Seven Oklahoma lawmakers are striking back against a Republican lawsuit that is attempting to restrict the 10th Amendment and states rights.

Led by Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) and joined by Reps. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia), John Bennett (R-Sallisaw), Mike Christian (R-Oklahoma City), and Dan Fisher (R-Yukon) as well as Sens. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City) and Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), this group of legislators publicly released a letter on Dec. 31 rebuking the recent lawsuit filed in part by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt attempting to force federal courts to invalidate Colorado marijuana legalization policies.

“Our primary concerns surround the implications of this lawsuit for states’ rights, the Tenth Amendment, and the ability of states and citizens to govern themselves as they see fit,” the letter reads. “As you know, Oklahoma has been a pioneer and a leader in standing up to federal usurpations of power on everything from gun control to Obamacare and beyond.”

The authors continue on to point out the probable unconstitutionality of the drug war and the dangerous precedent this lawsuit would set in favor of limitless federal power.

“For the same reason that alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment, we believe a strong argument can be made that criminalizing and prosecuting drug crimes must be decided at the state level, absent a properly ratified constitutional amendment. If the commerce clause could be interpreted so broadly, there is virtually nothing the federal government could not control or regulate,” the letter reads.

The authors feel as if the lawsuit may jeopardize the anti-commandeering doctrine, an important long-standing legal precedent that allows the states to deny support and compliance to federal law at their discretion.

“We believe the Supreme Court made a wise decision in Printz v. United States when it articulated the anti-commandeering doctrine prohibiting the federal government from forcing state and local governments to participate in the enforcement of federal statutes,” the letter reads. “It would be a tragedy to see this precedent overturned, as it provides the states a just and powerful mechanism to help keep federal authority within constitutional bounds.”

Although the lawmakers who signed onto this letter may not favor Colorado’s marijuana legalization experiment, they understand that this lawsuit is much bigger than just that one issue. Wishing to dictate to a nearby state how they should set their laws under an aggressively expansive notion of ‘interstate commerce’ is blatantly unconstitutional, and the Founding Fathers would never have tolerated it.

Based off their writings, the Founding Fathers would never have accepted unchecked federal authority under the guise of drug prevention. They would have realized that boundless federal power is far more dangerous to liberty than a legalized plant. Although the Republican Attorney Generals of Oklahoma and Nebraska may want to pervert the original intent of the Constitution and unleash potential tyranny upon us, it is refreshing to see that there are at least seven lawmakers who understand state sovereignty and are willing to fight for it in the Sooner State.

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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