"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

Thomas Jefferson
Sept. 23, 1800

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Live Free Or Die, Indeed

Three state representatives and one state senator in New Hampshire are introducing a bill before their state and federal relations committee that "affirms states' rights based on Jeffersonian principles." They seek a return to Federalism and the recognition of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. You can read the text of the bill, HCR 0006, at the New Hampshire legislature's website here.

The genius of this is that they've simply re-written the words of one of our Founders. Back in 1798, Kentucky adopted the Kentucky Resolutions as a protest of the Alien and Sedition Acts of the John Adams administration. Though unknown until years later, the resolutions were written by Thomas Jefferson. New Hampshire's bill changes some of the language, removing specific references to the Alien and Sedition Acts and inserting references to the 13th Amendment barring involuntary servitude, but leaves most of Jefferson's arguments untouched.

Here's some of the wording common to both:

That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, -- delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress

The New Hampshire bill gives some specific examples of federal over-reaching that will not be allowed:

That any Act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States of America or Judicial Order by the Judicatories of the United States of America which assumes a power not delegated to the government of United States of America by the Constitution for the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of the any of the several States or their citizens shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America. Acts which would cause such a nullification include, but are not limited to:

I. Establishing martial law or a state of emergency within one of the States comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that State.

II. Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

III. Requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of 18 other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

IV. Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government.

V. Any act regarding religion; further limitations on freedom of political speech; or further limitations on freedom of the press.

VI. Further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition

God Speed to these fellows! I can't wait to hear Democrats arguing against the words of Thomas Jefferson. One hopes the other states are paying attention.

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