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House Republicans target Constitution in health reform battle

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Rob BishopIn an effort to block all or part of President Obama’s health reform laws, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) today introduced a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would allow states to veto federal legislation.

As introduced to the House of Representatives, the so-called Repeal Amendment would drastically change how the US government operates by giving the states the authority to repeal any federal legislation that two-thirds of the states agreed to repeal.

“I’m proud to sponsor the Repeal Amendment in Congress because it is a simple, transparent tool that can help restore balance and reduce the concentration of power in Washington,” Rep. Bishop said. “While the Repeal Amendment will not immediately turn the tide of a power-hungry, overreaching national government, it is an arrow in the quiver of states and a solid first step that can be taken to begin restoring the balance of power our Founding Fathers intended when they drafted the Constitution.”

The chances of the proposed amendment being passed are slim. It would need to be approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate and then ratified by three-fourths of the states.

Proponents of the Repeal Amendment say they have growing support from those opposed the health care overhaul and other federal laws.

“It’s not necessarily about health care, but you can see why we’re talking about it,” Rep. Bishop said.

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“The Repeal Amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against Congressional overreach, and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around,” incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said. “In order to return America to opportunity, responsibility, and success, we must reverse course and the Repeal Amendment is a step in that direction.”

Currently, states can contest federal legislation by bringing a constitutional challenge to federal court.

“It just restores the balance of government between the states and the federal government as the founding fathers had originally intended,” Marianne Moran, the Executive Director of RepealAmendment.org, said. The website claims the amendment is “dedicated to restoring our nations economic liberty.”

The Repeal Amendment is not the only Republican effort to alter the Constitution.

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Ending citizenship rights granted to children of illegal immigrants born in the US will be one of the first objectives of the Republican-led House, according to a published report.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who has represented Iowa’s 5th congressional district since 2003, said he will push a bill to deny birthright citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

“Because the 14th Amendment has been misconstrued, current law inappropriately gives American citizenship to the children of illegal aliens solely because their parents were able to cross our borders illegally and give birth here,” King said in October.

In an open letter, DeeDee Blasé, the founder of Somos Republicans, criticized King for planning legislation “that would undermine the 14th amendment of the constitution” which he “swore an oath to uphold.”

“We find both this rhetoric and this un-constitutional conduct reprehensible, insulting and a poor reflection upon Republicans because we don’t want our Party to be viewed as the Party of changing the United States Constitution,” she added.

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The Supreme Court’s Virginia uranium ruling hints at the limits of federal power

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Virginia has the authority to ban uranium mining under state law, even as the federal government regulates the processing of nuclear fuel under the Atomic Energy Act, the Supreme Court has ruled.

Neil Gorsuch, joined by the court’s longest-serving and newest conservatives – Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh – rejected the idea that Congress’ plan for nuclear enrichment could override Virginia’s decision to prohibit uranium mining altogether. On that point, these three conservatives were in sync with three of the court’s liberals, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. This remarkably diverse coalition agreed that the “Commonwealth’s mining ban is not preempted” by federal authority. Chief Justice John Roberts filed a dissent.

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Cops defend tackling and handcuffing 12-year-old boy for roughhousing with his cousin

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Police officers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have faced an onslaught of criticism after they handcuffed and arrested a 12-year-old black boy, the Associated Press reports.

Officers claimed the boy was being violent, trying to attack a man with a wooden pole. The boy's mother disputes that account. She claims her son was just playing with his cousin.

Carreion Baker told a local news outlet that he wasn't aware that officers were after him, which is why he didn't respond to their commands to stop.

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A Maryland school told them to be quiet — but see what these students did

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Following the Parkland school massacre, students from Montgomery Country, Maryland were angry, grieving and scared. So what did they do? They quickly formed MoCo Students For Change and mobilized an estimated 6,000 students from over 40 schools in the area to attend a student rally on Capitol Hill that they organized to fight against gun violence.

In Brave New Films’ latest #YouthInAction series, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to organize this event through the perspective of the MoCo students themselves. Watch as they fight for their survival.

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