If the Federal Government is not willing to live within their enumerated powers on health care, what makes anyone think that they will respect the limits on unreasonable search and seizure? Oh wait- the war on drugs already illegally eliminated that right! How about the freedom of religion? Oh yeah, Obamacare and a host of other federal programs already give preferential treatment to different religions! Equal protection under the law? Surely they would not dare treat citizens differently in the eyes of the law, right? Recently, the President’s authority to assassinate citizens was in the news. Once the Federal Government (for conveniences sake) ignores the law it becomes a small step to go one further, and slowly we arrive where we are today. The Founders predicted this when they set up the government as a federation instead of a national authority. The states (which have general governmental authority) were given the tools to check the Federal Government by nullifying laws which exceeded the enumerated powers granted to the Federal Government. This makes the state governments the “enforcement authority” of the Constitution.
For too long the states have slept while the Federal Government played fast and loose with the law, to such a point where the state governments are no longer possessing of the necessary courage to limit the Federal Government, nor the will. As the Federal Government ratchets up the taxes and regulations on the private sector, they give block grants to the states (hush money)- this in turn shields state legislators from having to make unpopular (but responsible) decisions. The argument is bandied around that the state government simply doesn’t have the resources to do all that is needed so the block grants are necessary, but this argument falls flat on its face when one considers where this money comes from (the very citizens that would be funding the state government). So I will write a letter to the state legislature, and make my case directly to them.
It is my sincere hope that other Oregonians will follow suit and contact their legislators to push for nullification, and that the state of Oregon will resume it’s role (with the other states) as the policeman of the republic. Here is the letter I’ve written, thank you in advance for taking the time to read this:
April 23, 2010
I am the State Coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center here in Oregon. I wanted to inform you of the duty that is inherent in being in charge of a state government that all but a select few of you are ignoring to the great detriment of our country, our state, and even the liberties of the individuals living within. James Madison wrote in the Virginia Resolution of 1798:
“That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.”
The compact to which Madison was eluding in this quote from the Virgina resolution was the U.S. Constitution. The state governments are in short- the enforcement arm of our federalist Government.
The Federal Government has overstepped their bounds in so many ways that it is difficult to quantify. This behavior is not that of a representative federal republic, but rather of a tyrannical nationalist government. Indeed, all conditions have been set for the U.S. (and Oregon with her) to transition to a dictatorship, the only thing lacking is an extremely charismatic leader. If this leader comes along and our state government has not begun to pull its own weight by holding the Federal Government to their enumerated role as laid out in the Constitution, we will be swept up along with the rest of the country into this destructive governmental style.
The Federal Government taxes Oregonians, collects the revenue in the Federal Dept. of Education, and then gives us some of the money back, only after we have satisfied pages of federal regulations and mandates. Now I ask you- What is the point of paying the salaries of bureaucrats in DC with money that should be used to educate the children of Oregon? This is not even to bring up the lack of a mandate in the Constitution to even address education. The appropriate response to this federal overreach (per Madison and Jefferson) is a nullification. The state of Oregon should nullify ‘No Child Left Behind’, as well as the federal Dept. of Education and collect the revenue back from the Federal Govt. to educate our own children as we see fit (in Oregon).
On Social Security:
The Federal Government has been taxing the citizens of all states and running an illegal Ponzi scheme. They take this money from us “bigger fools” to give to the fools who came before us. This program is sold as an insurance program, but this is a fraud. The money that is collected from the beneficiaries is not saved to pay for the beneficiaries in retirement, rather, it is spent for other government programs. This again, is not even considering the clear lack in the Constitution of any authorization to run an “insurance program,” let alone a Ponzi scheme. Again, nullification is the appropriate constitutional response. The state government should start intercepting the Social Security taxes paid by Oregonians and Oregon businesses to pay these benefits to the residents of the state, and then put it to a vote in Oregon’s legislature how we want to structure these types of programs going forward.
