If I were president, I would want to spend a lot of time going to the legislatures and telling them about best practices, whether it's about fighting poverty, whether it's about educating kids. The states are the laboratories where we can see what works. And I think presidents can have a much better relationship with legislatures.
... the State Legislatures will jealously and closely watch the operations of this Government, and be able to resist with more effect every assumption of power, than any other power on earth can do; and the greatest opponents to a Federal Government admit the State Legislatures to be sure guardians of the people's liberty.
An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment.
Robert Green Ingersoll
this last establishment will probably be within a mile of Charlottesville, and four from Monticello, if the system should be adopted at all by our legislature who meet within a week from this time. my hopes however are kept in check by the ordinary character of our state legislatures, the members...
I am unable to conceive that the state legislatures which must feel so many motives to watch, and which possess so many means of counteracting the federal legislature, would fail either to detect or to defeat a conspiracy of the latter against the liberties of their common constituencies.
We're an ignorant nation right now. We're not really capable, I do not think, the majority of our people, of making the decisions that have to be made at election time and particularly in the selection of their legislatures and their Congress and the presidency, of course. I don't think we're bright enough to do the job that would preserve our democracy, our republic. I think we're in serious danger.
Born in other countries, yet believing you could be happy in this, our laws acknowledge, as they should do, your right to join us in society, conforming, as I doubt not you will do, to our established rules. That these rules shall be as equal as prudential considerations will admit, will certainly be the aim of our legislatures, general and particular.
Despite two decisions, in 2008 and 2010, by the U.S. Supreme Court unequivocally affirming that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms against infringement by the government, state legislatures continue to do just that - enact laws that significantly infringe this fundamental human right.
I've learned the importance of changing people's minds at the grassroots level so that whoever does run will have a much better chance of encountering public opinion that reaches a critical mass and brings about a change not only in White House policies but in the Congress and in the state legislatures and all around the world.
Mr. Roosevelt, this is my principal request--it is almost the last request I shall ever make of anybody. Before you leave the presidential chair, recommend Congress to submit to the Legislatures a Constitutional Amendment which will enfranchise women, and thus take your place in history with Lincoln, the great emancipator. I beg of you not to close your term of office without doing this.
Susan B. Anthony
Before the advent of Hitler or Stalin, who took their power from the German and the Russian people, measures were thrust upon the free legislatures of those countries to deprive the people of the possession and use of firearms, so that they could not resist the encroachments of such diabolical and vitriolic state police organizations as the Gestapo, the Ogpu, and the Cheka.
Edwin Arthur Hall
The history of our Revolution will be one continued lie from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklin's electrical rod smote the earth and out sprang General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod - and thenceforward these two conducted all the policies, negotiations, legislatures, and war.
Every improvement in our conceptions of justice, as well as in the machinery for the administration of justice, whereby a closer approximation to exact justice may be secured, will make for social peace, though the mere adjudication of conflicting interests will not remove the conflicts themselves nor their cause. That lies deeper than legislatures or courts can probe.
Thomas Nixon Carver
Women must show their public face. We must help to work out our own community problems. We must insist on having equal voices and equal responsibilities... In large part, success depends on changing minds at home, in the streets, and at the workplace - not just in legislatures and in the courts. Each and every one of us has and important role to play in completing that task.
The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty.
What's happened is that, almost overnight, we've switched from democracy in real-property recording to oligarchy in real-property recording. There was no court case behind this, no statute from Congress or the state legislatures. It was accomplished in a private corporate decision. The banks just did it.
Nothing can be more evident, than that an exclusive power of regulating elections for the National Government, in the hands of the State Legislatures, would leave the existence of the Union entirely at their mercy . . . . It is to little purpose to say that a neglect or omission of this kind [not letting the feds have elections], would be unlikely to take place. The constitutional possibility of the thing, without an equivalent for the risk, is an unanswerable objection.
There are legions of [Aquarian, New Age, One World Religion] conspirators. They are in corporations, universities, and hospitals, on the faculties of public schools, in factories and doctors offices, in state and federal agencies, on city councils, and the White House staff, in state legislatures, in volunteer organizations, in virtually all arenas of policy making in the country.
The late proceedings of those daring invaders to establish a national religion have opened the eyes of all lovers of liberty and religion... I have been told they have thrown off the mask and are preaching to the people to elect none but godly men to represent them in the General and State Legislatures; ... what they mean by godly people, is people of their own stamp...
Under this law (Controlled Substances Act) a bureaucrat-usually not elected-decides whether or not a substance is dangerous and how dangerous that substance is. There's no more messing around with legislatures, presidents, or other bothersome formalities. When MDMA (ecstasy) was made illegal in 1986, no elected official voted on that. It was done "in house." People are now in jail because they did something that an administrator declared was wrong.
there ought always to be a constitutional method of giving efficacy to constitutional provisions. What for instance would avail restrictions on the authority of the state legislatures, without some constitutional mode of enforcing the observance of them? . . . This power must either be a direct negative on the state laws, or an authority in the federal courts, to over-rule such as might be in manifest contravention of the articles of union.
