An important way to seek constitutional compliance is to organize widespread civil refusal to comply with unlawful official actions. A precedent for this was the 1783 Pennsylvania Council of Censors, discussed by James Madison in Federalist #48. The items below concern doing this at the state level for federal actions.

Model legislation provided by the Constitution Society. Activists, we encourage you to send this to your state senators and representatives – and ask them to introduce this legislation in your state.

Proposed Components (model legislation follows):

1. Commission. Establish a “Federal Action Review Commission”, as a kind of grand jury, to meet frequently with rotating membership drawn from a pool of constitutionally knowledgeable persons, excluding public employees, contractors, or pensioners, active lawyers, or current members, selected at random by a sortition process. Such commission shall be empowered to review the constitutionality of current or proposed federal legislation, regulations, practices, rules, decisions or other actions, and if it finds such actions to be unconstitutional, to issue an edict, with the force of law, requiring that no state or local officials, employees, or contractors cooperate in the enforcement of such usurpation, and urging state citizens to also refuse to cooperate.

2. Structure and procedure. The Commission shall consist of 23 members, who shall serve for staggered terms of 6 months each, except initially. The selection pool shall be filled each year with one nominee from each of the local grand juries throughout the State. The Commission shall elect its foreperson, adopt rules of procedure, and meet for at least one hour once a week, with a quorum of 16, and a vote of 12 required to issue a report. It may only report findings of unconstitutionality. It shall base its findings on a presumption of nonauthority, and require strict proof of constitutionality from logical and textual analysis and historical evidence, not court precedent. It shall be open to direct complaints of the unconstitutionality of federal actions from any citizen, subject only to orderly scheduling which it shall prescribe. It shall have the power to subpoena witnesses, and its deliberations shall be secret, except that it may disclose anything in its reports. It may authorize criminal prosecution by issuing an indictment to any person, not necessarily a lawyer, upon a finding that the court cited in the indictment has jurisdiction and that evidence of guilt is sufficient for trial.

3. Penalties. State and local officials, employees, and contractors shall be duly notified in writing of such edicts within ten days and shall have twenty days to comply or be subject to termination after one written warning and a second failure to refuse to cooperate with federal officials and agents. No official, employee, or contractor shall be penalized for compliance with an edict of the Commission.

4. Funding. A state fund shall be established to pay for private legal counsel and provide financial support of state citizens and agents who refuse to cooperate with unconstitutional federal actions, with the intention to obtain judicial decisions that support the unconstitutionality of the federal actions, and hold the resisting citizen harmless.

FEDERAL ACTION REVIEW COMMISSION

Model legislation, as drafted for the State of Texas. It can be adapted to other states by increasing the number of Commission nominees from each county grand jury by enough to have a pool of at least 230, or ten times the number of grand jurors.
(view MS Word version here)

By: __________________________ ________. J.R. No. _______

A JOINT RESOLUTION

proposing a constitutional amendment relating to the establishment of a state grand jury for the review of the constitutionality of the actions of United States government officials and agents, and to authorize state grand juries to investigate public administration.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTION 1. Article XVI, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Sections 74 and 75 to read as follows:

Sec. 74. FEDERAL ACTION REVIEW COMMISSION. (a) A state grand jury, to be called the “Federal Action Review Commission” (hereinafter “Commission” in this Section), shall be empaneled as provided below, and shall meet as often as they choose, or as the Legislature may direct, but no less than once a month.

(b) The Commission shall be empowered to review the constitutionality of current or proposed federal legislation, regulations, practices, rules, decisions or other actions. The Commission shall base its findings on a presumption of nonauthority, and require strict proof of constitutionality from logical and textual analysis and historical evidence, not court precedent.

(c) If the Commission finds such actions to be unconstitutional, it may issue an edict, with the force of law, requiring that no state or local officials, employees, or contractors cooperate in the enforcement of such usurpation, and urging state citizens to voluntarily refuse to cooperate. It may only report findings of unconstitutionality.

(d) The Commission shall consist of twenty-three members, who shall serve for staggered terms of 6 months each, except initially.

