States, Not Supreme Court, Must Decide Law And Protect Freedom
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by Chuck Baldwin
August 13, 2010
I am going to borrow heavily from two outstanding columns that appear on my son’s web site, LibertyDefenseLeague.com. One author, Russell Longcore, is a publisher; the other, Wilton Strickland, is an attorney. Both are avid proponents of State sovereignty and independence.
Longcore’s column is entitled “Edwin Vieira on Secession, New World Order and the American Republic.” See it at:
Strickland’s column is entitled “Staying Away From The Federal Courthouse.” See it at:
Both of these gentlemen share my conviction that the only chance we have to maintain and defend liberty in these United States is for free and independent states to rise in righteous indignation against the onslaught of federal tyranny that is rapidly destroying our republic. America–as one nation–is beyond redemption. The federal government is too arrogant, too malevolent, and too drunk with power to ever allow itself to be returned to the principles of federalism and constitutionalism. And this is true no matter which of the two political parties is in charge.
Fortunately, America’s founders did not create “one nation” with 13 (now 50) provinces. They created a confederated republic with 13 (now 50) “Free and Independent States.” (Declaration of Independence) This means that even after the US Constitution was ratified in 1787, the states maintained independent, nation-state status. Therefore, each State is duly authorized and charged with the responsibility of protecting the rights and liberties of its citizens–even if that means resisting (peaceably or otherwise) the federal government–including the right of states to secede, if need be, in order to protect their liberties.
In opposing my friend and Harvard-trained attorney Edwin Vieira’s column propounding the unconstitutionality of State secession, Longcore proffers the Natural Law (my term, not his) right and process by which states may secede from an unnatural and coercive union. He calls it a “practical blueprint for secession.” Here it is:
1. Establish a money system based only upon gold and silver. That is the power of the purse.
2. Re-establish the “well-regulated militia.” That is the power of the sword.
3. Call a constitution convention in the state to rewrite the existing state constitution into a document of governance fit for a nation.
4. Draft a Declaration of Independence and an Ordinance of Secession.
5. Present the Declaration and Ordinance to the proper Federal authorities.
“Done! Secession completed. Now the REAL work begins.”
Longcore ends his treatise with these words, “Secession is the Hope for Mankind. Who will be first?”
Strickland’s column is equally trenchant. He perceptively says the following: “Under the Constitution of the Founders, the states decided which powers the federal government would have; today, it is the federal government that decides which powers the state governments will have.
‘”Conservatives’ and ‘libertarians’ who run to federal court and beg for this treatment are their own worst enemies. Their quest for a federal veto on local matters such as gun control or property takings does just as much harm as the American Civil Liberties Union’s quest to eradicate religion from public view or to establish abortion as a secular sacrament.
“Liberty cannot survive without independence, and a temporary victory in federal court today blazes a path to a thousand defeats tomorrow. As the Founders understood, any power that MIGHT be abused WILL be abused, so it must be avoided. Although the states abuse their power as well, such abuses have limited geographic scope and allow us to escape as a last resort. There is no escape from federal power, unless one wishes to expatriate or renounce citizenship (which the federal government is making more difficult every day).
“If you confront an unjust law in your state, advocate its repeal. If that doesn’t work, vote for candidates who will one day repeal it. Failing that, bring a challenge in state court based on the state constitution–the U.S. Supreme Court cannot interfere unless the case involves the U.S. Constitution or federal law. And as mentioned before, leave the state if you are ultimately unsatisfied with it; do not spoil it for the others who wish to remain there.”
Amen! Brilliantly stated!
Right about now I can hear all the Big-Government centralists and unionists out there shouting, “What about the supremacy clause of the Constitution?” To which my son, Tim Baldwin (a constitutional attorney, historian, and author), writes:
“One of the constitutional tools by which socialist and nationalist ideologues have incorporated political principles of centralization and state annihilation is through the ‘Supremacy clause’ of the U.S. Constitution, which states, ‘This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.’ (USC, Article 6) To many people, this phrase has been construed to mean whatever laws and treaties those in the federal government pass, execute and uphold are binding on the people of the states and their respective governments. Admittedly, this concept has taken a stronghold in America and has been treated as the accepted principle of constitutional law for generations. Undoubtedly, every law student attending an ABA accredited law school is taught this as fact, just as I was when I attended Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Not everyone agrees with this construction, however.
