Continuing the discussion – Responses to opposition statements
Submitted by Alison Jaskiewicz

  • Created by special interest group CELDF?

    This ordinance was developed by citizens of Mason who requested advice from CELDF, which has assisted many communities in drafting similar ordinances, including ten NH towns which have passed such ordinances.

  • Threatens rule of law, legalizes mob rule?

    The Ordinance was put forth according to Article 32. Right of Assembly, Instruction, and Petition of NH Bill of Rights and honors the rule of law in that the petition was brought forth in an orderly and peaceable manner, and a request has been made of the local legislative body (Town Meeting according to RSA 21:47) by petition.

  • Unconstitutional usurpation of legislative role?

    No. The ordinance reaffirms and acts on the rights of the people of Mason as stated in the NH Constitution.

    Article 8. [Accountability of Magistrates and Officers; Public’s Right to Know.] All power residing originally in, and being derived from, the people, all the magistrates and officers of government are their substitutes and agents, and at all times accountable to them.

    Article 10 [Right of Revolution.] Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

  • Elevates rights of trees over rights of man?

    No. No one can use the ordinance to sue their neighbors for dredging a pond, widening a forest lane, cutting timber, hunting wildlife, or any of the countless other activities that take place on private property. These activities are under state control governed by state law.

    This ordinance is only enforceable against any corporation or government engaging in the acquisition of land for use in an unsustainable energy extraction, production, transportation or distribution. Section 3 (Statements of Law) is very specific about whom the ordinance can be enforced against.

  • Unenforceable, unrealistic and unwise?

    The Ordinance is unenforceable only if you accept the premise that the state can legitimately permit corporations to violate unalienable rights, while at the same time forbidding people from exercising their right to protect those rights.

    Government is “instituted to secure and protect rights”. When it is rights-denying, it acts illegitimately. If we are content to have our inalienable rights stripped from us by the state, operating on behalf of industry, then we should do nothing. If we believe that we have the right to decide what happens on our private property and within our communities, then we should pass a law that makes these claims legal. If we never assert our rights where we live, evidence shows that we will never have them. This ordinance challenges the structure of regulatory law that denies rights and makes it rights-based and rights protecting.

  • Guaranteed litigation. Guaranteed to lose?

    No one can predict the future.

    There is no vehicle in regulatory law to deny the pipeline, to protect the health and safety of residents or to protect all property owners from eminent domain.

    These are the reasons for creating the rights based ordinance. It is the only way that communities have found to be successful at banning unwanted projects and providing protections that the state is unwilling to provide.

    Because the ordinance is based on constitutional law, in general, its defense in court is less expensive than defending local, regulatory zoning laws. If Mason passes the ordinance and chooses to enforce/defend it, the town may engage with CELDF for assistance and will pay only for expenses but not for the legal counsel and defense provided by CELDF.

  • Will not stop or slow the NED pipeline?

    This is an opinion. No one can predict the future.

    There are ten of these Rights-Based Ordinances currently enacted in NH and close to 200 nationwide. In most places it has stopped whatever activity was banned in the prohibition.

  • False promise of protection for direct action?

    There is no requirement for participation in direct action, neither is there a call for it. The Ordinance was simply drafted to include certain enumerations IF any person chooses to engage in direct action.​

  • Claims to put Mason law above all other law?

    The Ordinance recognizes a higher law, one of Rights, which is already found in the NH State Constitution, vs regulatory law (statutes that regulate by permitting the harmful activity that would otherwise be illegal).

    Most people would agree that obeying the law is an important part of living in an orderly society. Yet no one can deny that there is and has been bad and illegitimate law. If the people had not opposed illegitimate laws, we would still have slavery, we would still keep women from voting, we would still have legal segregation, we would even still have prohibition. While obeying good legitimate law is an important part of living in an orderly society, it is also important to make sure that we weed out bad and illegitimate laws that hurt people by taking away their rights.

    In summary

    *If we have the inalienable right to self-government and government is founded upon our consent, then when we do not give our consent, government should protect us.

    *To claim these rights and assert them at the local level is one of our inalienable rights, guaranteed by our state constitution.

    *This rights based ordinance is a tool used by communities to assert their rights.

    *When government acts legitimately, it secures and protects rights.
    *When government comes in on the side of corporations to violate our rights, it acts illegitimately.

    *The message of a rights based ordinance is that rights trump regulations, not the reverse.

    Governments, corporations and politicians frequently use legal intimidation to further their intentions. As citizens we can yield to those threats and live with the consequences to our health safety and welfare, or we can fight for our rights.

