State's Rights - Part III
The States Fight Back
There are countless recent examples for us to learn from and continue to build upon. In the last two years, thirty-seven states have either passed or are currently working on resolutions or declarations of sovereignty (the Texas House passed HCR-50 in the most recent legislative session).
To date, the Commonwealth of Virginia has already passed legislation to repeal the recent federal health care law, while twenty states have joined in a lawsuit charging that the law is unconstitutional. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is among the bipartisan group of thirteen AGs who filed the original suit the same day that President Obama signed “health care” into law. Perhaps the most obvious affront in the law is that the federal government obviously lacks any authority to coerce citizens to purchase health care insurance, or any other good or service for that matter.
See our exclusive video of AG Abbott speaking on the states’ lawsuit filed against federal health care here:
Though government health-care is the most popular catalyst, there are a host of other battle grounds as well. In late February AG Abbott filed the first state lawsuit challenging “global warming” claims by the federal government, charging, “The EPA improperly relied on the scientific conclusions of other groups, particularly the IPCC, to make the endangerment finding on heat-trapping gases.”
States are also acting proactively. Recent state gun laws are an excellent example; this March, Utah followed the lead of Montana and Tennessee in adopting a law that sends a message to the feds that they have no business regulating weapons or ammo which are manufactured and strictly used within their own state borders. Most recently, Arizona’s immigration law, SB1070, has set off a fire-storm that is sweeping the nation, with more states sure to follow their lead.
Predictably, the federal government has threatened to sue over these bills. This is often by design and a positive development for proponents of state sovereignty. The more issues and different angles states get into the federal courts challenging federal authority, the better.
Actually, the resurgence of states asserting their rights began a number of years ago; medical marijuana is a widespread case of states operating contradictory to federal law, as is defiance of the Real ID Act of 2005. As of October 2009, twenty-five states have passed resolutions or binding legislation to effectively nullify Real ID.
This brings us to another tool in the state’s rights arsenal, the concept of nullification. Given the on-going developments in how the federal government routinely conducts its business, nullification has been recently revived as a valid idea. Though it is not specifically designated in the language of the Constitution, the intent for a proper separation of powers, and designated authority for the powers between state and central government could not be clearer. They are inherent in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, as well as in the 10th Amendment.
It is important to note that there is a rich history of states nullifying federal law, or “interposing” themselves on behalf of their citizens, rendering void federal law which the state determines to be a usurpation of constitutional authority. This history goes well beyond the instances that are popularly trumpeted by leftists and the media; such as southern states defending the practice of slavery or resistance of the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
In fact, nullification was originally conceived by the author of The Declaration of Independence and the man known as the “Father of our Constitution”. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison respectively wrote The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 in response to The Alien and Sedition Act enacted during the John Adams Administration. These Resolutions asserted the states’ rights to effectively nullify unconstitutional federal law.
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