Here's a great idea!
by State Rep. Matthew Shea (WA-4th)
This summer, legislators from several states met to discuss the steps needed to restore our Constitutional Republic. The federal government has ignored the many state sovereignty resolutions from 2009 notifying it to cease and desist its current and continued overreach. The group decided it was time to actively counter the tyranny emanating from Washington D.C.
From those discussions it became clear three things needed to happen.
A. State Legislatures need to pass 10 key pieces of legislation “with teeth” to put the federal government back in its place.
B. The people must pass the legislation through the Initiative process if any piece of the legislative agenda fails.
C. County Sheriffs must reaffirm and uphold their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
With the advent of the Tea Party Movement, many people have been asking how exactly we can make the above reality. What follows is Part I of the outline of that plan regarding state legislation, the action steps any concerned citizen can take to see this legislation to fruition, and the brief history and justifications behind each.
Step 1: Reclaim State Sovereignty through Key Nullification Legislation
Our Constitutional Republic is founded on a system of checks and balances known as the “separation of powers.” Rarely, however, are the states considered part of this essential principle.
Enter the “doctrine of nullification.”
Nullification is based on the simple principle that the federal government cannot be the final arbiter of the extent and boundaries of its own power. This includes all branches of the federal government. In the law this is known as a “conflict of interest.”
Additionally, since the states created the federal government the federal government was an agent of the states; not the other way around. Thus, Thomas Jefferson believed that, by extension, the states had a natural right to nullify (render as of no effect) any laws they believed were unconstitutional.
In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 he wrote,
“co-States, recurring to their natural right…will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shalt be exercised within their respective territories.”
Alexander Hamilton echoed this sentiment in Federalist #85 “We may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.”
It is clear then that State Legislatures can stop the unconstitutional overreach of the Obama administration through nullification. Here is a list of proposed nullification legislation to introduce in all 50 States.
1. Nullification of Socialized Health Care [current efforts] [example legislation]
2. Nullification of National Cap and Trade [example legislation]
3. Federal Enumerated Powers Requirement (Blanket Nullification) [details]
4. Establishment of a Federal Tax Escrow Account [example legislation]
If imposed, socialized health care and cap and trade will crush our economy. These programs are both unconstitutional, creating government powers beyond those enumerated by the Constitution. If those programs are nullified, it will give the individual states a fighting chance to detach from a federal budget in freefall and save the economies of the individual states.
Next, blanket nullification.
The Federal Government, particularly the House of Representatives, needs to abide by its own rules. In particular, House Rule XIII 3(d) specifically states that:
“Each report of a committee on a public bill or public joint resolution shall contain the following: (1) A statement citing the specific powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the law proposed by the bill or resolution.”
Needless to say, this rule is generally ignored. The idea behind blanket nullification is that if the Congress does not specify the enumerated power it is using according to its own rules, or the power specified is not one of the enumerated powers granted to Congress in the United States Constitution, then the “law” is automatically null and void.
Lastly, the federal government cannot survive without money. I know that seems obvious but many states are missing the opportunity to use money as an incentive for the federal government to return to its proper role. Most visibly, states help collect the federal portion of the gasoline tax. That money should be put into an escrow account at the state level and held there. The Escrow Account legislation includes a provision that all consumer, excise, and income taxes payable to the federal government would go through this account first. This would do two things. First, it would give states the ability to collect interest on that money to help offset revenue shortfalls. Second, it would allow states to hold that money as long as needed as an incentive for the federal government to return within the enumerated boundaries of its power.