Posts Tagged ‘States’ Rights’
December 5th, 2014 at 1:36 pm
Proposed Federal Legislation Banning Online Gaming in All 50 States Is a Bad Idea
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Here at the Center for Individual Freedom, we broadly favor the federalist and Tenth Amendment concept of states’ rights and individual liberty, as our name suggests.

Both principles are implicated in an emerging debate at the Congressional level.  Namely, proposed new legislation that would prohibit all 50 states and their citizens from allowing online poker and other gaming as they see fit.  That would upend states’ historical right to regulate gaming, and it would obviously mean yet further intrusion of federal power into individual Americans’ right to freely make their own entertainment choices and choose how to spend their own dollars.

Without getting to deep into the weeds, the Wire Act of 1961 was originally enacted to address interstate sports betting via telephone, partly an effort to fight organized crime in that domain.  In 2013, the Justice Department determined that the Wire Act is inapplicable to non-sports Internet wagering, based upon relevant caselaw and legislative history.  That confirmed that other forms of online poker and gaming remain properly in the realm of individual states to legislate.  It also accorded with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the highest court to consider the question, which had determined in 2002 that the Wire Act addresses sports gambling only.

On that reasoned basis, multiple states have authorized online poker and various other forms of Internet wagering for citizens within their own borders, with many more considering similar moves.

Unfortunately, that’s where the ill-advised new proposed federal legislation comes in.  The so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act (H.R. 4301 in the House and S. 2159 in the Senate), which wouldn’t “restore” the Wire Act to its original meaning but rather significantly expand its reach contrary to the Fifth Circuit and Justice Department rulings, aims to impose a de facto prohibition on online gaming in all 50 states and thereby increase federal regulatory power.  Proponents claim that the new bill would protect children and problem gamers, but the more realistic consequence would be shutting down existing law-abiding companies and driving commerce toward criminal sites and unaccountable overseas entities less interested in restricting minors or problem gamers.

The better option is to maintain existing law, which rewards law-abiding domestic companies and ensures greater safety and security.  And as noted above, the proposed legislation would grossly violate the concepts of state sovereignty, free-market principles and individual consumer freedom.  The last thing we need right now is even more federal regulation of states and legal commerce, particularly within the flourishing Internet sector.

Conservatives, libertarians and Americans of every other political persuasion should therefore oppose the so-called Restoration of America’s Wire Act, and contact their Senators and Representatives to demand the same.

February 10th, 2010 at 2:27 pm
James Madison to Chris Matthews: Still Believe in Darwinism?
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The Founding Fathers deliberately included in the Bill of Rights the Tenth Amendment, which 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.”

This notion of federalism, or “states’ rights,” was obviously a core tenet of our Constitution and one that provided the reassurance necessary for ratification.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, however, suggests that this vital, fundamental aspect of the Constitution is merely code for slavery, segregation or racism amongst those inconvenient Tea Partiers.  During his February 9 “Hardball” broadcast, Matthews reacted to those such as Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry and fellow Republican candidate Debra Medina who seek to reclaim greater federalist balance by angrily asking, “who is this, John Calhoun?!?!”

You recall John Calhoun, that early-18th century Vice President from South Carolina who supported slavery.  According to Matthews, advocating simple Tenth Amendment concepts is tantamount to advocating slavery, apparently.  Matthews proceeded to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. for any of his loyal viewers who failed to comprehend his oh-so-subtle Calhoun reference.

This is the same Chris Matthews, of course, who fawns over Barack Obama by describing the thrill that runs through his leg when listening to another teleprompted speech, and who childishly attempts to slur Tea Party activists by referring to them as “tea baggers.”

We’ve come a long way from states’ rights proponents James Madison and Thomas Jefferson to Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann.  Still believe in Darwinism?