Civil Discourse Now

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Tenth Amendment? Two proposed Indiana bills directly implicate it.

   Coincidence has brought two bills to the Indiana State Senate that implicate the topic we will discuss—THE TENTH AMENDMENT—this Saturday, January 12, at 11 a.m. at Big Hat Books, 6510 Cornell Avenue, in Broad Ripple. "Civil Discourse Now" is part of the "Indiana Talks" internet network. If you cannot attend, you can Tweet in questions. I will post "how" on that later today.

   Senator Phil Boots, a Republican from Crawfordsville, is sponsor of Senate Bill 230 that (1) authorizes the Indiana General Assembly to declare Federal laws unconstitutional and (2) creates a Class-D felony for anyone caught in the act of enforcement or implementation of a Federal law.

   Senator Dennis Kruse, a Republican from Auburn, has proposed legislation with similar implications for the Tenth Amendment. SB-127 would limit the power of Federal officials to make arrests in Indiana. Sen. Kruse also has proposed legislation that would require children in public schools to recite the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day and to teach creationism as science.

   I called both Senator Boots and Senator Kruse yesterday to invite them to be guests on The Show. Senator Boots has a schedule conflict on Saturday. I have not heard back from Senator Kruse.

   Our confirmed guests for Saturday will be:

   Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. Their website (tenthamendmentcenter dot com) is well-constructed and informative about the organization. He is the organization’s communications director. He is a native of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and won two Kentucky Press Association Awards as a sports writer. NOTE: He is not a UK fan.

   Karen Celestino-Horseman is a former Democratic Party member of the Indianapolis City-County Council and practices law in Indianapolis.

   The Tenth Amendment provides:

  "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."

   As I wrote yesterday, the Tenth Amendment was considered by James Madison to be redundant and not necessary. Whatever one might believe about the substance of Senator Boots’s bill, I would argue it is redundant. That a State declares it has the power to nullify Federal legislation does not put the issue "in play." The enactment of legislation that nullifies a Federal statute would do that. Otherwise, if one wishes to make an argument for nullification, the Tenth Amendment exists. One can advance an argument based on that Amendment. State legislation that declares such a power would not invoke the power for a case in controversy.

   I had hoped that either Senator Boots or Senator Kruse could have been on The Show to discuss the history of the Tenth Amendment, and its implications for their proposed legislation.

Act.

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