The Rabid Conservative

Think Right, Act Right, Be Right.

More States Declare Sovereignty

with 5 comments

It would seem that Texas started something that is resonating in more states throughout the Union.  Turns out that more states now are passing resolutions declaring their sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.  Oklahoma picked up the banner as the second state and over the last week, we’ve seen

In Tennessee on May 4th, the State Senate voted unanimously under Senate Joint Resolution SJR0311, (31-0) to affirm Tennessee’s 10th Amendment claim of state sovereignty. The resolution now goes to the State House for consideration.  Ohio has also just introduced legislation into their House.  Identified as SCR13, the legislation has much of the same wording as the Texas resolution.  And as of Monday, Louisiana became the fourth state to pass resolutions in both of their chambers to affirm 10th Amendment sovereignty.  Like Tennessee, Louisiana lawmakers approved the measure unanimously in both their State Senate and House.

So, overall, six states have popped up on the radar with referenda to declare sovereignty.  What does this mean in the great scheme of things?  Not much yet except a symbolic desire by a handful of states that the federal government has and continues to overstep its authority by exercising powers that should be left to the states, namely, anything that is not enumerated by the Constitution.

But there is also something more here.  If more states begin to sign onto this, perhaps the question of the actual interpretation of what Enumerated Powers as defined in the Constitution means.

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. – Amendment IX

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. – Amendment X

1. There are some who believe that the 10th Amendment doesn’t preclude Congress from doing anything that is forbidden by the first eight amendments.  These people are often statist in nature, looking to add more government controls to the current system.

2. The conservative opinion, and the one that, to me, fits the context of history and what is actually written in Amendments 9 and 10, states that if a power is not delegated to the Congress by the constitution, it is reserved to the states or the people themselves.

Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) has, since the 104th Congress, introduced the Enumerated Powers Act which is designed to make law the second opinion that I’ve mentioned here, that every act of Congress must underscored as something allowed to it by the Constitution. It’s never been passed, but many of the tenets of the Act have been incorporated into the House Rules.

This one would be very scary for Democrats because they would not, by fiat, be able to do things that they want to do, such as bail out auto companies, spend money on pork projects, or institute a nationalized health care system.  Of course, this Act will never get passed, since it would mean that Congress would have to vote itself a serious limitation to its own powers (sort of like Congress never voting on measures like term limits for members of Congress or payment limitations – all of which would be supported by the Founders in some measure). 

But the Act and states declaring sovereignty does one remarkable thing – it tells Washington that the States believe it is overstepping its bounds of Constitutional authority. If the federal government keeps pushing, there is liable to be more push back.

Let’s hope that happens. Congress needs some wing clipping.


Written by The Rabid Conservative

May 13, 2009 at 2:30 pm

5 Responses

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  1. So much for “Country First” and patriotism and flag lapel pins and pride of country all those other things that were required when the Republicans were in the WHite House. Now that they’re out and things aren’t going there way, all bets are apparently off.

    Suggested GOP slogan: “My way or the highway”.

    ted stryker

    May 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm

  2. c’mon Rabid. Reconcile the difference between then (during the last campaign in specific and the Bush Administration in general) when no dissent was tolerated and now, when you seem to say that it’s ok to abandon this country just because you disagree with those in charge.

    I realize that this may take you some time to do the mental gymnastics required to get from there to here, but I’m anxiously awaiting your thinking on this.

    Also, the next time the conservatives are in power, please remember what you’ve written here about leaving the country and don’t be so critical of those that disagree when YOUR side is in power.


    ted stryker

    May 13, 2009 at 4:28 pm

  3. As bad as Congress is (what is it now, 3% approval?), they ain’t going anywhere until voters start voting out every single incumbent.


    May 14, 2009 at 8:09 am

  4. Ted –

    I never said it was “OK to abandon the country”; those are YOUR words. Rather than address my issues regarding the 10th Amendment and my personal desire for limitations on the federal government’s power (which, I will concede, the Bush Administration failed miserably at doing), you’ve decided to attack a strawman, that is, that of GOP consistency between the Bush Administration and the McCain candidacy.

    Declaration of sovereignty is not about abandoning the United States (which is a dismally far fetched assertion). When a state declares and re-affirms its rights under the 10th Amendment, what it is saying is that the federal government is exercising powers beyond the scope of the 10th Amendment and those powers are (or should be) reserved for the states or the people.

    It is not the job of the federal government to provide citizens health care. It is not the job of the federal government to bail out failing banks, insurance companies, and auto manufacturers who have mishandled their businesses over the years. Show me where this is explicitly or implicitly required by the Constitution? Which Article?

    However, liberals assume people are helpless and hopeless and then grow government with all kinds of state power structures to “assist” people in their incompetence, and in the process they actually make their philosophy a self-fulfilling prediction. They seek disable the competitive nature, entrepreneurial spirit, the American dream and force people to focus on government and whatever benefits they can get as a means of getting by.

    Conservatives have the ultimate faith in the individual. We want the power to be at the individual level – to do for one’s self as often as possible. When regulations are required, we want the regulations imposed at the lowest level and with the least amount of interference in the freedoms that we enjoy.

    Liberals don’t like the idea of limiting government because liberalism, by definition, has to use a statist approach to get what it wants – it has to use government. Ideas like the 10th Amendment are really anathema to you because you believe that if big, bad, government doesn’t tell the people what to do, the people won’t do what you want them to do. We elect to persuade people to our point of view, you liberals regularly attempt to legislate them, most often, by judicial activist fiat.

    I’m as patriotic and America-loving as you can get. I served in the Army and come from a very military family. I believe exactly what was written some 230 years ago by the Founders, that strong federal governments do have their place (negotiating treaties, printing *appropriate* amounts of money, dealing with interstate issues), but they should be out of the way and invisible most of the time. You seek the opposite, because liberalism doesn’t honor the idea of individual empowerment; but rather, it honors the idea of collectivist control.


    May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am

  5. Nunya – At present, the Congressional Approval rating is hovering in the mid 30’s, depending on whose polling data you use. This is 20 points higher than where it was from November 08, but about a 5 point drop from where it was in January. I would expect a falloff to about 20% by this time next year – just in time for midterm elections, where the ruling party always loses seats. So, if history holds true, we should see good pickups in 2010. I don’t see us regaining the House or the Senate any time before 2012, but I see the Dems losing that filibuster 60 quickly.



    May 14, 2009 at 10:31 am

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