest leftist nitwit would hardly argue that the Irish, for instance, have any present cause for complaint about their status in America. I hope – and expect – that the same will eventually be true of every other minority in this country.

Of course, my mother’s side of the family is of Irish extraction all the way back to the Potato Famine, so …

You bringing up the Articles of Confederation is interesting, given that the full title of that document is the “Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union.” There was, in fact, no provision whatsoever for succession from the original Confederation, and the Constitutional Constitution of 1787 was called to amend that document, rather than to draft an entirely new one. Some constitutional scholars maintain that the Constitution should, indeed, properly be viewed as a wholesale amendment of the Articles of Confederation (and perpetual Union), rather than as an entirely new document. It’s also worth noting that the Declaration of Independence is a manifesto, but its various other sub-declarations are more in the nature of rationale than legal principle – or else “that all men are created equal” would have entirely precluded the original Constitution from enshrining slavery based on race.

And, yes, people have been arguing whether there is any legal basis for succession ever since the Constitution’s formal ratificaiton and adoption in 1789. The problem with those who maintain that succession is a right reserved to the states is that it – along with much of the concept of states rights – is a notion entirely outmoded by actual historical precedent. The South tried and failed to make succession stick. Their failure has made the inviolability of the Union a principle of American law ever since.

It’s also interesting that you cite James Buchanan’s inaction and general fecklessness as somehow laudable. Prior to George W. Bush, he was widely considered the absolute worst U.S. president of the lot (worse even than Andrew Jackson – and that’s really saying something). His unwillingness to lead, especially his failure to use the bully pulpit of his office to advocate for the preservation of the Union by, for instance, vetoing the Missouri Compromise, greatly emboldened the secessionists. (It also constituted the straw that finally broke the back of the Whig party camel, which led directly to the formation of the Republican party and the subsequent election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency, btw.) The man was a vacillating weakling, not a hero.

Since Lincoln correctly saw the integrity of the Union as crucial to the survival of the United States as a viable entity, he quite rightly rejected the notion of the legality of secession. Fort Sumter was a Union military asset. Legally speaking, it did not belong to South Carolina. Today, as then, EVERY military base within the USA (and outside of it) is Federal property, immune from state and local law, taxation authority, and power of eminent domain. That Sumter lay within the territory claimed by South Carolina did not – and does not – alter that. The ONLY legal mechanism by which SC could have laid claim to it was via negotiation, and the Union had every right to resupply its garrison in the meantime.

By attacking a Federal reservation, South Carolina was and remains responsible for committing the act that precipitated the bloody conflict that Confederate apologists like to think of as “the War of Northern aggression.”

It was no such thing. Instead, it was as true a civil war as any in history (there have been lots and lots of those, going back at least as far as the Romans), which was the direct result of Southern aggression, not that of the North.

DSC01494The relationship between the states and the federal government is a constantly-evolving one. That evolution has steadily moved in the direction of reducing the states’ power in favor of increasing Federal authority. You can argue whether that’s a good thing or a bad one, but the trend is inevitable and unstoppable.

I personally believe it’s a Good Thing overall. Far too many states employ their power to sanction absurdly anti-consumer legislation, such as excluding Tesla from selling cars within their borders to protect existing automobile dealership franchises, and forbidding municipalities like Chattanooga from extending their gigabit fiber networks to suburbs outside of its city limits. That’s monopolist protectionism in its rawest, ugliest form – but it’s a states rights matter, so they’re allowed to continue such deeply corrupt practices. (And, if the Tea Party members of Congress get their way, the FCC will be forbidden from interfering in the cable industry’s campaign to keep that last one in place.)

Screw that idiocy. It’s the 21st century, not the 18th. It’s past time that we as a nation recognized that the notion of states rights is increasingly as outmoded as the professions of locomotive fireman or gaslighter.

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