These programs are administered at the federal level, and again the money comes mostly from Oregon taxpayers. The state of Oregon is given an enormous unfunded mandate to cash the checks (which are written by the feds). The rate of increase in the medical industry is a direct result of so much third-party insurance payers (including the Federal Government) and cannot be fixed by more public control over the system. As long as the customer is not responsible for the cost of his/her consumption, the consumption will continue to increase, and with it the cost. Again- this does not address the lack of authority on the part of the Federal Government to meddle in this area of the economy. The state government is the appropriate place for this sort of a public program, as we in Oregon have already passed. Yet again, nullification is the appropriate response. Once someone finally reads this bill, the state of Oregon should make each and every one of its mandates impossible to enforce within the state limits of Oregon. Along with this we need to consider intercepting the income taxes of the citizens of Oregon and only give the feds money for the constitutionally legal government services they provide to the state.
On Gun Rights:
The Federal Government seems to believe that they may ignore certain parts of the Constitution as long as they can torture the language of another (inferior) part of the document to sort-of support them. The unambiguous language of “shall not be infringed” in regards to the citizen’s right to own firearms is somehow inferior to the extremely ambiguous and tortured language the Federal Gov attempts to use from the Commerce Clause to limit a citizen’s right to defend themselves . The Federal Government thinks because they may regulate trade between the states that they may also ban trade of certain items. Guns are specifically forbidden territory for the U.S. Congress and yet they persist in legislating (illegally) on the subject. Now, leaving aside the topic of whether gun control is actually positive or negative, it is the state legislature’s job to enforce the U.S. Constitution on the Federal Government. A Firearms Freedoms Act is in order.
On “The War on Drugs:”
This is an interesting one because the Federal Government has demonstrated in the past that there is no authorization for the War on Drugs in the U.S. Constitution. In the early 1900s the U.S. passed a constitutional amendment to allow them to enforce prohibition- meaning that the authorization does not exist in the Constitution itself without an amendment. This amendment was repealed meaning there is no longer any authorization for a War on Drugs. If we decide that we don’t want illicit drugs in Oregon, it is within the purview of the Oregon legislature to make it so- however, it is not for the feds to decide. The 1970 Controlled Substance Act is unconstitutional and should be nullified. I believe some controls on drugs are appropriate, but only at the state level where it is legal to pass them. The sheriffs of Oregon should prevent the feds from prosecuting this illegal policy.
On War and Peace:
The U.S. currently has hundreds of thousands of regular military in regions of the world they do not belong and in places which do not reimburse us for the expense of having them so stationed, yet they feds also nationalize our National Guard (state militia) without a proper declaration of war. Congress was given the power to determine war and peace. The President is only the Commander in Chief. The Executive Branch may not execute a war that has not been declared, and constitutionally may only nationalize the National Guard in the cases of invasion or rebellion. A nullification is again the appropriate remedy. Pass a law which allows the Governor to muster in the place of the guard.
Indeed- I could go on for pages, but these are the biggest concerns. All of these cases represent curtailments of the liberties of Oregonians. In education by their mandates they prevent Oregonians the education they deserve. On Social Security they steal from us, for which we get promises of future returns which will never exist, not to mention the fiscal insanity of the debt racked up on future generations. When it comes to health care programs, the Federal Government distorts the private market, causing runaway inflation- not to mention the individual mandates and laws that are passed based on the idea that what we do in our private life is an expense for the public to bear. The gun laws are a clear infringement on every citizen’s ability to defend themselves. The War on Drugs has caused warrant-less searches, seizure of property without due process, and a culture of violence in what would otherwise be a peaceful (and quite profitable) private industry. The illegal, undeclared wars of the last century have caused countless loss of lives, a draft and Trillions of dollars in taxpayer money.
Nullification is the peaceful constitutional response to federal overreach. It is the duty of Oregon’s legislature to pursue this avenue post-haste. It may be a daunting task, but our countrymen in other states have already begun. Consider this- Seventeen states have joined Oregon in introducing tenth amendment resolutions, three have already passed. Five states have introduced binding Tenth Amendment bills. Twenty states have introduced Firearms Freedoms acts, eight have been passed. Twenty-six states have introduce health-care nullification legislation, three have passed so far. Four states have joined us in introducing Defend the Guard legislation, three states have introduced federal tax escrow laws into legislature, and three states have introduced Sheriffs First laws. These states are putting their citizens first and standing between the Federal Government’s unconstitutional laws and the liberties of their citizens. As Samuel Adams said, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”
This is a rallying cry; stand up, and claim back the sovereignty that has been lying dormant in the halls of Salem.
Tim Reeves is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Oregon Tenth Amendment Center.
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