Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff – 4th Amendment vs. 10th Amendment

I’ve never met Mark Shurtleff, the Attorney General for the state of Utah, but lately he’s shown up in news items that I’ve read. Earlier it was over HB 150, a bill to provide warrantless data request powers to the state for customer information from ISPs:

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, at the request of state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff …

The bill would give administrative subpoena power to the A.G. – — without getting a judge’s OK — to obtain information such as e-mails and phone numbers when investigating child kidnapping or cyberstalking, which occurs over the Internet. Daw said that these subpoena powers already exist when investigating sex crimes against minors.

http://www.sltrib.com/News/ci_14479120

I’m all for going after the bad guys. Go get a warrant and then track them down. If you don’t have enough to get a warrant then do some more digging. Skipping over sight provided by a warrant is a bad idea.

The mission of the Utah Attorney General is:

The mission of the Office of the Utah Attorney General is to uphold the constitutions of the United States and of Utah, enforce the law, provide counsel to state agencies and public officials, to work with law enforcement and protect the interests of Utah, its people, environment and resources.

http://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/44.html

I’m not very impressed with Mark Shurtleff’s choice to throw the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution under a bus, even if it is in the name of trying to catch bad guys.

So it felt like a giant salt lick of hypocrisy when I came across his video about the 10th Amendment in regards to the just passed health care reform bill:

http://utahag.blogspot.com/2010/03/line-in-sand-for-states-rights.html

It’s hard to imagine that anyone can take you seriously when you stomp on one element of the US Constitution in an effort to increase your own power and then get upset when you think someone else is doing the same thing.

I don’t think I have enough details about the health care bill and the process used to make an informed determination on whether Shurtleff has a valid point or not. But I know this much for sure, after his involvement (he requested it) in H.B. 150, I don’t trust any of his opinions on the US Constitution. That is the real tragedy out of all of this, even if he’s in the right, I wouldn’t trust him.

The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 25-27

Amendment 25:

Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967. Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.

Outlines in greater detail the order of succession to the office of President. If the President can also turn things over to the Vice-President if needed, which is handy if the President is going to have major surgery and be incapacitated for some period of time.

Amendment 26:

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971. Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

Changes the minimum voting age to 18.

Amendment 27:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.

As I’ve noted previously, those dates are not typos, it really did take more than 200 years for this amendment to be ratified. This is also the only amendment to the Constitution to have been added in my life time. I missed number 26 by just a few years.

The Constitution, cover to cover

With all of the amendments reviewed I’ve now read the entire Constitution. It’s been an interesting experience to, filled with pleasant surprises. And if we add any more I’ll be sure to follow up with a new post.

Other Constitution posts.

The Constitution of the United States: Amendments 21-24

Amendment 21:

Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.

The 18th Amendment lasted nearly 15 years. Given the culture of drinking in most of this country I’m surprised that the 18th Amendment ever passed in the first place.

Amendment 22:

Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

Term limit for the President is set to 2. Unless this changes Franklin D. Roosevelt will be the only President to have served more than 2 terms.

Amendment 23:

Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.

Citizens in Washington, D.C. get to participate in the Electoral College.

Amendment 24:

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.

This was an effort to close loopholes that some areas has instituted to prevent parts of the population from voting. It’s unfortunate that such a specific clause is even needed, the idea of a poll tax should have easily shot down based on the already established laws of the land.

Other Constitution posts.