Should We Obey All Laws?


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Let’s think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law — and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution’s commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?

A moral person would find each one of those laws either morally repugnant or to be a clear violation of our Constitution. You say, “Williams, you’re wrong this time. In 1859, in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional.” That court decision, as well as some others in our past, makes my case. Moral people can’t rely solely on the courts to establish what’s right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

Soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, euphemistically titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for Congress to force any American to enter into a contract to buy any good or service. But if the court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, what should we do?

State governors and legislators ought to summon up the courage of our Founding Fathers in response to the 5th Congress’ Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798.

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  • davarino

    Exactly what I was thinking Walter, except not nearly as eloquent : ) We have to draw a line in the sand somewhere.

    I think the repubs/conservatives in Washington have acquiesced to the notion that if we dont respect the laws, executive orders…..etc. that the dems pass then they wont respect the laws we pass and you run into a situation similar to the civil war. Well my thought is that if we dont push back soon its all gone and the American experiment is over and there is nothing left to fight for anyway.

    • anita marus

      if someone would read the entire operma care they would change their minds completely. there are pages that say the gov. would only pay you 2,000 a year for your medical problems (husband and wife). if you have children the gov would only pay you 10,000 a year for the entire family… Not you or your doctor would see how things would fit into your medical papers , only the gov would tell you. and if you want to get more insurance you can be finded by the gov. no one is strong enough to read the medical caree bill. because there are things in there that would scare a family rich or poor.

  • tagalog

    As with all systems created and administered by human beings, the legal system, the legislative system, and the judicial system are imperfect. When, as happens from time to time (the Third Reich comes most readily to mind) the legal system disgorges laws that are repugnant, it is our duty to overturn them, and to ignore them until that happens. People do that all the time, by the way, and that duty is what undergirds the true concept of civil disobedience (not the kind of present-day phony idea of civil disobedience that says someone can disobey the law and not bear the consequences).

    In my town, we have an active group of people who call themselves "Patriots" or something like that. They think certain laws, like sales tax laws for example, are not legitimate; we also have a group of Occupiers who think they, as citizens, can camp out in the public parks. Both those groups refuse to obey the law. One day they may attract enough followers to actually change the law. Or one day they will disappear, having failed to do that. In the meantime, they must deal at first hand with the application of the law. Whatever their wisdom, they have the courage of their convictions, and that deserves respect.

    • Amused

      BULLSHEEET >

      • tagalog

        They ARE perfect, is that what your sophisticated critique is saying?

  • Gene

    An oppressive government: "When in the course of Human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands that connect them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate but equal station To which the Laws of Nature and Nature's God Entitle them! Entitle them! A decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that the should declare the causes which impel the separation."

  • Linda Rivera

    SCARY……

    Is this REALLY our AMERICA??????

    Know the TRUTH about the Government Health Care Bill H.R.3200 – Key Points http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcBaSP31Be8

  • Linda Rivera

    An inferior health care plan that NO ONE wants and CANNOT afford to pay. The threat to jail and/or fine those who don't purchase the government enforced plan.

    Massive spending as if there is no tomorrow. Fighting wars we have no money for. Massive borrowing.

    The Massive giving away of Billions of dollars every year to other countries, including the OIL-WEALTHY Middle East, Hamas-controlled Gaza and the Palestinian Authority organization who fill their war chests, build mansions and LAUGH all the way to the bank with FREE infidel money. Whilst in America, homeless shelters are filled to capacity; tent cities have sprung up all over the U.S. filled with desperate, jobless, homeless Americans.

    Massive debt. The massive printing of paper money out of thin air to DELIBERATELY create out-of-control inflation. There is no question that the total DESTRUCTION of America's economy is planned. The results will be horrifying. In the once wealthy and great nation of America, millions of Americans will become destitute, hungry and homeless with no money or resources to help them.

  • Linda Rivera

    Organic, non-GMO avocado, fruit and nut trees and berries must be planted in all of our nation’s cities’ and towns’ parks to help the many millions of Americans who will soon be in a desperate struggle to survive because of the frightening, highly destructive economic policies of our government.

