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Constitution question

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rm23, Nov 11, 2012.

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  1. rm23

    rm23 Member

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    Why does the federal government need a Constitutional amendment to have the power to ban alcohol, but only needs to pass a law in order to ban "assault weapons?"
     
  2. CmdrSlander

    CmdrSlander Member

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    They didn't need an amendment to ban alcohol, but they got one because they had the votes and willing states and because it would be the hardest to challenge. They don't have the votes for an AWB amendment so they just use regular legislation.
     
  3. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    A constitutional amendment requires a 2/3 vote in both houses. It also requires to be ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures.



    A law requires a majority vote in both houses.
     
  4. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Member

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    It has MUCH more on the HOW the prohibition ban came about vs. gun control and the political climate

    the ban alcohol movement was a VERY popular and 'vocal' ground swell movement, often ran through churches and organized into local 'women' movements and 'clean' committees.

    http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A5.html
     
  5. hermannr

    hermannr Member

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    I disagree that the Federal government did not NEED a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol. It did need one, and it got one....then everyone got smart and saw that it caused more problems then it solved and repealed it, which is what should happen to the equally stupid "War on Drugs" which has also caused way more problems than it (supposedly) solved.

    Between when the 18 amendment was passed and the present time, there was this guy that stacked the supreme court and got a "commerce clause" (mis)ruling that basicially said, you can do whatever you want as long as you can tie it to interstate commerce. That is why who appoints the federal court judges is so important.

    That is why we can have prohibition, without a constitutional amendment. Even though the ruling was a big bunch of twisted logic, designed to legislate from the bench,,,it is what it is.
     
  6. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    Ken Burns did a useful documentary on Prohibition for PBS last year. It's worth looking at. A wide variety of forces came together to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to put it in place. It did have support from many in the Federal government and in both political parties. It was a central issue in many electoral campaigns. A number of forces that joined in the movement to prohibit alchocol did not want to see a amendment to the Constitution to enforce it but they were drug along and it was too late. Religious groups (evangelical, Baptist, etc), some in the early women's rights movement, the widespread Temperance Societies which preached against the abuse of alcohol, anti immigrant groups, anti Jewish outfits, some in the labor movement, all sorts of professional "do-gooders", etc., etc. Those that wanted the police on local and federal levels to have more power and authority saw it as a useful tool in that. It was a broad array of forces that pushed for laws and eventually Prohibition.

    Even after the Amendment was reversed many states and localities still had and have Blue Laws on the books and enforce them. No booze sales on Sunday, State liquer stores, package stores, no sales of booze in grocery stores, near beer, etc.

    tipoc
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  7. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Member

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    A Constitutional amendment is required for both. Perhaps it's just a question of legislative integrity in 1919 vs. the present day.
     
  8. Drail

    Drail Member

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    The Constitution does not matter any more AT ALL to the clowns in the Federal Govt. They view it as an annoying obstruction to their efforts to "fix" everything. They belive their ability to do so justifies their ridiculous salaries. They believe they know better than "we the people" what is best for us. They believe we cannot possibly "know" what the original Founders were actually saying. They have invented the concept that it is a "living document" subject to the whims of the legislature. The Consitution today means only what they can get the Supreme court to "say" it means. They believe that the Consitution was written in a language that only they can interpret because we're just too dumb. It is way past time for these people to have a wake up call before we all end up like the Romans and the Greeks. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Over and over. It is the history of the human race. Once the people believe that their rights were "granted" by the Consitution and can be easily taken away by the Fed it's really pretty easy to turn them into subjects and the majority won't even question the process. Question everything.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  9. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    It all depends on exactly what they want to do and how they want to do it.

    I basically covered the issue in this post in another thread:
     
  10. Harvie

    Harvie Member

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    We're on the very same page.
     
  11. alsaqr

    alsaqr Member

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    Exactly.
    The goal of the prohibitionists was to kill a legal industry. The 18th amendment killed a legal industry and brought forth a criminal enterprise. There was little organized crime in the US prior to prohibition.
     
  12. ConstitutionCowboy

    ConstitutionCowboy member

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    Here's how it works: What you can't pass legitimately, you usurp.

    That which has been usurped is nigh impossible to remove or repeal.

    Woody
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    read up on republic and rule of law versus democracy and mob rule and you will have your answer
     
  14. legaleagle_45

    legaleagle_45 Member

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    Because no one in their right mind would have believed that SCOTUS would expand the commerce clause to the extent they did in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942).
     
