By Mark Richards, Guest Contributor
Published in West Milford AIM on September 28, 2007 and also in Suburban Trends September 23, 2007.

Our U.S. Representative in Congress, Scott Garrett, has been taking a lot of heat lately by not supporting the animal fighting prohibition enforcement act, which grew out of the frenzy over the Michael Vick dogfighting case. Far from being attacked by “animal rights” groups and the press, Rep. Garrett should be praised for his clear understanding and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. I have before me my pocket size edition of the Constitution published by libertarian Cato Institute.

Under article 1, section 8, the only criminal activities that Congress is authorized to legislate on are counterfeiting and privacy. Sorry, being nice to animals isn’t listed among the powers delegated to Congress! Such laws, if they must be passed at all, belong to the legislative authority of the individual states or local entities.

It never fails to amaze me how the American public allows itself to be manipulated by the media regarding every “hyped-up” crisis. There is a very unhealthy relationship between the media and the government in this country in which certain issues are blown out of proportion and hysteria is created. The result is the public surrenders more of its liberties to a strong centralized federal government in Washington. Terrorism, drugs, guns, racism, poverty and now dogfighting are examples of the stampede away from limited constitutional government and toward more dictatorial centralization.

I’ve taken issues with some of Scott Garrett’s votes in Congress in the past (he’s too much of a supporter of Bush’s disastrous foreign policy), but this one time Garrett got it right. He deserves praise, not come condemnation, for his correct constitutional stand.

Mark Richards is a resident of West Milford.