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1998 Ron Paul Chapter 77

Child Custody Protection Act

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15 July 1998


Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. PAUL).

(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

1998 Ron Paul 77:1
Mr. PAUL. I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me time.

1998 Ron Paul 77:2
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the rule but in opposition to H.R. 3682, the Child Custody Protection Act, because it is seriously flawed. Although well motivated, the problem we are dealing with is the breakdown of the American family, respect for life and abortion, not too much freedom to travel between States.

1998 Ron Paul 77:3
Having delivered nearly 4,000 babies in my three decades of medical practice and having seen the destructiveness of abortion, I strongly agree that legalized abortion is the most egregious of all current social policies. It clearly symbolizes the moral decline America has experienced in the last 30 years.

1998 Ron Paul 77:4
However, Federal law restricting interstate travel, no matter how well intended, will serve no useful purpose, will not prevent abortions, and, indeed, will have many unintended consequences.

1998 Ron Paul 77:5
It is ironic that if this bill is passed into law, it will go into effect at approximately the same time that the Department of Transportation will impose a National I.D. card on all Americans. This bill only gives the Federal Government and big government proponents one more reason to impose the National I.D. card on all of us. So be prepared to show your papers as you travel about the U.S. You may be transporting a teenager.

1998 Ron Paul 77:6
There is already a legal vehicle for dealing with this problem. Many States currently prohibit adults from taking underage teenagers across State lines for the purpose of marriage. States have reciprocal agreements respecting this approach. This is the proper way to handle this problem.

1998 Ron Paul 77:7
Most importantly, this bill fails to directly address the cause of the problem we face regarding abortion, which is the absurdity of our laws permitting the killing of an infant 1 minute before birth, or even during birth, and a doctor getting paid for it, while calling this same action murder 1 minute after birth.

1998 Ron Paul 77:8
The solution will ultimately come when the Federal Government and Federal courts get out of the way and allow States to protect the unborn. If that were the case, we would not have to consider dangerous legislation like this with the many unforeseen circumstances.

1998 Ron Paul 77:9
Our federal government is, constitutionally, a government of limited powers. Article one, Section eight, enumerates the legislative areas for which the U.S. Congress is allowed to act or enact legislation. For every other issue, the federal government lacks any authority or consent of the governed and only the state governments, their designees, or the people in their private market actions enjoy such rights to governance. The tenth amendment is brutally clear in stating “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Our nation’s history makes clear that the U.S. Constitution is a document intended to limit the power of central government. No serious reading of historical events surrounding the creation of the Constitution could reasonably portray it differently.

1998 Ron Paul 77:10
Nevertheless, rather than abide by our constitutional limits, Congress today will likely pass H.R. 3682. H.R. 3682 amends title 18, United States Code, to prohibit taking minors across State lines to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions. Should parents be involved in decisions regarding the health of their children? Absolutely. Should the law respect parents rights to not have their children taken across state lines for contemptible purposes? Absolutely. Can a state pass an enforceable statute to prohibit taking minors across State lines to avoid laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions? Absolutely. But when asked if there exists constitutional authority for the federal criminalizing of just such an action the answer is absolutely not.

1998 Ron Paul 77:11
This federalizing may have the effect of nationalizing a law with criminal penalties which may be less than those desired by some states. To the extent the federal and state laws could co-exist, the necessity for a federal law is undermined and an important bill of rights protection is virtually obliterated. Concurrent jurisdiction crimes erode the right of citizens to be free of double jeopardy. The fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifies that no “person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .” In other words, no person shall be tried twice for the same offense. However in United States v. Lanza, the high court in 1922 sustained a ruling that being tried by both the federal government and a state government for the same offense did not offend the doctrine of double jeopardy. One danger of unconstitutionally expanding the federal criminal justice code is that it seriously increases the danger that one will be subject to being tried twice for the same offense. Despite the various pleas for federal correction of societal wrongs, a national police force is neither prudent nor constitutional.

1998 Ron Paul 77:12
The argument which springs from the criticism of a federalized criminal code and a federal police force is that states may be less effective than a centralized federal government in dealing with those who leave one state jurisdiction for another. Fortunately, the Constitution provides for the procedural means for preserving the integrity of state sovereignty over those issues delegated to it via the tenth amendment. The privilege and immunities clause as well as full faith and credit clause allow states to exact judgments from those who violate their state laws. The Constitution even allows the federal government to legislatively preserve the procedural mechanisms which allow states to enforce their substantive laws without the federal government imposing its substantive edicts on the states. Article IV, Section 2, Clause 2 makes provision for the rendition of fugitives from one state to another. While not self-enacting, in 1783 Congress passed an act which did exactly this. There is, of course, a cost imposed upon states in working with one another rather than relying on a national, unified police force. At the same time, there is a greater cost to centralization of police power.

1998 Ron Paul 77:13
It is important to be reminded of the benefits of federalism as well as the costs. There are sound reasons to maintain a system of smaller, independent jurisdictions. An inadequate federal law, or a “adequate” federal improperly interpreted by the Supreme Court, preempts states’ rights to adequately address public health concerns. Roe v. Wade should serve as a sad reminder of the danger of making matters worse in all states by federalizing an issue.

1998 Ron Paul 77:14
It is my erstwhile hope that parents will become more involved in vigilantly monitoring the activities of their own children rather than shifting parental responsibility further upon the federal government. There was a time when a popular bumper sticker read “It’s ten o’clock; do you know where your children are?” I suppose we have devolved to a point where it reads “It’s ten o’clock; does the federal government know where your children are.” Further socializing and burden-shifting of the responsibilities of parenthood upon the federal government is simply not creating the proper incentive for parents to be more involved.

1998 Ron Paul 77:15
For each of these reasons, among others, I must oppose the further and unconstitutional centralization of police power in the national government and, accordingly, H.R. 3682.
Notes:

1998 Ron Paul 77:1 through 1998 Ron Paul 77:8 were spoken on the House floor. The rest of this speech is an extension of remarks inserted into the Congressional Record.

1998 Ron Paul 77:1 I thank the gentlewoman for yielding me time. Here, Ron Paul thanks The Honorable Louise McIntosh Slaughter of New York.

1998 Ron Paul 77:9 This passage is very similar to 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 50:2.

1998 Ron Paul 77:11 bill of rights probably should be capitalized: Bill of Rights.

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