  15. ksquare

    ksquare Member

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    we need to be very careful with the word LAW. US CODE is nothing more than corporate policy of US inc. i did not get a paycheck from them so i am not an employee of US inc. same applies to you if you didn't get a paycheck.
     
  16. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Legal Eagle has hit it on the nose.

    The Supreme Court's view of the Constitution has changed in the past century. What once took a Constitutional amendment now takes only an act of Congress. Or perhaps just the pen scratching of a civil servant.

    Once Prohibition was repealed, the feds had to find new wars to fight. Wars on pot, on firearms, and so on were cooked up in the 30's. Even then the Court fought FDR which is why the NFA has the rather ridiculous "tax stamp" facade. But by the 40's, with the Court liberalized, the way was paved for a full spectrum of federal criminal laws and much more to boot. If a Founder were alive today, he'd be shocked to see the alphabet soup of armed agents enforcing federal laws on everything from hemp to corn crops.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  17. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    At the time the government believed that under the Constitution they did not have the power to outright ban things. There was a couple precedents that didn't sit well, and those in power still felt they merely had the Constitutional authority to regulate trade between the states, not ban anything outright.
    They felt this way even though they had popular support for such a ban, a strong statement about the stronger moral makeup of a good percentage of previous politicians.


    The solution was to modify the Constitution itself to ban the object they didn't feel the Constitution currently allowed them to ban.
    Most of the United States was 'dry' before Prohibition was even passed by state and county laws.
    By 1919 64% of Americans and 37 (39 with 2 repealed) states were primarily dry.




    Later on FDR would pack the court and get a very different ruling on what authority the government had under the Constitution.
    This is the infamous Wickard vs Filburn, which was later interpreted to mean even more than what it said.
    FDR was for all intents a dictator, got his way, used intimidation and threats to force other branches of government to do what he wanted, and was in power for longer than anyone else and so scared government they introduced term limits after he conveniently died as WW2 came to an end and the benefits of a dictator were no longer needed.
    A lot of what FDR did was popular, including his 'New Deal'.
    Other things like banning the possession of gold showed just how far he was willing to go beyond those previously. (Your gold could be seized by government for no compensation and you were guilty of a crime for having it.)

    Since the time of FDR and his Supreme Court the government does have the authority over anything it can in any way say has an impact on commerce.
    Scalia recently expanded that even more in Gonzales vs Raich and gave essentially the same all encompassing power to the 'Supremacy Clause'.
    Now government has multiple ways to declare virtually anything is subject to government legislation, a primary and a secondary Constitutional authority.


    The start of government feeling it had authority to first tax, and later by expanding Constitutional interpretation to prohibit altogether started with the Harrison Tax Act. That was to restrict opium use (and cocaine) and was an international effort. (Opium use first becoming a widespread problem after the British forced the Chinese to allow it into the country. Even going to war over it in the Opium Wars. It became a widespread problem in China and the Chinese emmigrants then expanded it to other parts of the world through opium dens including to the USA and Europe.)
    That is why for example the early NFA was a tax stamp, Marihuana was banned with a tax stamp, but by the 60s they could just pass legislation to restrict whatever they wanted.
    It was the slippery slope, they got a taste for banning and it expanded. (Those tax stamps were a ban, they officially had ways to comply but it was very difficult to comply at the time. Not like getting an NFA stamp today.)



    Now guns should be different because they are arms specifically protected by the 2nd Amendment, in fact the only personal possession the Contitution demands not be infringed upon (while implications are made for some other things.)
    However that is not the stance the legislator has taken, and has treated guns as just as fully within the same scope of federal authority the expanded commerce powers have over everything else.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2012
  18. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    Sorry, it doesn't work that way.
     
  19. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Isn't there some kind of conspiracy theory along those lines?
     
  20. 316SS

    316SS Member

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    So this all brings up an obvious question:

    If many of the protections afforded by the Constitution have been subverted, and the federal government has turned into that which the Founding Fathers sought to prevent, then what recourse do we have within our current political system to undo the damage?

    It seems to me that without the protections afforded by the Constitution we are at the mercy of the mob. As recent events indicate, the mob has different ideas about the future of the US than most folks on THR.

    It is hard not to get discouraged.
     
  21. brickeyee

    brickeyee Member

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    It should sound familiar.
     
  22. henschman

    henschman Member

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    Alcohol prohibition was instituted before the Franklin Roosevelt administration. Federal gun control (as well as most federal drug prohibition) was instituted during or after. The Supreme Court and their views on the Commerce Clause changed a lot during the Roosevelt Admin.
     
  23. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    The initial question was answered and we've had some unfortunate excursions into the political and the silly. Enough.
     
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