Introduced by State Senators Boley, Barnes, Hall, Deem, Caruth, Sypolt, K. Facemyer, Guills, and Plymale, West Virginia’s Senate Concurrent Resolution 20 (SCR20) seeks to reassert “the State of West Virginia’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers and serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates.”
If passed, the resolution would also make the position of the legislature as follows:
The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more
That all compulsory federal legislation that 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or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed
The resolution does include some troubling text that needs amendment to ensure a proper stance on the constitution and nullification. It also reads:
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 the United States of America by the Constitution of the United States of America and which serves to diminish the liberty of any of the several states or their citizens constitutes a nullification of the Constitution of the United States of America by the government of the United States of America
Not even the strongest advocates of nullification from the early days of the American republic – including Jefferson, Calhoun, and others – would have taken the position that “Any Act” by the federal government in violation of the Constitution would constitute “a nullification of the Constitution.”
Better wording would be along the lines of this:
Any Act by the federal government outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers renders the act null and void, and of no effect within the boundaries of this state.
While non-binding, introduction of such resolutions in dozens of states around the country have brought the principles of the 10th Amendment to the public discussion. Passage, which can often be easier for a non-binding statement, has also made fertile ground for follow-up legislation, “with teeth.”
CLICK HERE to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s 10th amendment resolution tracking page
CLICK HERE to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s model 10th Amendment Resolution, which you can send to your representatives when urging them to introduce one in your state.