Did you know that the Arizona Constitution is comprised of only 108 pages? Here’s the link. The United States Constitution, including all 27 Amendments is comprised of only 21 pages. Here’s the link. Did you know that the Arizona Constitution provides more individual protections in some areas than the U.S. Constitution, but that it also contains some of the most destructive, progressive elements as well? Have you heard of the Black Robe Regiment, and its recent resurgence? Here’s the link. Did you know that more than ever in the history of America, our religious liberties are being assaulted, and Alliance Defending Freedom is doing all possible to help? Were you aware that when the IRS informs you that you must submit to an audit, they are violating the Fourth Amendment, unless they have obtained a search warrant and proved probable causethat you have broken a law? Here’s the link.
We learned this and much more at the 11/23/2013 seminar that was organized by Sue Goodchild and held at the Living Faith Center in Prescott Valley. The cost was a mere $20, and included a wonderful catered lunch.
The speakers were Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, Arizona Senator Chester Crandell (LD6), former Arizona Senator and Justice of the Peace Lester Pearce, and Shane Krauser, the director of the American Academy for Constitutional Education.
It was eye opening.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne spoke about some of the more positive aspects of provisions found in the Arizona Constitution. He first noted the Preamble, which is similar to the U.S. Constitution as well as other states’ constitutions all across America:
"We the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution."
He also pointed out that it states clearly in Article 2, Sect. 2, that “all political power is inherent in the people,”
The Arizona Constitution goes further than our U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Arizona Constitution states positively in Article 2, Section 6. "Every person may freely speak, write, and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right."
He cited two cases relating to this provision, one in which an “adult" bookstore was being challenged over its being open for business from 12 am to 8 am, which resulted in significantly higher incidences of crime. The bookstore cited “freedom of speech infringement.” They lost the case, because there wasn’t an effort to block their freedom of speech. Rather, the state had the right to “regulate time, place, and manner.” Thus, it was the crime associated with the hours of operation that was the problem.
Mr. Horne also discussed Eminent Domain, and cited Article 2, Section. 17.
There was a case in Mesa in which the Mesa City Council attempted to take Bailey’s Brake Service for purposes of a redevelopment project. It would have lined the pockets of the private developer. Bailey’s won. “Whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and determined as such without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public. “
Mr. Horne also explained how the separation of powers protects our liberties. In Arizona, there are 3 branches of government: Executive, Legislature, Judicial. "The powers of the government of the state of Arizona shall be divided into three separate departments, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial; and, except as provided in this constitution, such departments shall be separate and distinct, and no one of such departments shall exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others."
He cited a case in Phoenix involving the Gifts Clause. A developer, City North Development, ran into financial troubles and asked for help from Phoenix to complete the project. To “get around” the gift clause, Phoenix justified its plans to help, citing that its financial help would be offset by parking places provided by the developer, in addition to tax revenues that would be gained. The court advised that tax revenues are not the developer’s to give. It’s an incidental benefit. The parking places didn’t come close to being proportionate to the financial help given by the Phoenix taxpayers.
Article 9, Section. 7. Neither the state, nor any county, city, town, municipality, or other subdivision of the state shall ever give or loan its credit in the aid of, or make any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual, association, or corporation, or become a subscriber to, or a shareholder in, any company or corporation, or become a joint owner with any person, company, or corporation, except as to such ownerships as may accrue to the state by operation or provision of law or as authorized by law solely for investment of the monies in the various funds of the state.
Tom Horne has been criticized by the press for fighting for Arizona at the Supreme Court. However, Mr. Horne stated that , while his predecessors have had degrees, most have never litigated. He stressed that his title is Attorney General. He believes in being a role model and fights for Arizona. He personally argued and won a U.S. Supreme Court case that reduced the power of the federal government to interfere with Arizona’s laws. The Court overruled the Ninth Circuit unanimously. Read more about Tom Horne’s accomplishments at www.ElectTomHorne.com.
SEN CHESTER CRANDELL (LD6) opened by talking about his concerns about Arizona’s Debt and cited a clause which stated that Arizona “shall not incur more than $350k in debt.” The Judicial branch has stated that a lease/purchase is not considered debt. He also cited gimmicks such as rollovers of $1 billion that get around the limit on debt. He has been working with former Senate President Russell Pearce to on a structurally balanced budget.
Sen Crandell discussed his concerns about Common Core (renamed Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards) that was approved by the Arizona Department of Education. He noted that 10 of the 11 governing board members are appointed by the Governor. Every other school board members are elected by their constitutents. Why shouldn’t the state board be elected as well?
He stated that, just like the federal government, the executive branch has started taking over the legislative branch.
He cautioned that if the 10J rule relating to the Mexican Gray wolf reintroduction passes in Arizona, allowing the federal government to declare land in Arizona to be designated “public,” it will remove state’s rights. It also means we lose tax revenues which help fund K-12.
Speaking of federal overreach, he stated that the IRS audits are illegal without showing probable cause that you have broken a law and obtaining a search warrant. It’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees the following:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Sen. Crandall spoke about being a plaintiff, in addition to 35 other Arizona Republican legislators, in a lawsuit that has been filed by the Goldwater Institute relating to the Governor and Legislature passing Medicaid Expansion in Arizona. The issue is that all Democrats, and 14 Republican legislators, passed a tax increase without a 2/3 vote as noted in Prop 108. The defendants in the lawsuit include Tom Betlach, the Director of AHCCCS, who is responsible for enforcing and collecting the provider tax and Gov. Jan Brewer. .
