Access Denied!

Earlier this morning, I and a few colleagues from the Tea Party movement went over to Rio Rancho High School armed with a video camera in order to do some “man on the street” interviews with those attending President Obama’s speech and those who were protesting. The interviews were to be posted online at Pajamas Media.
Unfortunately, even though my camera man and I had no intentions of going into the talk, the police told us we needed tickets in order to even step foot on campus. This included the sidewalk in front of the high school. That made it pretty difficult to get access to people attending the event for interviews. Making the situation worse is the fact that the only parking available anywhere near the event was in a neighborhood that the police told us would be on “lock down” until 11am. That would have made it impossible to get over to AM 1550 for my post-speech discussion of Obama’s talk, so we had to leave.
Nonetheless, AM 1550 is going to simulcast Obama’s speech which is slated to start around 10am. Immediately following the talk, I’ll be appearing on a panel to discuss the talk on the station. You can listen to AM 1550 online here.

New Mexico Legislator to Congress “Obey the Constitution!”

The United States Constitution is a much trampled upon document these days. The trend started long ago with Woodrow Wilson and FDR being among the most anti-Constitutional presidents in the history of the Republic. Of course , this trend has only worsened in recent years as both President Bush and Obama have further ignored the document, thus expanding their own powers and taking powers from the states, the REAL ID being one prominent issue that — at least so far — the states have succeeded in defeating.
Fortunately, although it has proven to be less than perfect, the Founding Fathers believed that powers should be split not only among the various federal branches, but also with the various states as a check on federal power. To that end, freshman New Mexico Representative Dennis Roch has introduced HJR 27 which re-asserts New Mexico’s rights under the 10th amendment to the US Constitution. If you are not familiar with that particular amendment, it 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.

Obviously, the federal government and its agents have been ignoring the 10th amendment for a very long time, thus infringing on the rights of both the states and most especially the people as a whole, so it is our hope that Rep. Roch’s efforts will succeed or at least receive significant attention.

Does Mimi Stewart Wish to Weaken New Mexico’s Vote?

Despite much criticism (mostly from the left), the Electoral College by which the United States chooses its presidents is one of the greatest innovations of the Founding Fathers. Better still (at least for New Mexicans), the effect of the Electoral College is that it increases the influence of rural and sparsely-populated states (like New Mexico) relative to larger, more densely populated states.
So, why does New Mexico Rep. Mimi Stewart want to abolish the Electoral College? After all, if you paid even the slightest attention to the recent election, you would have seen that both McCain and Obama spent an inordinate amount of time in New Mexico given the fact that the state’s 5 electoral votes (out of a possible 538) account for just less than one percent of the overall vote.
Of course, those 5 votes can make the difference between victory and defeat in a closely-contested presidential race. Does Stewart really believe that candidates would concentrate such attention on NM in order to woo our 2 million residents, accounting for .066 percent of the popular vote?
The fact is that New Mexico receives far more attention from candidates under the current system than it would under a popular vote system under which candidates would campaign only in densely-populated states and “flyover country” would become, well “flyover country” for presidential candidates.
Perhaps Stewart will further advance her “anti-New Mexico” agenda by attempting to return some of our outsized federal largesse to the Treasury?

Happy Bill of Rights Day

While the Founding Fathers would undoubtedly be rolling in their graves if they were aware of the federal government’s massive intervention in the American economy, we can still celebrate America’s Bill of Rights and its important legacy of limited government. It is also important to educate our fellow Americans that ours is a federal government with limited powers and that the Bill of Rights protect individual Americans and their state and local governments from federal overreach.
Happy Bill of Rights Day!

Good News on Guns!

Rarely do we at the Rio Grande Foundation discuss the 2nd Amendment or gun rights, but the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller is a very big deal because it is a clear sign that the Court hasn’t completely abandoned attempts to read the document as it is written.
While it is impossible to underestimate the restoration of the right to carry guns in Washington, DC and other jurisdictions that have attempted to write their own laws in defiance of the Constitution, it would be really great if this trend towards Constitutional adherence were applied by the Court to the 9th and 10th amendments.

Kudos to the ACLU

We don’t always see eye-to-eye with the ACLU, but it is hard to argue with their standing up for the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” According to news reports, a truck driver was stopped at a weigh station on U.S. 54 in New Mexico north of El Paso, Texas. He gave police permission to search his truck to see if it contained “needles or cash in excess of $10,000.” While the driver had no needles, he did have $24,000 in cash.
Now, the DEA is holding the driver’s cash unless he can prove that the money was not related to drugs. Now, I’m not sure exactly how anyone can possibly be expected to affirmatively prove their innocence, but so are the inner workings of America’s bizarre asset forfeiture laws.

New Law Improves New Mexico Ranking on Property Protections

According to a new publication from the Institute for Justice, the non-profit law firm that litigated for property owners in Kelo v. New London, New Mexico’s eminent domain reforms passed during the last legislative session give the state an “A” when it comes to protecting property owners.
We knew the reforms were good and we’re happy that both Governor Richardson and the Legislature were able to find agreement on the issue without caving to special interests. For more information on eminent domain and the relative degree of protection in all 50 states, check out the report card here.

The First Limited Government Candidate for the ’08 Presidency Jumps Into the Ring

Ron Paul, the constitutionalist-Republican Congressman from Texas has set up an exploratory committee for the purposes of running for President in 2008. Given the dearth of small-government types in either party that have announced for 2008, Dr. Paul’s candidacy is a welcome development. If nothing else, it will be interesting to what extent he can attain a platform to discuss his limited-government views. We at the Rio Grande Foundation certainly welcome a real debate over the role of government in our daily lives.

Ending Eminent Domain Abuse in NM

Thanks to Walter Bradley for his fine opinion piece supporting defense of our precious property rights in New Mexico.

We discovered that local governments could use New Mexico’s incredibly broad condemnation authority to take virtually any property in the state and hand it over to developers.
Most people recognize the need for eminent domain to accomplish traditional public uses, such as roads and utilities. But, 99 percent of the public comments to the task force made clear the overwhelmingly predominant position of citizens: New Mexico should respect the rights of individuals to keep what they have worked so hard to own, and should protect its citizens from eminent domain abuse.