James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, January 27, 2007

When the Feds Fund It, It Becomes a Federal Case

My position is that unless there's a Constitutional Amendment saying otherwise, that the Bill of Rights applies only to the states, and not to state governments. Yes, it would be great if the states respected those same rights, but according to the Constitution they are not required to do so.

That is why I reluctantly supported Kelo's eminent domain decision at first. And, when it comes to student "misbehavior," I've always believed that the local school's disciplinary procedures and state laws should remain supreme. And religious displays on public property? That's a local concern. This stuff does not belong in a federal court.

Except, as Will Grigg pointed out months ago, it turns out that the "the NLDC [the planning committee who stole Kelo's property] is a 'partner' with the U.S. Department of Commerce. That which the federal government subsidizes, it controls." Therefore, the 5th Amendment does apply, and Kelo was wrongly decided.

Now, Doug Newman alerts us to the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case. A high school student unfurled this banner on a field trip. Suspended for ten days, he tried to get that reversed on First Amendment grounds, and now Ken Starr is represending the school district before the Supreme Court.

These issues should be of strictly local concern. But it is also the case that the local institutions in which these controversies arise should be locally funded. Once the feds call the shots, the feds must be held accountable. If the local governments is petty and tyrannical, and is funded by the federal government, then it is actually the federal government that is petty and tyrannical - and in violation of the Bill of Rights.

(Of course, they are already in violation of the Tenth Amendment by funding local governments in the first place, but federal judges don't pay attention to that Amendment anymore.)

My position on this case and other school discipline/speech/religion cases is this:

a) If the student is of an age in which the state legally forces him to attend school, and in practical terms denied the option of private schooling;
b) and if the federal government subsidized the school in any way, then
c) it's a First Amendment case.

Some may protest that the Supreme Court shouldn't allow complete freedom of expression for kids and undermine school discipline.That may be so, but the solution is don't let the feds fund education. Then, the federal courts shouldn't be involved at all.

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