Archive for May 13th, 2009
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.