Friday, May 15, 2009

The State Sovereignty Movement

A number of states have taken up measures to "assert their sovereignty" under the Tenth Amendment, reports USAToday.  The Tenth Amendment Center tracks developments in the movement here.

The state sovereignty movement speaks with many voices.  At its modest, the movement merely seeks to release states from unfunded federal mandates and federal strong-arming through conditioned spending programs.  At its strongest, some in the movement advocate secession.

But despite significant differences within the movement, there seems to be broad agreement that the Tenth Amendment protects states from federal interference more than the Supreme Court has held in cases like New York v. United States (federal government cannot commandeer a state's legislative process by requiring a state to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program), Printz v. United States (federal government cannot require state or local officials to enforce federal law), and South Dakota v. Dole (federal government may place certain conditions upon federal funds).

Just Wednesday, the Oklahoma Senate passed House Concurrent Resolution 1028, "A Concurrent Resolution claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers; serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates; providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed; and directing distribution."  Here are some highlights:

WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states . . .

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp . . .

[therefore be it resolved]

THAT the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.

THAT this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.

THAT all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.

(Emphases added.)


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Hello, my name is Brian McCandliss, and I am a student of law and history.

I must take issue with your website: State Sovereignty derives not from under the Tenth Amendment, but the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783, as well as the Declaration of Independence of 1776. "State sovereignty" does not mean reserved powers subject to federal distinction-- which would mean no sovereignty at all; on the contrary, it means absolute national sovereignty, which recognizes no superior. Specifically, every state is a sovereign nation unto itself-- and never bound itself to any union under military enforcement of its dictates; and the current American national state, therefore, wholly false and illicit.

As a matter of order, I must ask if you are under any apprehension of retaliation from your employer in academia, or other consequences to your possible dissent from the American national state on this issue. I have noticed that the entire academic field of Law and History, march in absolute lockstep and silence regarding the issue of each state's national sovereignty, except to agree with one another that the current national state is absolutely valid.

This is particularly disturbing, since this is undoubtedly the largest issue in American law or history-- and perhaps global law and history, since it concerns the disposition of sovereignty regarding individual states in a federal republic. According to Vattel, each state retains its respective sovereignty; however the current "official" history claims otherwise, without any clear or precise documentation to this effect.

As you may know, each state was declared and recognized as an absolute sovereign nation unto itself-- not as member-districts of a larger nation proper. While this is recognized by many-- in particular Yale Prof. Akhil Reed Amar-- he and others claim that the Constitution somehow unexplainably surrendered state sovereignty, and bound the states to the Union under condition of military enforcement of federal dictates, thereby "merging" them into a single nation.
Here, Amar claims the following:

"In dramatic contrast to Article VII--whose unanimity rule that no state can bind another confirms the sovereignty of each state prior to 1787 --Article V does not permit a single state convention to modify the federal Constitution for itself. Moreover, it makes clear that a state may be bound by a federal constitutional amendment even if that state votes against the amendment in a properly convened state convention. And this rule is flatly inconsistent with the idea that states remain sovereign after joining the Constitution, even if they were sovereign before joining it. Thus, ratification of the Constitution itself marked the moment when previously sovereign states gave up their sovereignty and legal independence."

Of course, this is pure academic waffling on Amar's part, since this does not express any intent by the states whatsoever, to bind themselves to the constitutional union by military force (vs. volition), any more than under the Confederation; on the contrary, it simply altered the means by which the terms of the voluntary union could be changed: it was still 100% voluntary, and each state 100% nationally sovereign.

Since schools are accredited by this very same nation that usurped national authority from the states by force, then there is a definite conflict-of-interest among professors of law and history, in order to avoid both discussion and dissension on this issue regarding the state's legitimacy-- i.e. not to "bite the hand that feeds them." In short, it seems that any professor of law or history who denounces the national authority of the American national state, will find himself out of a job in short order. Essentially, every professor of law and history has a proverbial "gun to their head," to support the American national state, if they want to maintain their position and livelihood, essentially creating a "king's court" such as that enjoyed by Henry VIII, which testifies to the people of his reign's legitimacy-- while all others are quietly and secretly beheaded, literally or figuratively (as in this case).

I must therefore ask your stance on the issue of absolute national sovereignty of the individual American states-- vs. simple reserved powers-- and by what words or actions that the sovereign Peoples of the individual states, could possibly have expressly and intentionally ceded their respective individual sovereignty to the constitutional Union proper. Certainly none are particularly plain or explicit in expressing any such intent-- which is why professors such as Akhil Amar find it necessary to invent them by such absurd convolution of fact and evidence.

Posted by: Brian McCandliss | Oct 31, 2009 10:37:09 AM

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