Update 12.02.12 (add rel. links)
11.23.12 (rev. draft letter)
What if the U.S. government, like you know, the President or Congress, were to suddenly say ”It’s now against the law to be a Christian, and America will no longer tolerate that faith, and you people who practice Christianity will be punished going forward and backward, and the new American religion is officially going to be Islam.”?
You would, of course, rightly say “That’s ridiculous!” and “This is a FREE country!” or “Doesn’t the Constitution protect our freedom of religion?”
What, if then, the U.S. government, like you know, the President or Congress, or five of the nine persons on the Supreme Court, were to suddenly declare “It’s now illegal for television and radio and newspapers and magazines and the internet to say or write or show anything that is not approved first by the U.S. government.”?
Obviously, you would say “No way! This is America!” or “I can say what I want!” and “Who the hell do they think they are!!” or “Doesn’t the Bill of Rights protect Free Speech and the Freedom of the Press?!”
What if the majority in the U.S. government was united and unwavering in these blatant acts of tyranny, and what if the minority in the U.S. government who oppose this cruelty, were unwilling or afraid to stop it? What then? Who, then, will safeguard your liberty?
What would you DO about it? What would we DO about it? Sure, we’d say “NO”, “We’re not going to comply!”, and “That’s not a REAL law!” But what about when the U.S. government starts using force, arresting people, or seizing bank accounts or other property for noncompliance? Can we, as individuals, repel the massive power of the federal government?
…What if half of our neighbors didn’t care one bit about the this lawlessness and arbitrary rule, and by their ignorance, willfully submit to and empower it?
The above hypothetical scenarios should clearly illustrate, to half of us at least, that the power of the federal government (a.k.a. the ‘national’ govt., a.k.a. the U.S. govt.,) is not absolute. Nor should the power of any government be absolute. They simply cannot be permitted to control us in whatever way they like, lest we live under the thumb of tyranny, enslaved.
This is the virtue of the Constitution of the United States, that while it vests great and necessary powers, as well it provides great and necessary protections against the abuse of powers. It is The framework within which the federal government is to operate. The Constitution is the Governor of the government. It is the Limited (opposite of absolute) and specific authority delegated BY We the People and We the States TO the national government.
The States… The United States of America… The States of America are United…~The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
~Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No.28, par. 07 (emphasis & bracketed text are mine)
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.
The obstacles to usurpation [seizure of rights, liberty], and the facilities of resistance, increase with the increased extent of the state: provided the citizens understand their rights, and are disposed to defend them. The natural strength of the people in a large community, in proportion to the artificial strength of the government, is greater than in a small; and of course more competent to a struggle with the attempts of the government to establish a tyranny. But in a confederacy [a union, such as ours], the people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate. Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will, at all times, stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments; and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly [without fail] make it preponderate [of greater weight]. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other, as the instrument of redress [remedy, repair, relief]. How wise will it be in them, by cherishing the union, to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized!
Finally, I’m getting to it. Our States are No Small Measure in this great American republic. We are vital, indispensable, and integral parts of the whole, and we maintain our independence and sovereignty where the U.S. Constitution is silent. Furthermore, it was the expectation of our founders that We the People, having an awareness of our natural rights to life, liberty, and to our pursuits, would defend those rights using whichever government that remains a friend of liberty.
Power being the rival of power, the metaphorical scales; these are indications of the equal and separate stations of federal and state governments. Standing on the tray at either side of the fulcrum are you and me.
Consider, again, the imagined federal usurpations mentioned before, rethink what we might do about them, and then replace them with the very real and ongoing unconstitutional seizures of power at the hands of the federal government, such as the so-called ObamaCare “Law”. It is generally clear that the majority in the federal government have no fealty to the Constitution which they are under oath to support. The only real distinction between my fictional examples and today’s realities is the extent to which “the citizens understand their rights, and are disposed to defend them”.
We are not powerless to defend ourselves. The foot of the masses is pressed firmly on the oppressive federal scale, so we need to throw ourselves on the State side.
Oh, if you’re in need of encouragement in the aftermath of the recent elections, take heart that in 2013, the GOP (that’s the guys who still purportedly support the Constitution) will hold 30 Governorships, and control 28 State Legislatures. Maps~Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Nullify: To annul; to make void; to render invalid; to deprive of legal force or efficacy.
Resolution: The determination or decision of a legislative body, or a formal proposition offered for legislative determination.
Our State Legislatures have the power, the responsibility even, to nullify those acts of the federal government that are outside the scope of their Constitutional authority. Would anyone disagree if President Whoeverman were dispatching the hoards to shut down your church?
Our friend of the Constitution, Publius Huldah, has recently compiled a wonderful and scholarly paper outlining Model Resolutions for State Legislatures to nullify ObamaCare, among other extra-Constitutional blights. The samples are modeled after “The Kentucky Resolutions” of 1798 by the esteemed Thomas Jefferson, and sourced throughout with references to the Federalist Papers, et al., assuring the States and the People that the Framers “Have their backs” on this.~Publius Huldah, Model ObamaCare Nullification Resolutions
10. Resolved, That because men are corrupt and may not be trusted with power, the federal Constitution fixed the limits to which, and no further, the federal government may go. Would we be wise if we permit the federal government to destroy the limits the Constitution places upon its powers? Would we be wise if we permit unelected bureaucrats in the Executive Departments of the federal government to regulate every aspect of our lives?
