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Civil Liberties

Between Requiring and Banning Proof of Vaccination there is Liberty

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | June 10, 2021

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

-          Viktor E. Frankl

What are we to think of moves by Texas and Florida Republicans to ban private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination before entering their premises or engaging with their employees? Without a doubt such policies are popular with the Republican grassroots, but are they based on the right principles? 

Sadly, no. 

Many people skeptical about government power and about Covid-19 itself have agitated against “vaccine passports” and against any requirement to take the vaccine or to have to prove that they have been vaccinated. 

And it’s probably correct that government agencies should not require proof of vaccination for Covid-19 in order to obtain necessary services from government. That’s probably an untenable intrusion on Americans’ sense of personal privacy, although of course schools have for decades required proof of vaccination for school attendance. 

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Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick's SB4 Is Unconstitutional

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | May 24, 2021

Here in Texas Dan Patrick, the Lieutenant Governor and Leader of the Senate, has a bill, SB4, that would require the National Anthem to be performed before any public sporting event that is in any way connected to taxpayer dollars. That would include all public schools, of course, but would even include private sporting venues if they received tax abatements, subsidies, or dedicated sales taxes.

Whatever you think of taxpayer funding of sporting venues (and I don’t think much of it), Patrick’s bill is blatantly unconstitutional in that it violates the First Amendment.

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How the Warren Court Betrayed Our System of Checks and Balances

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | July 18, 2019

IPI president Tom Giovanetti joined host Debbie Georgatos Wednesday on "America Can We Talk" discussing the concept of judicial supremacy.

Is the final word on almost any issue whatever the Supreme Court rules? Do the executive and legislative branches have to roll over to the final arbiter, the judiciary? 

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Posted in Civil Liberties

Tucker Carlson Is Wrong

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | July 16, 2019

Today Tucker Carlson said that the greatest threat to our liberty was no longer the federal government, but is now big corporations.

Tucker Carlson is abjectly wrong.

Hewlett-Packard can’t kick my door in, shoot my dog, and take my kids. Facebook has never planted false evidence on me. Amazon doesn’t seize my assets before I’ve been convicted of a crime.

Best Buy doesn’t have qualified immunity that protects it from liability if it breaks the law and harms me.

Government does all of these things.

The greatest threat to liberty is, and always has been, government. Not the private sector. There’s a bright line there that only a fool would purposely blur.

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Notes from TFRW Talk Against Judicial Supremacy

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | July 3, 2019

I gave a fairly provocative talk a week or so ago to the Texas Federation of Republican Women (TFRW) in Austin on the two factors that, in my opinion, have led to our dysfunctional government. I identify two areas where our system of checks and balances has gone into the ditch: First, the states have abrogated their duty to be the first and best check against federal power (see 9th and 10th Amendments), and second, the courts have asserted a completely unconstitutional doctrine of judicial supremacy, and the states, the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch have meekly complied because it absolves them of their responsibilities under the Constitution.

Once you get your head around the idea that the Supreme Court was never supposed to rule the country, it's like the scales fall from your eyes, and you can see not only the cause of so many of our current problems, but also the solution.

I've been asked for my notes by several people, and the problem is my notes are speaking cues, nothing more. But I've attempted to clean them up a bit and post them here, mainly because there are current issues like the census question and the Trump administration's immigration orders that I think are clear examples of unconstitutional deference to the courts.

So here they are. Hope they are useful and intelligible to someone.

. . . 

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Scalia's Coded Hint In the Obergefell Decision

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | June 27, 2019

Occasionally I give talks to groups about the problem of judicial supremacy—the unconstitutional doctrine that the Judicial Branch has unique power to interpret the Constitution and can overrule the other two branches and overrule the states without question.

I've written about here, but I'm not the only one. Here's another piece.

Anyway, because this is a hobby horse of mine, my eyes were riveted to some of Justice Scalia's last writings—specifically, his dissent in the Obergefell case (same-sex marriage). The point of this language has nothing to do with same-sex marriage—it has to do with whether courts actually have us much power under the Constitution as we have allowed them to assert.

In my opinion, Scalia left us a coded hint in his dissent on the gay marriage decision. It concludes:

“With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them—with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the “reasoned judgment” of a bare majority of this Court—we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.”

What I think Scalia is suggesting is that the Founders purposely designed the Court without the power to enforce its opinions, and that states and the other two branches of the federal government actually have more power to simply ignore SCOTUS decisions than they know they have.

What, for instance, would happen if a state simply decided to ignore a controversial SCOTUS case? What would happen if a president simply ignored a nationwide injunction issued against the Exective Branch by some mid-level judge in Washington State? What, exactly, would happen?

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Giovanetti Testimony: Let Private Companies Build Infrastructure

by Erin Humiston | 0 Comments | March 5, 2019

New legislation before the Texas legislature wrongly assumes that private sector use of eminent domain is more problematic than government use.

In his March 4 testimony before the Texas state affairs committee regarding SB 421, IPI president Tom Giovanetti pointed out the troubling assumption underlying the bill—that there is something wrong or potentially abusive about allowing the private sector to use eminent domain.

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Twitter Rant Against Local Control: Implications

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | July 20, 2017

After sending out my 29 tweets on local control, which were all theory, I sent out these 14 specific implications of coming to understand that local control is a false doctrine:

That was all theory. Now, implications (1/14) #txlege

The state can limit the ability of municipalities to tax, including property taxes and sales taxes (2/14) #txlege

The state can limit the ability of municipalities to establish protected classes and so-called “non-discrimination” ordinances. (3/14) #txlege

The state can limit municipalities from passing plastic bag bans and tree ordinances (4/14) #txlege

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Twitter Rant Against Local Control: Theory

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | July 20, 2017

I'm working on a paper in which I lay out all my arguments against the idea that local control is some kind of sacred government principle, and that states have no right to pre-empt local governments from doing pretty much whatever they want to do.

I had hoped to have the paper done before the start of Texas' special legislative session, but I had hoped to have it finished before the start of Texas' regular legislative session back in January, too, and that didn't happen either.

So I decided to post some of the most important points last night in a series of Twitter posts. But since Twitter must be the stupidest platform for lengthy, organized arguments, I'm posting them here in this blog as well.

This post contains the 29 tweets that lay out the general argument. In a second post I'll list the 14 additional tweets that lay out some implications of the argument.

1. [begin local control rant] #txlege

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Posted in Civil Liberties

Video Available for Right on Crime/IPI's Civil Asset Forfeiture Briefing

by Tom Giovanetti | 0 Comments | February 18, 2016

On Tuesday, February 9, IPI was pleased to host and co-sponsor with Right on Crime and the Texas Public Policy Foundation a public forum on civil asset forfeiture. The two panels featured a spectacular  array of experts, including elected officials and policy experts.

Video of the two panels is now available hosted on YouTube. Here are the links:

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