The people are pro-life, particularly in South Dakota. The timing (of the law) couldn't be better and reflects the momentum the pro-life movement has today. It's not coming from the top, it's coming from the ground. It's a grass-roots movement that's propelling the legislatures, the governor, the president, and ultimately the Supreme Court to nullify the permissive abortion laws.
Police officers today are a protected class, one no politician wants to oppose. Law enforcement interests may occasionally come up short on budgetary issues, but legislatures rarely if ever pass new laws to hold police more accountable, to restrict their powers, or to make them more transparent. In short, police today embody all of the threats the Founders feared were posed by standing armies, plus a few additional ones they couldn't have anticipated.
We live amid falling taboos. In our crowded little hour of history we have seen how the prejudice of religion no longer can bar the way to the White House. Some of you may live to see the day when the prejudice of sex no longer places the Presidency beyond the reach of a greatly gifted American lady. Long before them, I hope you will see a woman member of the Supreme Court of the United States. In Congress and in our State Legislatures we need more women to bring their sensitive experience to the shaping of our decisions.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lawyers, before any other group, must continue to point out how the system is really working-how it actually affects real people. They must constantly demonstrate to courts and legislatures alike the tragic results of legal nonintervention. They must highlight how legal doctrines no longer bear any relation to reality, whether in landlord and tenant law, holder in due course law, or any other law. In sum, lawyers must bring real morality into the legal consciousness
William J. Brennan
The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.
Rutherford B. Hayes
...Only physicians are likely to be regarded as competent to judge the qualifications of potential physicians, so licensing boards in the various states...are typically composed..of physicians,...members of the AMA. The boards, or the state legislatures...give the AMA the power to influence the number of persons admitted to practice (by) lengthy training,...(and) the list of 'approved' schools and hospitals (which) is generally identical with the list issued by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the AMA.
Today, as in Clark's day, the U.S Senate remains a club for millionaires. No longer checked by 'instructions' from state legislatures, senators are also more likely to serve for life than they were before passage of the amendment. 'It is as difficult for a poor man to enter the Senate of the United States as for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, ' Rep. John Corliss of Michigan said in 1898. The newspaper 'Roll Call' found in 2010 that fifty-four of the one hundred senators reported a net worth over $1 million.
All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy - making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.
Robert Green Ingersoll
Writing of only one small part of the broader problem, namely the single-minded pursuit of individualistic 'rights, ' [Don] Feder is not wrong to conclude: Absent a delicate balance-rights and duties, freedom and order-the social fabric begins to unravel. The rights explosion of the past three decades has taken us on a rapid descent to a culture without civility, decency, or even that degree of discipline necessary to maintain an advanced industrial civilization. Our cities are cesspools, our urban schools terrorist training camps, our legislatures brothels where rights are sold to the highest electoral bidder.
The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy - making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly, than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank among the Nations; The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age of Ignorance and Superstition, but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined, than at any former period, the researches of the human mind, after social happiness, have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge, acquired by the labours of Philosophers, Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years, are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government; the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce, the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality of sentiment... have had a meliorating influence on mankind and increased the blessings of Society. At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own. [Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 - Writings 26:484-89]
In his book Politics, which is the foundation of the study of political systems, and very interesting, Aristotle talked mainly about Athens. But he studied various political systems - oligarchy, monarchy - and didn't like any of the particularly. He said democracy is probably the best system, but it has problems, and he was concerned with the problems. One problem that he was concerned with is quite striking because it runs right up to the present. He pointed out that in a democracy, if the people - people didn't mean people, it meant freemen, not slaves, not women - had the right to vote, the poor would be the majority, and they would use their voting power to take away property from the rich, which wouldn't be fair, so we have to prevent this. James Madison made the same pint, but his model was England. He said if freemen had democracy, then the poor farmers would insist on taking property from the rich. They would carry out what we these days call land reform. and that's unacceptable. Aristotle and Madison faced the same problem but made the opposite decisions. Aristotle concluded that we should reduce ineqality so the poor wouldn't take property from the rich. And he actually propsed a visin for a city that would put in pace what we today call welfare-state programs, common meals, other support systems. That would reduce inequality, and with it the problem of the poor taking property from the rich. Madison's decision was the opposite. We should reduce democracy so the poor won't be able to get together to do this. If you look at the design of the U.S. constitutional system, it followed Madison's approach. The Madisonian system placed power in the hands of the Senate. The executive in those days was more or less an administrator, not like today. The Senate consisted of "the wealth of the nation, " those who had sympathy for property owners and their rights. That's where power should be. The Senate, remember, wasn't elected. It was picked by legislatures, who were themselves very much subject to control by the rich and the powerful. The House, which was closer to the population, had much less power. And there were all sorts of devices to keep people from participation too much - voting restrictions and property restrictions. The idea was to prevent the threat of democracy. This goal continues right to the present. It has taken different forms, but the aim remains the same.