States Show Signs of Recognizing Their SovereigntyPosted: March 28, 2014
States Show Signs of Recognizing Their Sovereignty
by JBS President John F. McManus
A largely forgotten or ignored feature of the political construction of the United States consists of the undeniable fact that the states created the federal government, not the other way around. The states, of course, existed before the Constitution was even written. The Constitution wouldn’t even exist if it hadn’t been ratified by the required 3/4s of the states. The purpose of this state-created Constitution is very clear: There shall be a national government with strictly limited powers and all other powers shall remain with the states or the people (10th Amendment).
If the states are sovereign and the federal (national) government oversteps its constitutionally limited role, what is a state (or all of the states) to do? One answer is nullification, a little-used procedure that shows signs of becoming strongly prominent.
On March 19th, the state of Idaho demonstrated its understanding that the federal government isn’t all-powerful. A measure known as SB 1332 won passage without any “No” votes in both houses of the state’s legislature. It was then signed into law by the governor. SB 1332 says that there shall be no confiscation of firearms by Idaho law enforcement officers when directed to do so by the federal government. The measure was prompted by the enactment of various measures by the federal government that do indeed threaten a citizen’s right to be armed.
In Georgia, the state legislature came within a whisker of nullifying ObamaCare when the state senate declined to follow the Georgia house’s approval of a measure to nullify that widely unpopular federal measure. Proponents say they will try again. Other states, looking at what has happened in these two states (and others where nullification measures are being considered), are beginning to realize that they are not mere subordinate jurisdictions required to accept robotically and carry out all federal mandates.
Opponents of nullification will cite a portion of the Constitution’s Article VI: “This Constitution and the laws of the United States … shall be the law of the land.” Sounds good but they leave out something. Proponents point to the part of Article VI omitted by the above ellipsis which states “which shall be made in pursuance thereof.” In other words, the federal government cannot create any law whose legitimacy does not follow the provisions of the Constitution itself.
Perhaps some states will begin to take a hard look at such federal mandates regarding education, housing, medical care, energy, and more. There is clearly no authority given in the Constitution for meddling in these and numerous other areas.
State recognition of the power to nullify when the federal government exceeds its constitutionally authorized power could become the nation’s way out of virtually uncontrolled federal domination. To join the movement in your area to do just this, join The John Birch Society today.