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead


  1. applehill2015
    March 9, 2016 at 13:32

    As you know this manifesto of self government
    Was created by attorneys who organised nonprofit Corp named Celdf! They would not sponsor mason community rights group as non profit and Celdf wrote every word of this rambling nonsense
    It is not a focused Commumity rights ordinances
    And should be withdrawn at Town meeting
    To avoid unnecessary divisiveness with anti pipeline advocacy
    Celdf is taking advantage of good hearted citizens like yourself who want to do something to
    Fight back at liberties lost and a perceived unresponsive Govt
    In Mason we have a pro active BOS & proactive
    Planning board, Comcom etc
    Proper community rights ordinances are not an affront to United States Government , but in support of good government like Nottinghamshire ordinance limited to clean water as Fed Clean WAter has an aquifer exemption
    Celdf seeks to generate legal fees for their attorneys but only being willing to defend the
    Legality of the ordinance itself . Who pays for their folly in Court? You do!
    Withdraw article and start fresh with Mason based
    Advocacy within the bounds of the law

    • Alison J
      March 9, 2016 at 16:10

      I am willing to respectfully continue this discussion but would appreciate knowing with whom I am discussing.

  2. Charles Moser
    March 9, 2016 at 15:22

    The New Hampshire Constitution, like the Federal Constitution, has a couple hundred years worth of judicial interpretation that must be considered when framing a law that will withstand constitutional scrutiny. In New Hampshire, our constitution will not support a California style referendum vote, where the people put forth and vote on a state law directly. Similarly, our state legislature cannot make a law that depends on a vote of people as to whether it becomes law or not. And in NH a local legislative body cannot make laws that infringe on areas legislated by the state or that are not of strictly local concern. Much of the jurisprudence on these issues was summarized in an Opinion of the Justices of the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued in response to a proposal for a school taxation law that the legislature wished to put before the people for a vote, rather than just pass it into law. The Court ruled that was unconstitutional, citing cases going back into the 1880s. You can read Opinion of the Justices, 143 N.H. 429 (decided March 11, 1999) at

  3. Alison J
    March 9, 2016 at 16:08

    Thank you for continuing the discussion.

    Perhaps you could explain the successful enactment of similar Rights Based Ordinances in ten other NH towns, plus Barrington which voted yesterday to approve their Rights Based Ordinance? Some of these have been in effect since 2006, have not been challenged and have prevented the corporate incursions they sought to prevent.

  4. Charles Moser
    March 9, 2016 at 17:57

    Alison, I should clarify that I am not applehill2015, and that I always post under my own name, wherever I post.

    How can other towns have passed such ordinances if they are unconstitutional? It happens frequently. Basically, the the law gets passed, and it is not until an actual controversy arises under the law that the issue of its constitutionality is ripe for adjudication. If a person or corporation to whom the law is applied does not raise the constitutional issue, it does not get to the courts, and the issue of constitutionality remains undecided. If a case does get to court, and the court can decide the case “on other grounds” without reaching the issue of constitutionality, they will nearly always do so, and avoid the constitutional question. (This is policy of the courts not wanting to trounce the legislature unless they absolutely have to). However, there are plenty of cases where laws are eventually ruled unconstitutional. The state legislature has the special privilege of being able to posit a constitutional question to the NH Supreme Court for an “advisory opinion” on constitutionality before putting proposed legislation to a vote (as in the case I linked to my prior post), but towns cannot request advisory opinions.

    • Alison J
      March 10, 2016 at 11:33

      Charlie, your argument seems to be that ‘fear’ of our ordinance being declared unconstitutional should prevent us from affirming our constitutional rights and passing the ordinance. Corporations rely on citizen fear of the legal system to keep us cooperative. If we are not willing to assert our rights and stand up in court to defend them then our rights WILL be taken from us.

      As citizens we need to decide the comparative values of fighting for our rights in the legal system or having our properties and our financial investment in them destroyed, our land, water and air poisoned, our environment trashed; in other words, all the elements which contribute to our health, safety, welfare and happiness.

  5. Charles Moser
    March 9, 2016 at 18:23

    I also respectfully disagree that the Article 14 is benign with respect to direct action. The ordinance does not require direct action, but it certainly attempts to place the person engaging in direct action above the civil and criminal laws of the state when it provides that if “direct action is commenced, this law shall prohibit any public or private actor from filing a civil or criminal action against those participating in direct action.” So would it be o.k. to shoot the operator of an excavator digging in an aquifer? If not, why not, under this law?

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