(e) Members of the Commission shall be selected at random, that is, by sortition, from a pool of candidates, one nominated by the grand jury of each county throughout the State at least once a year or more often as the Legislature may direct, from among constitutionally knowledgeable persons, excluding public employees, contractors, or pensioners, active lawyers, or current members.

(f) The Secretary of State shall administer the random drawing of the members of the Commission, and if he should fail to do so, then the State Attorney General shall do so.

(g) The Commission shall elect its foreperson, adopt rules of procedure, hear direct complaints from citizens, and have a quorum of sixteen, with a vote of twelve required to issue a report. Vacancies shall be filled by random drawing from the same pool.

(h) The Commission shall be open to direct complaints from any citizen, subject only to orderly scheduling which it shall prescribe.

(i) The Commission shall have the power to subpoena witnesses, enforced by any court it may designate.

(j) Deliberations of the Commission shall be secret, except that it may disclose anything in its reports.

(k) The Commission may authorize criminal prosecutions by issuing an indictment to any person, not necessarily a lawyer, upon a finding that the court cited in the indictment has jurisdiction and that evidence of guilt is sufficient for trial.

(l) State and local officials, employees, and contractors shall be duly notified in writing of commission edicts within ten days and shall have twenty days to comply or be subject to termination after one written warning and a second failure to refuse to cooperate with federal officials and agents. No official, employee, or contractor shall be penalized for compliance with an edict of the Commission.

(m)The Legislature is authorized to establish a state fund to pay for private legal counsel and provide financial support of state citizens and agents who refuse to cooperate with unconstitutional federal actions, with the intention to obtain judicial decisions that support the unconstitutionality of the federal actions, and hold the resisting citizen harmless.

(n) The Legislature is authorized to enact legislation needed to implement this Section. Members shall be compensated on the same terms as other grand jurors in the State.

Sec. 75. STATE GRAND JURIES. (a) At least one state grand jury, and as many more as the Legislature may provide, shall be empaneled, and shall operate in the same manner as specified in Art. XVI, Sec. 74(d-k).

(b) The state grand juries prescribed under this Section shall be empowered to hear citizen complaints about misconduct of public officials, and to investigate public administration, state or local, at its own initiative, but no such state grand jury shall devote more than one-fourth of its working hours to indictments, and if more time is needed, may itself convene additional state grand juries of the same kind, up to a maximum of ten.

(c) The Legislature is authorized to enact legislation needed to implement this Section. Members shall be compensated on the same terms as other grand jurors in the State.

SECTION 2. The following temporary provision is added to the Texas Constitution:

The first eight members selected of the Federal Action Review Commission and each State Grand Jury shall serve for six months, the second eight for four months, and the last seven for two months.

SECTION 3. This proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held (DATE). The ballot shall be printed to provide for voting for or against the proposition: “The constitutional amendment to establish state grand juries, one called the Federal Action Review Commission, to hear citizen complaints about the constitutionality of the actions of federal officials or agents, and if it finds them unconstitutional, to authorize and direct non-cooperation with such actions by state officials, agents, and contractors; and the second kind to investigate official misconduct and public administration.”

16 thoughts on “10th Amendment Commission

  1. Bernie Way

    All States should introduce legislation to nullify all Federal government laws that violate Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

  2. Deborah Smith

    i haave never understood why this stupid country complies with orders from an illegal non citizen and his band of communist czars.a bunch of elitest freaks who are stealing you blind and laughing at you the whole time,how ignorant can you get?

  3. Deborah Smith

    even in south america they removed an illegal president forceably when he tried to change their constitution..what the hell is wrong with this country? to many cowards i guess.

  4. Michael Boldin

    Deborah, you were ok complying with Bush?

  5. Benjamin Mankowski Sr.

    Well said Michael. I used to believe that Republicans and Democrats violated the Constitution in different ways based on party. Now I believe they tend to violate the Constitution in all the same ways, just to different extents on each issue, and building on the previous President/Congress/Court’s violations.

  6. Greg Arnie Arnsberger

    Spread the word, vote for Ron Paul, he has never swayed on the issues, Preserve the Constitution no matter what…

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