May 25, 2011
FISA, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Harry Reid, Leahy-Paul amendment, National Secutity letters, Patriot Act, Rand Paul, Ron Paul, USA PATRIOT Act
This is exactly why I said we’ll see if Harry Reid really will allow Rand Paul to bring amendments up when the Patriot Act extension bill comes before the Senate. The vote has not been taken yet on the extension of the Patriot Act, call your Senators now at the senate switchboard 202-224-3121 and ask them to vote NAY on the extension of the pact.
Reid Preempts Paul, Slips Patriot Act in Small Business Bill
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has circumvented a call by the newly elected senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, to debate the Patriot Act.
In order to prevent a filibuster, Reid performed “some procedural gymnastics,” according to Fox News, and slipped Patriot Act language into a House small business bill that is considered filibuster-proof.
In doing so, Reid has skirted objections to the bill led by Paul and has moved closer to extending the Patriot Act without debate. Democrats have applauded this effort to rush the extension into law without debate.
“The suggestion that the extension should be debated fueled considerable opposition, particularly from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA), who insisted it would be a ‘huge mistake’ to debate the bill and might threaten national security,” writes Jason Ditz.
On Monday, Paul went on the floor of the Senate and argued against the extension. He introduced the Leahy-Paul amendment which would have National Security Letters expire on December 31, 2013. It also requires the Justice Department inspector general to audit the issuance of NSL letters and expands public reporting on the use of such letters under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The National Security Letter provision of the Patriot Act directly assaults the Fourth Amendment. It expands the FBI’s authority to demand personal customer records from Internet Service Providers, financial institutions and credit companies without prior court approval.
May 25, 2011
4th amendment, David Simpson, department of justice, DOJ, HB1937, no fly zone, Texas, Transportation Security Administration, TSA
Folks, this is what happens when you give the central government too much power and let the courts interpret the “commerce clause”, “supremacy clause” and “necessary and proper clause” wayyy too broadly. At first something like the FAA in this case looks logical and harmless, BUT, then you let them get waayyy too big and powerful and then the central government is dictating to the States and threatening them, ignoring the 9th and 10th amendments. Along with in this case violating the 4th amendment big time! Too bad Texas blinked and gave in to the threat.
DOJ Threatens to Turn Texas Into a “No Fly Zone”
In a development which may be the first constitutional crisis to come out of the growing state sovereignty movement, the federal Department of Justice has threatened to shut down air travel in Texas if the Texas legislature follows through with passage of a popular bill limiting the power of the Transportation Security Administration within the state.
HB1937 is one of two bills authored by Rep. David Simpson (RLC-Tyler) designed to prevent the TSA from implementing unpopular security measures within the state of Texas. It would make it a felony for TSA agents to engage in certain forms of intimate touching during the course of an “enhanced pat down” of an airline passenger. If a complaint were made against TSA personnel they could be arrested and charged by local law enforcement.
Simpson’s other bill (HB1938) addressed high-intensity scanners and stalled in the Texas House of Representatives, but the anti-groping bill passed the House unanimously, was approved unanimously by a Senate committee and was expected to pass unanimously in the Texas Senate Tuesday or Wednesday.
This is the point at which the federal government intervened. Reports began circulating on Tuesday of TSA bureaucrats descending on the state capitol to lobby legislators against the bill and then John E. Murphy, US Attorney for the Western District of Texas issued an official letter (PDF) on behalf of the Department of Justice to state legislators which threatened an injunction against the bill if it passed as well as stating that if an injunction were not granted the “TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”
The Department of Justice makes the argument in the letter that “under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law.”
The letter from U.S. attorney John Murphy said Texas could not pass a statute that conflicts with federal law. (Let’s stop right there….Federal Law is NOT supreme over State law automatically…Federal law MUST be one of the “ENUMERATED POWERS” granted to it by the States to have supremacy, otherwise the power to regulate is in the hands of the States. Regulating air flight is NOT one of the Enumerated Powers……the 10th amendment should prevail here, but as I said the Texas legislator blinked on the central government’s bluff or threat whatever you want to call it.) If it had, the TSA would have sought an emergency stay and until that had been granted, would have had to shut down Texas airports as it “could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew.”
“Naturally, Texans didn’t take to well to being threatened in that manner,” said Rep. David Simpson, the author of the bill, in a written statement.
They may not like it, but it worked.
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