Efforts in more than half of the state legislatures to assert state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution and prevent unwanted impositions by the federal government are now running into serious partisan opposition. Most of these bills have been introduced and are supported by Republican legislators and Democrats are doing everything they can to block them and make sure that their states comply with federal mandates issued by a national Congress dominated by their party. They seem more concerned with profiting from their control of the federal government than in protecting the rights of their citizens and being fiscally responsible.
In the last week three states with Democrat dominated legislatures have rejected state sovereignty resolutions. The Arkansas state sovereignty resolution was defeated in committee along straight partisan lines with a 10-8 vote. In Washington the Democratic chairman of the committee on Government and Tribal Affairs killed the bill by refusing to put it on the agenda. In New Hamphire, Representative Daniel Itse's radically worded sovereignty resolution was one of the first entered and one of the most widely supported. Yet last week, with hundreds protesting in the snow and freezing temperatures outside the New Hampshire state house, it was defeated in a 216-150 vote along party lines. The enthusiasm of the citizens of New Hampshire (shown in the video at right) for their Constitutional rights was not enough to wake up Democratic legislators and convince them to vote against unfunded mandates and federal attacks on citizen rights.
In addition to these three states where sovereignty has been blocked, two states (Ohio, Florida) are long shots for passage of sovereignty because they are trying to do it through petitioning their state legislatures. That still leaves 23 states with resolutions in some stage of development or consideration. Of those states, 12 have at least one house of their state legislatures dominated by Democrats, including Oklahoma which has been one of the leaders in the movement. The current trend suggests that none of these states will be able to pass a sovereignty resolution until the composition of their legislatures changes, though there might be a slim hope for Oklahoma and Louisiana where some of the Democrats are more conservative.
That means we're down to 11 states with a reasonable chance of affirming state sovereignty this legislative session. They include Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. Of these, South Carolina, and Texas are the farthest along towards passage and Virginia is probably on the fence, based on the past history of Republicans in their legislature.
It has become clear that there is a coordinated Democrat campaign to oppose the sovereignty movement on a nationwide basis in the state legislatures. Although sovereignty remains on the agenda in more than 20 states, with partisan opposition passage in more than a dozen states is very unlikely. If that many states do pass sovereignty measures it will be mostly symbolic, because with barely a quarter of the states on board, it isn't a big enough accomplishment to send a message which the federal government cannot ignore.
With the economic crisis worsening, federal spending out of control, and the Obama administration targeting gun rights and raising taxes, popular opposition to overreaching government is growing stronger and stronger. Sadly, the power of the ascendant Democrats both at the national level and in so many state legislatures is too great to challenge effectively through legislating state sovereignty or with a few governors taking a stand against excessive spending. It is becoming increasingly clear that if we are to restore government which serves the best interests of citizens and protects their rights, the people will have to demand change from the grassroots on a nationwide basis with a movement so strong that it cannot be ignored or suppressed by the dominant political establishment in the states or in DC.
It is time to put an end to the politics of partisan greed and the ongoing erosion of our rights by whatever means are necessary. If that cannot be accomplished on the grounds of state sovereignty and by state governments it must be done by individuals in the streets of the nation, in the corridors of power, and at the gates of the enemy. As the economic crisis intensifies and the enemies of liberty use it as a pretext to expand their power, we can't afford to sit on the sidelines and hope for the best any longer.Dave Nalle has worked as a magazine editor, a freelance writer, a capitol hill staffer, a game designer and taught college history for many years. He now designs fonts for a living and lives with his family in a small town just outside Austin where he is ex-president of the local Lions Club. He is on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Politics Editor of Blogcritics Magazine. You can find his writings about fonts, art and graphic design at The Scriptorium. He also runs a conspiracy debunking site at IdiotWars.com.