Maine LD 1172, “An Act To Prohibit Enforcement of Federal Laws in Violation of the Constitution of the United States”, will be going before the Joint Standing Committee On Judiciary on May 5th. It will be in Room 438 of the State House at 1:30 P.M. A workshop is also scheduled for May 9th, same time and place. This bill is one of the most important bills of the session, as it takes a stand for not only the United States Constitution and the rights of the States to govern themselves, it also takes a stand for the local commerce of Mainers.
Please help support the bill by showing up at the hearing and voicing your support for this important piece of legislation. Until then, contact the committee members and respectfully urge them to support this bill.
Below is the contact information for the Joint Standing Committee On Judiciary:
Why is LD 1172 important?
Under the United States Constitution, the Federal Government is granted a list of specifically enumerated powers. The Tenth Amendment affirms this, further stating that unless its specifically prohibited to the States, the States are left with the power. Article 1, Section 8 lists the specifically enumerated powers, while Section 9 lists the limits and Section 10 lists the limits of the States.
The balance was created for the purpose of efficiency in government. The Federal Government was created to carry out powers that would maintain stability by preventing quarreling among the states, to provide justice, interact with foreign nations, among other few powers. The States however, would be left the authority to maintain an Independent status in all other cases.
What about the Supremacy Clause?
Article 6, Clause 2 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; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”
The common misconception states that the Federal Government is supreme in all matters, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, two prominent Founding Fathers, would affirm this in a series of papers published to advocate ratification of the Constitution, known as the Federalist Papers. Hamilton stated in the Federalist No. 33, “it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society 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. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such.” As Hamilton notes, only Federal laws in compliance with the specifically enumerated powers of the Constitution are supreme.
What about the Necessary And Proper Clause?
James Wilson, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from Pennsylvania, argued that the clause is “limited, and defined by the following, ‘for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.” It was a position held by many, who felt that just as the States required their protection for their powers, the Federal Government required the same. The Necessary And Proper Clause was included to do just that, to ensure the execution of the powers carried out under the Constitution. It does not however, grant any further powers to the Federal Government.
What about the Commerce Clause?
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 states the Federal Government has the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” James Madison, the father of the Constitution, stated in a 1829 letter, “…it is very certain that it grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the nonimporting, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government, in which alone, however, the remedial power could be lodged.” The Commerce Clause was created in response to one of the problems under the Articles of Confederation, as noted by Madison. It was not however created to give the Federal Government any powers affecting intrastate commerce.
What about the Supreme Court?
It is a contradiction of the principles of the American Republic and its democratic processes to suggest that nine unelected lawyers serving lifetime terms have the final say on every issue in our nation. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration Of Independence, stated in a letter to Abigail Adams in 1804, “…the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch ”
Jefferson later makes the case for the people being the final say on the Constitution, through the States, as opposed to the courts. In a letter in 1820, he states, “You seem to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges … and their power [are] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and are not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves … . When the legislative or executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The exemption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves.”
Jefferson and Madison joined together in 1798 to take a stand for the principle of States’ Rights. When the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed, the two responded with the first ever nullification, or interposition, legislation. The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799, as well as the Virginia Resolution of 1798, were passed by the respective states. The Kentucky Resolutions, written by Jefferson, state the principle “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 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; that this 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.”
Protecting local commerce from unconstitutional interference.
Under the current policies of the Federal Government, they can influence things such as local raw milk sales. Historically, they have taken the position that they can enact price controls and limit production of privately-owned farms. This is a violation of the Tenth Amendment and a misrepresentation of the Commerce Clause. As explained previously, no further powers are granted beyond the enumerated powers by the Constitution.
John O’Donnell, a farmer who operates O’Donnell’s Farm and sells grass-fed beef out of Monmoth, states, “Seldom does a bill come before the Maine Legislature that is as important as LD 1172. This bill directly addresses the increasing regulatory pressure from Washington against Maine businesses and individuals. LD 1172 upholds the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by allowing Maine farmers, tradesmen and other individuals to ply their trades without interference from unfair federal mandates. The bill prohibits federal or state officials or government employees from enforcing any federal act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation that attempts to regulate goods grown, manufactured or made within the state for consumption within Maine.”
Mr. O’Donnell is a constituent of the sponsor, Representative Melvin Newendyke (R-Litchfield) and a major driving force behind this bill. As a local farmer, he understands the issues that face farmers and others involved with local commerce.
Please also help spread the word by “Liking” the Page on Facebook. The link is here. Also, when discussing the bill on Twitter please use the hash tag #LD1172. #Mepolitics and #Meleg can also be used.