LESTER PEARCE spoke about our republican form of government and that our judicial system is abusing its power. He stressed that It was a mistake to add the 17th Amendment, which allows senators to be elected by popular vote. The Founders were correct when, after extensive debate, they determined that U.S. Senators should be chosen by the state legislatures.
"As Madison makes clear in the Federalist Papers, in order to defend the vertical checks and balances that allow America’s federal system to function, senators would be “elected absolutely and exclusively by state legislatures.”
The Senate was not intended to be the people’s representative body, but that of the states. Lest the federal government “swallow up the state legislatures,” George Mason insisted to his fellow convention delegates in Philadelphia, “let the state legislatures appoint the Senate.” The delegates backed him unanimously.
Mr. Pearce also noted that the president of the United States has only 6 presidential powers, yet he has willfully violated the U.S. Constitution, in spite having taken an Oath to protect it. The Supreme Court has also reinterpreted the U.S. Constitution.
He stressed the importantance of standing up for the Constituion. It isn’t a partisan issue. This is something all parties should embrace. He urged the audience to read the Constitution and Amendments. They comprise only 22 pages. Read the Arizona Constitution, it is only 108 pages. He also stated that no matter what the judges have determined, a lease/purchase is a debt."
When Mr. Pearce was an Arizona senator and would be sitting next to Jan Brewer, she would ask him, "Why are you always talking about the Constitution"?
He stated that people ask him which judges should be voted for. He tells them that if they don’t know the judge, vote No. Many are good, but others have abused their authority.
Already, 75% of Arizona’s land is under the jurisdiction of the federal government. (See Now more than ever: Take Arizona’s Land Away from Federal Control!
He reminded the audience that only one third of the population supported George Washington in the Revolution. Another third were fence sitters, and another third were loyal to the King of England.
SHANE KRAUSER acknowledged that many of us who love our Republic feel despair, because of the myriad assaults on our Republic, but cautioned, “The opposition wants you to feel despair.” He cited many examples of young Obama supporters who are hearing about Freedom for the first time, and are joining the fight to preserve it. They are beginning to understand that more government means less freedom.
Mr. Krauser stated that he is against judges being elected by a popular vote. They should not be accountable to the people. They would be under pressure to decide cases based on the next election. Judges should not be political.
Mr. Krauser explained and illustrated the difference between a democracy and a republic. Democracy is majority rule, requiring 50+ percent of the vote of the people. Thus, the mob mentality rules. Democracy can easily become a tool of a charismatic speaker to manipulate the people to do his will and make government move by his design. The United States is not in fact a democracy but a constitutional republic. As such, the republican form of government protects the minority’s rights.
Initiatives can violate personal property rights. He cited as an example the initative which banned smoking in privately owned restaurants. Another voter intiative is minimum wage laws, which may sound egalitarian, but actually results in killing jobs and businesses. Also included in this category are Clean Elections and Redistricting.
Referendums can overturn laws that have been passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. Recently, paid circulators gathered enough signatures to place HB2305 on the 2014 ballot. This bill dealt with voter reforms, including those that would guard against tampering with early ballots by people who collect them. The Left wants to continue their ability to tamper. (Vote No.)
Perhaps the most onerous provision in the Arizona Constitution is the one relating to Recalls. Article 8, Part 1., Sect. 1. A duly elected Arizona legislator can be subject to a Recall for no reason, other than that “the mob” doesn’t like him. Section 1. "Every public officer in the state of Arizona, holding an elective office, either by election or appointment, is subject to recall from such office by the qualified electors of the electoral district from which candidates are elected to such office. Such electoral district may include the whole state. Such number of said electors as shall equal twenty-five per centum of the number of votes cast at the last preceding general election for all of the candidates for the office held by such officer, may by petition, which shall be known as a recall petition, demand his recall."
The most vicious Recall in Arizona history was directed at former Senate President Russell Pearce. His "crime" was his authoriship of SB1070, which allowed Arizona to enforce laws pertaining to illegal immigration.
Shane Krauser quoted Robert Livingston, who had this to say about Recalls.
"… it would open so wide a door for faction and intrigue, and afford such scope for the arts of an evil ambition. A man might go to the Senate with an incorruptible integrity, and the strongest attachment to the interest of his state. But if he deviated, in the least degree, from the line which a prevailing party in a popular assembly had marked for him, he would be immediately recalled. Under these circumstances, how easy would it be for an ambitious, factious demagogue to misrepresent him, to distort the features of his character, and give a false color to his conduct! How easy for such a man to impose upon the public, and influence them to recall and disgrace their faithful delegate!”
Joy Staveley asked Mr. Krauser if we are living under a “soft tyranny” now. He stated that we are living in an oligarchy, in which a few elites have taken control, and we have little representative government anymore.
In his opinion, we are living in a cultural war. It is an intellectual war that knows no end. We have to be litigious. We have to have neighborhood meetings. The message of Freedom is joyous. We must not fear standing up against tyranny.
Lester Pearce reminded us that the Left is working hard to destroy our moral standard. People of faith are being persecuted for not bowing to the demands of same sex marriage couples. The church must stand up for their First Amendment Rights. They should speak out politically and not be fearful of losing their 501(c)3 status. Alliance Defending Freedom vigorously defends people who stand up for their religious convictions and are abused by government in the process. There is a resurgence of the Black Robe Regiment.
For more information:
American Academy for Constitutional Education
Debate in New York Ratifying Convention
IRS Corruption has an Easy Fix
National Center for Constitutional Studies
Initiatives, Referendums, and Recalls