Back by popular demand, we have the issue of states’ rights.
In last Saturday’s A-letter, we talked about how several states recently introduced resolutions meant to re-affirm the rights guaranteed to state governments in the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Well we were overwhelmed with feedback to that post, so today we’re going to give you what you’re looking for and share all the details on this’under-the-radar’ states’ rights movement…
Caveat Lector (Reader Beware)
Now before we get on the pale horse and start decrying the downfall of western civilization, let’s be realistic about what these resolutions really mean.
First, they’re resolutions…not binding laws.
The state legislature of Oklahoma could instead pass a resolution declaring”we support Mother’s Day,”or”we like cupcakes,” and it would have a similar overall impact on law and law enforcement in that state.
That these resolutions were proposed doesn’t mean they represent consensus in the state legislature either. Like Dennis Kucinich’s calls for Bush’s impeachment several times in the last few years, these resolutions may only reflect the beliefs of a limited minority in state legislatures.
However, it should be duly noted that the Oklahoma House has already passed their version of a state sovereignty resolution. While the act would also require passage by the state Senate to be codified, the diligent observer should recognize that these resolutions enjoy varying degrees of consensus.
As for the Constitutional rights in this matter, we defer to Sovereign Society Legal Counsel and Former Congressman Bob Bauman…”The Tenth Amendment does indeed reserve all undelegated powers to the states, but the courts have rendered that a nullity,” Bob told us in a recent e-mail.
“Then too, John C. Calhoun tried to get the states of the Union to accept the doctrine of nullification, (the supposed right of a state to override a federal law with which the state disagrees), and that issue was not resolved in his favor by the outcome of the War Between the States (aka Civil War).”
Now…with those caveats added…let’s take a look at some of the text of this legislation, to see what these politicians had in mind when they proposed the novel idea of state sovereignty.
Finding the Devil in the Details…
In Saturday’s A-Letter, we shared a brief but disturbing passage from Arizona’s version of the state sovereignty resolution. Now, today, we’re going to look at the text of some of these resolutions to find out the full extent of this push for state sovereignty.
New Hampshire’s Concurrent Resolution 6 lays out the movement’s intentions pretty bluntly…”any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executiveorder of the President … which assumes a power not delegated to the government of United States of America by the Constitution …shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the [Federal] government.” [emphasis added]
New Hampshire’s resolution goes on to state several cases – including further infringement on the right to bear arms – which would cause the state to invoke the measures mentioned above.
On the other hand, Washington state’s House Joint Memorial 4009 is less aggressive…taking the form of a”cease-and-desist” warning to the Federal government…”That this serve as a Notice and Demand to the federal government to maintain the balance of powers where the Constitution of the United States established it and to cease and desist, effective immediately, any and all mandates that are beyond the scope of its constitutionally delegated powers.” [emphasis added]
But Missouri’s version of the resolution takes aim at a specific policy decision made by Obama’s Presidential administration…the federal Freedom of Choice Act, a sweeping reform intended to make abortion a legal alternative in all 50 states…
“Whereas, the federal Freedom of Choice Act would nullify any federalor state law enacted, adopted,or implemented before, on,or after the date of [its] enactment” and would effectively prevent the State of Missouri from enacting similar protective measures in the future…the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-fifth General Assembly, hereby declare our sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.” [again, emphasis added]
So there’s some pretty strong and straightforward language in these resolutions. That much is indisputable. But taking all of our caveats into account, what can the newfound fascination with state sovereignty mean for personal sovereignty and liberties?
Personal Liberties’ Last, Best Hope?
Many of the media outlets covering the state sovereignty movement are elated at the news. They see this maneuver as a crucial step toward guaranteeing the personal freedoms laid out in the Constitution.
But are these states really the bastion of freedom and liberty?
The short answer is no.
All twenty states have some form of school zero-tolerance law (the kind of”no-nonsense” law that got 33 Philadelphia kindergartners suspended in 2002). All except four of these states practice Capital Punishment. Fifteen have had police-induced taser deaths since 2001. Twelve prohibit smoking in private establishments, and almost all of them have some form of gambling prohibition (indeed…three even consider playing online poker for money to be a felony).
In reality, these states are far from”cutting edge” when it comes to the defense of personal liberties. And their resolutions are far from making a lasting change on the face of American politics as we know it.
Nevertheless, the movement is worth noting. And certainly worth keeping an eye on, as our deepening economic woes create greater tension between state and federal governments.