That if those who administer the federal government be permitted to transgress the limits fixed by the federal Constitution, by disregarding the limits on its powers set forth therein, then annihilation of the State Governments, and the erection upon their ruins, of a general consolidated government, will be the inevitable consequence.
That the several States, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of infractions to the federal Constitution; and that nullification by those Sovereign States of all unauthorized acts of the federal government is the rightful remedy.
THEREFORE, This State, recurring to its natural rights in matters outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government, declares obamacare void, and of no force, and will take measures of its own for providing that neither that act, nor any others of the federal government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shalt be exercised in any manner whatsoever within This State.
The paper is also a great study, overall, on the proper and Constitutional role of the federal government, the source of our rights, the role of the States and the People in our republic and as a bulwark against tyranny, common long-held and malicious misconstructions of certain clauses in the Constitution, etc., etc.
Just go there, and read it, and then please share it, and finally, pass it on to your State Representatives. I mean, what harm could it possibly do?
I’ve posted a PDF version of this paper here if you want to print it and retreat to your easy chair. I’d just recommend that you visit Publius’ site for any updates and to check in on the comments section, which is always great.
Publius’ paper, frankly, spurred me to write this article, reminding me of another extreme hypothetical employed to make an important point:~James Madison, Federalist No.41, paras. 23, 24 (emphasis mine)
Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power, which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labour for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.
Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the congress been found in the constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some colour for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.”
Interesting how Madison includes regulating the “course of descents” (inheritance law) and the “forms of conveyances” (property transfer, deeds), in the same sentence as the destruction of trial by jury, as ridiculous examples of presumed and pretended congressional authority vested by the clause… but I digress… or, do I?
Am I a scholar, or a lawyer, or an official? Nope. Am I an American citizen who wants to keep it that way for me and my kids? You betcha!
Once we were States. Once we would say ”NO”…
We still are, and still we should.
Related Links: (add 12.02.12)
- Nullification in One Lesson ~by Derek Sheriff; a really fine overview/perspective at The Tenth Amendment Center
Draft Letter to my State Representative; Recommending the introduction of resolutions in the Legislature for the nullification of “ObamaCare”
A work in progress, maybe this can serve as an outline for your own letter, or maybe you have an idea how to improve mine…
Month, Day, Year
The Honorable (First) (Last)
(City) (State) (Zip Code)
RE: Nullification of the “ObamaCare” Law
Dear (Representative/Senator) (Last),
As a constituent in (City) (State), as a citizen of the United States, and as a father whose daughter has relied many times on the greatest healthcare system in the world for her very existence, I am very concerned about the ramifications of the so-called “ObamaCare” law on the quality, delivery, and costs of healthcare to my family. As to the latter, since the passage of PPACA, I’ve seen an increase of 44.4% in premiums, now totaling almost $30,000 per year. This doesn’t include any co-pays. I ask, what right has anyone to lower our standard of living in such a way?
But the effects of this “law” as it relates to me, personally, and to the security of my family’s health notwithstanding, I would rather like to respectfully direct the subject of this letter more generally.
Whatever purported merits may be attached to “ObamaCare”, the law is wholly outside the scope of powers vested in the national government by the States via the U.S. Constitution. As such, “ObamaCare” is an affront to the rights of the States and of the People to manage their own medical affairs, a blatant violation of the Constitution, and dangerous to the very structure of our federal republic. “ObamaCare” is particularly egregious among the many and growing assaults on our liberties by an ever-powerful central government.
It is my wish that you and your colleagues in the General Assembly will reclaim and reassert your retained sovereign authority, rightfully stand as a bulwark against assumed and undelegated powers by the national government, consider the introduction/sponsor of resolutions declaring “ObamaCare” invalid, and deprive it of legal force upon the people of the State of (–)
Please indulge me this simple hypothetical:
If the majority powers of the federal government, the three branches concurring, were to establish a national religion, banning the free exercise of any other, then what measure of redress might we the people have, if not the very States that created that national government in the first place? What remnant of security in liberty might we be left to turn?
Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist No.28 that “Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will, at all times, stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments; and these will have the same disposition towards the general government.”
You will find attached, model resolutions for the nullification of “ObamaCare” et al., as adapted from Thomas Jefferson’s 1798 “Kentucky Resolutions”, and compiled with founding references by attorney Publius Huldah.
Please consider with due diligence, mindful of the fundamental duty of representation:“ to secure these rights”.
Endnote: (update 11.18) This article was originally posted 11.14, and post-scripted 11.15, and then set to “private” visibility status until this update. Apologies if you might have happened upon this post via search engine or twitter, only to find it unavailable… hey, it could have happened :]