AUSTIN, Texas (Apr. 17, 2015) – On Monday, the Texas Senate passed a resolution serving notice and demand to the federal government to “halt and reverse, effective immediately, its practice of assuming powers and imposing mandates and laws upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States of America.”
Introduced by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and 15 co-sponsors, Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 (SCR1) passed through the state Senate on Apr. 13 by a 20-11 vote.
While non-binding, SCR1 affirms important bedrock principles and firmly establishes the proper relationship between the State of Texas and the federal government.
WHEREAS, Section 1, Article I, Texas Constitution, states that “the perpetuity of the Union depend[s] upon the preservation of the right of local self-government, unimpaired to all the States”; Section 2, Article I, declares, “All political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit. The faith of the people of Texas stands pledged to the preservation of a republican form of government, and, subject to this limitation only, they have at all times the inalienable right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may think expedient”
SCR1 also references the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution extensively as the basis for Texas state sovereignty:
WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America reads as follows: “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”; and
WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States of America and no more; and
WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states with powers both limited and enumerated…
WHEREAS, The Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, have always had rights that the federal government may not usurp.
Although this measure is non-binding in a legal sense, and must be built upon in order to halt federal overreach, SCR1 creates a foundation to address federal overreach in the future. SCR1 acts as a cease or desist order to the feds on behalf of the state of Texas. They can either comply, or face further action – including the removal of all compliance and resources to the feds altogether.
For instance, as a landlord, you would not just throw a renter out of your property if they initially do not pay their rent. You would first serve them a notice telling them to remedy the problem. If they don’t comply with that request, you would follow up with further measures until you get the money or kick them out. SCR1 is putting the federal government on notice that unless their unconstitutional behavior changes quickly, ties can and will be severed.
Removing support to the federal government is undeniably legal, as evidenced by several Supreme Court cases with Printz v. US (1997) serving as the cornerstone. In a discussion last year, Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed, suggesting that even a single state refusing to enforce a federal act would make it “nearly impossible” to enforce. And in late 2013, the National Governor’s Association noted that the “states are partners with the federal government in most federal programs.”
This leaves the federal government vulnerable to state-level resistance. The resolution will now be sent to the state House for an opportunity to concur. Should it pass, the future will determine whether it was political posturing or a step in the right direction.