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Call it the 10th Amendment Restoration Act.
A bill introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, promises to return to the states those issues federal courts, by their decisions, “have wrested from state and local governments.”
H.R. 4379, the We the People Act, would remove from federal courts’ jurisdiction any case involving religious liberty; sexual practices, orientation or reproduction; and same-sex marriage.
Paul’s bill, most recently introduced Nov. 17, notes:
“Article I, section 8 and article 3, section 1 of the Constitution of the United States give Congress the power to establish and limit the jurisdiction of the lower Federal courts,” and “Article III, section 2 of the Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to make ‘such exceptions, and under such regulations’ as Congress finds necessary to Supreme Court jurisdiction.”
To clarify jurisdictional issues, the bill states federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, are not prevented from “determining the constitutionality of any Federal statute or administrative rule or procedure in considering any case arising under the Constitution of the United States.”
To add to the impact of the legislation, Paul included a provision saying no past federal ruling dealing with the three prohibited areas should be considered as “binding precedent” on any state court. Also, the congressman’s bill stipulates that any judge violating the law shall be impeached by Congress or removed by the president.
Paul explained his bill on the floor of the House of Representatives when it was introduced in the last Congress, in March 2004.
“Some may claim that an activist judiciary that strikes down state laws at will expands individual liberty,” Paul stated. “Proponents of this claim overlook the fact that the best guarantor of true liberty is decentralized political institutions, while the greatest threat to liberty is concentrated power. This is why the Constitution carefully limits the power of the federal government over the states.”
Continued Paul: “In recent years, we have seen numerous abuses of power by federal courts. Federal judges regularly strike down state and local laws on subjects such as religious liberty, sexual orientation, family relations, education and abortion. This government by federal judiciary causes a virtual nullification of the Tenth Amendment’s limitations on federal power. Furthermore, when federal judges impose their preferred policies on state and local governments, instead of respecting the policies adopted by those elected by, and thus accountable to, the people, republican government is threatened. … Congress must act when the executive or judicial branch threatens the republican governments of the individual states. Therefore, Congress has a responsibility to stop federal judges from running roughshod over state and local laws. The Founders would certainly have supported congressional action to reign in federal judges who tell citizens where they can and can’t place manger scenes at Christmas.”
Paul’s isn’t the only bill pending in Congress that seeks to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts. The Constitution Restoration Act, sponsored in the House by Rep Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., and in the Senate by Sen Richard Shelby, R-Ala., would prohibit federal courts from ruling in cases involving government officials who acknowledge God “as the sovereign source of law, liberty or government.” The bill was birthed in the aftermath of the ouster of former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was sanctioned by the courts for acknowledging God by way of a Ten Commandments monument in the state’s judicial building.
The We the People Act, which was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, has no co-sponsors.
Wrote columnist and Constitution Party vice presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin in reference to H.R. 4379: “If we had 218 congressmen such as Ron Paul in the House of Representatives, we could change the course of the country in short order.”
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