LANSING, Mich. (May 24, 2015) – Last week, the Michigan House passed a resolution “to urge the states to become proactive in defending their sovereignty against federal overreach.”

Introduced by Rep. Lee Chatifeld (R-Levering) and 52 co-sponsors, House Concurrent Resolution 11 (HCR11) passed through the state House on May 14 by a voice vote.

While non-binding, HCR11 affirms important bedrock principles and firmly establishes the proper relationship between the State of Michigan and the federal government.

Whereas, It is the responsibility of the states to defend the powers they retained under the U.S. Constitution. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in NFIB v. Sebelius, “In the typical case we look to the States to defend their prerogatives by adopting ‘the simple expedient of not yielding’ to federal blandishments when they do not want to embrace the federal policies as their own. . . The States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it.”; and

Whereas, This resolution is part of our sworn duty to defend both the Michigan Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. Every state legislator from the state of Michigan swears an oath that he or she will support these constitutions.

HCR11 also references the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution extensively as the basis for Michigan state sovereignty:

Whereas, The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted to ensure that the balance of power between the federal government and state governments remained in perpetuity; and

Whereas, This arrangement of federalism best meets the needs of the states which often vary in customs and values and which are in a position to best understand the needs and desires of their own citizens. Altering wrongs on the part of government is much more easily accomplished at the state level than at the federal level; and

Whereas, Nothing has changed in the U.S. Constitution since the adoption of the Bill of Rights which would alter that balance of power between the federal government and the states.

Although this measure is non-binding in a legal sense, and must be built upon in order to halt federal overreach, HCR11 creates a foundation to address federal overreach in the future. HCR11 acts as a cease or desist order to the feds on behalf of the state of Michigan. 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. HCR11 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.

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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