In November, Arizona voters will have an opportunity to approve a state constitutional amendment that will establish an important bulwark against unconstitutional or unwieldy federal actions.
If successful, Prop. 122 would enshrine the right to resist unconstitutional or unpopular federal policy into the state constitution, and would keep state tax dollars from being squandered on federal boondoggles. The language amends the state constitution to give Arizona the ability to “exercise its sovereign authority to restrict the actions of its personnel and the use of its financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution.”
Prop. 122 has the potential to be a real game changer. If it is successful, and more states follow Arizona’s lead, it could spell doom for the destructive notion of federal supremacy forever. Because the feds rely on state compliance far more than they would like you to realize, these type of measures are incredibly important. They have the potential to create a chain reaction that could shake up the status quo more than anything we’ve seen in generations.
However, this type of change is being fiercely resisted by the usual suspects. Many interests from the left and the right are uniting to protect their federal cash cow. One such federal water-carrier is Carolyn Campbell, the executive director of the Tucson-based Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection.
In a Havusu News report about Prop. 122, she was quoted as saying the following:
“It’s basically seceding from the union by what they’re doing here not to enforce any federal laws… It just doesn’t make any sense. And I certainly don’t think that the people of Arizona, the voters, if they were aware of it, would vote for it.”
Contrary to her alarmist rhetoric, nobody is proposing a breakup of the union. This proposal isn’t even about nullification, it’s about promoting the anti-commandeering doctrine. Anti-commandeering simply means that the feds cannot compel states to utilize resources or assist in the implementation of federal actions of programs. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor even called it the “core of state sovereignty” in her majority opinion in New York vs. United States (1992). By Ms. Campbell’s logic, O’Connor must be an extremist secessionist.
Along with New York, the anti-commandeering rests on several Supreme Court opinions spanning 170+ years. Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), Printz v. US (1997) and National Federation of Businesses v. Sebelius (2012) all reigned in the federal government when they tried to force the states’ hands. Although the Supreme Court typically doesn’t make rulings favorable for liberty, even they realize that the feds overstep their bounds when they attempt to commandeer a state government to do their bidding.
If the doubters need any more proof of the validity of Prop. 122, look no further than the words of the “Father of the Constitution.” James Madison wrote the following in Federalist #46:
Should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.
The people of Arizona are faced with a choice on Nov. 4. They can either side with the likes of James Madison, the Founding Fathers and nearly 200 years of case law, or they can side with federal supremacists pushing a radical vision of government monopoly centered in Washington D.C.
Arizonians can rein in overreaching power in their state. Voting yes on Prop 122 would set that process in motion. Other states can then follow the lead.