    Watch it. And weep for our great nation and people:

    FALL Of The Republic – The Presidency Of Barack H Obama – The Full Movie HQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8LPNRI_6T8&fe

  • Schlomotion

    I agree with this article even though it has been Blackanized for rhetorical effect.

  • Msgtusaf

    If people have read the words of the new black panthers, they will know, that if obama loses this election, there will be a civil war instigated by militant blacks and their union puppets. If obama wins those of us who love this country and freedom will be pushed into a corner. God have mercy on America!

  • dennis x

    During the Clinton impeachment all we heard from the right was " we are a nation of laws". I guess you meant only when you agree with those laws.

  • AntiSharia

    First of all there are too many federal laws, we should repeal most of them. But, as conservatives, we should honor the constitution and nullification is not the way to do that. Nullification is unconstitutional as it violates the supremacy clause. In order for it to be constitutional an amendment would have to be passed, and while that might not be a bad idea, it is unconstitutional as the constitution stands now.

    Secondly even if the court holds that the Obamacare law is constitutional it's never going to be enacted. The law is unenforceable. What's Washington going to do? Arrest everyone who refuses to buy insurance? We don't have enough room in our prisons now there's no way our justice system could handle all of the people who refuse to obey this unconstitutional law.

  • Swatty Jim

    LIBERLISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER…
    -Dr. Michael Savage

    Sadly, we are paving the way for our own demise, yet, no one says a thing. Where is the public outcry? Oh I see, everyone is too busy on their smartphones, and too lazy to step off the STARBUCKS COFFEE LINE! Shame on us.

    Travesty.

    • Amused

      LOL…..Savage ??? A screeching loon from Brooklyn ?? Who claims he's got a PHD in EVERYTHING ? They probably ran him out of Brooklyn ,that's how he wound up in Frisco .
      Speak for yourself man …shame on YOU .

  • Amused

    Ahhhh, there it is ! NULLIFICATION , spoken like a true fascist , why dont you rent a bungalow up in Idaho Williams . Just head for the mouintains and when you get stopped by a bunch of bald headed guys wearing crucifixes and swastikas , you'll know you're home .
    But hey look where "not obeying the law " got us today .If Wall Street obeted the law there would have been no economic collaps in 08 . Maybe you';re really an Anarchist eh Williams ?

  • Lady_Dr

    FINALLY – someone is speaking up for the 10th Amendment.

    I'm no prophet and don't know what will happen in the future – BUT we must be prepared to go to jail, we must be prepared for civil war lead, initiated in fact by the left who are completely out of control and angry and will almost certainly try to rig the election and if they don't win will have a temper tantrum. Be prepared.

    • Amused

      Better get back on your prozac Lady_Dr , if you're out , just write yourself another prescription .

  • Rick_in_VA

    There are two types of laws:

    Malum in se– Which means evil in and of itself. Murder and rape would come under this heading.

    Malum prohibitum– Which means it's illegal because someone says it is. Zoning laws, for instance.

    Obamacare is definitely in the latter category. Aside from that fact, it is blatantly unconstitutional, like so much of what the federal government does.

    Look in the Constitution and you will find that the congress has the power to control what the supreme Court (note: supreme is not capitalized in the constitution) is allowed to rule on.

  • AC

    Most laws are tolerable only to the extent to which they can be ignored/

  • Amused

    Last time I looked we were a country ruled by law ,and we had a Supreme Court , to validate or overturn a law .
    Disobey the laws you don't like Obey the ones you do …..that amounts to BULLSHEEET . And BTW , EVERYONE has the right to DUE PROCESS , that is they can appeal right of to the Supreme Court . Therefore if anyone thinks a law is unfair or in violation of the Constitution or and established Amendment ,the law can be ruled un-Constitutional thus repealed or an Amendment deemed to be violated or clarified if need be . Congress , does not overule the Supreme Court nor do they determine what will be brought before that Court .