“Big-government and monarchist himself, Alexander Hamilton sheds light on the error of this position in 1787 when he addressed the concerns of those Americans who rejected the U.S. Constitution because of the fear that the expected effect of the ‘Supremacy clause’ would be to subvert the sovereignty of the States to govern themselves according to their constitutions. Hamilton attempts to calm their fears, saying, ‘It will not follow from this doctrine [of supremacy] that acts of the large society [i.e., the union] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land.’ (Federalist Paper 33) Perhaps everyone in America would concede this, but what is not agreed upon is what the States can and should do about those laws that are NOT PURSUANT to the constitutional powers of the federal government. Many place the burden of correcting that grievance on the U.S. Supreme Court, as if a body of nine judges appointed by the executive of the federal government are an adequate remedy for the machinations of that distorted philosophy broadly accepted by those in federal office. Contrarily, those who believe in the principles of a federalist system should recognize that each unit of the union (i.e., States) have the duty to do what Hamilton suggested in response to those laws contrary to the constitution: ‘These [laws] will be merely acts of usurpation, and WILL DESERVE TO BE TREATED AS SUCH.’ (FP 33, emphasis added) These laws should be treated as no law at all, and moreover, as attacks on liberty, and should be resisted on every level of the union, from federal to state to local governments, as well as individuals.”
As I have said before, if the founders intended that the federal government should have unlimited power and authority to decide (translate: dictate) all matters of law and liberty, why, in the name of common sense, did the states retain their individuality, independence, and sovereignty following the ratification of the US Constitution? What was the 10th Amendment all about, if the federal government was the final arbiter and authority in all matters of law and liberty?
Our form of government has often been called a “great experiment,” but why? There have been similar documents protecting individual rights and liberties before the US Constitution and Bill of Rights were written. Our founders were well versed in the sagacious counsel of the enlightenment philosophers, theologians, and patriots of many generations preceding them. For example, read John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, and you will easily see where Thomas Jefferson came up with many tenets of the Declaration of Independence. In fact, many will argue today (with good points) that the Articles of Confederation were superior to the Constitution of 1787 that replaced it. America did not invent republicanism or the love of liberty.
What America did invent is the doctrine of FEDERALISM: that a nation would exist with dual jurisdiction (federal and State), that each authority (State and federal) would respect the other’s jurisdiction and would not intrude upon the other’s jurisdiction, and by so doing, liberty and republicanism could be better protected. That was the great American experiment.
With that said, should the US Supreme Court eventually attempt to declare Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration bill unconstitutional, the State of Arizona should forthwith IGNORE IT! Or better yet, the Arizona State Supreme Court should declare the US Supreme Court ruling unconstitutional. Arizona, and as many states that still have any sense of freedom and federalism left in them, should also ignore and refuse to participate in Obama’s national health care monstrosity. In fact, there is a host of unlawful federal dictation that states should ignore.
Since the War Between the States (and especially since the Presidential administrations of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt), the principle of federalism (dual jurisdiction) has been eradicated to the point that today most people have lost all understanding of, and appreciation for, this distinctively American principle. Today it is so bad that virtually everyone within the federal government (with the exception of Congressman Ron Paul and a handful of others) sees Washington, D.C.’s power and authority as being virtually unlimited. Remember the US congressman who recently said the federal government could do anything? Sadder still is the fact that most attorneys, newsmen, ministers, and even State governors and legislators today believe the same thing. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a prescription for disaster. And that is exactly what we are experiencing right now: a disaster. And that’s why continuing to focus on electing Republicans or Democrats to national office will never accomplish the goal of restoring liberty to the people of the states: Washington, D.C., doesn’t believe the people of the states have any liberties, except by their leave.
I say again, the only chance we have to maintain and defend liberty in these United States is for free and independent states to rise in righteous indignation against the onslaught of federal tyranny that is rapidly destroying our republic. And this demands that people who understand, and are committed to, federalism and State sovereignty run for State office, and that people who believe in freedom, and want to protect it, support only those men and women who will boldly stand for this great American principle.
America has only one chance to regain freedom–only one chance: a State (or better, a group of states) standing forcefully on the principle of State jurisdiction and authority (federalism), which means it (they) should immediately implement Mr. Longcore’s first three action-points mentioned above; and if it becomes necessary, points four and five as well.
Obviously, there are some states that are much better suited to resist the intimidations and bribes of Washington, D.C, and stand for their own independence and authority than other states. But as Mr. Strickland said above, if your State is determined to remain the slave of Washington, D.C., “Leave the state . . . do not spoil it for the others who wish to remain there.”
New Hampshire’s State Motto is “Live Free or Die!” It’s time that states (including New Hampshire) understand that if they are indeed going to “live free,” they must reinvent, for this generation, the American experiment of federalism and heed the sage counsel proffered by Russell Longcore and Wilton Strickland (and others like them): face up to the fact that the states, not the US Supreme Court (or any other federal component), must decide law and protect freedom for the people of their states. And if states do not heed this counsel and stand up NOW, this insatiable, liberty-eating monster that is known as Washington, D.C., will quickly swallow up the few remaining liberties that we have left.
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(c) Chuck Baldwin