LANSING, Mich. (Jan. 11, 2019) – A bill introduced in the Michigan House would prohibit unconstitutional foreign combat deployments of the state’s national guard troops, an important step towards restoring the Founders’ framework for state-federal balance on the Guard.

Rep. Steven Johnson (R-Wayland), along with a bipartisan coalition of two Republicans and two Democrats, introduced House Bill 5320 (HB5320) on Jan. 9. Johnson joined the U.S. Air Force in 2009. He served for four years, leading a team working on nuclear missile electronics in Montana. He was recently named “most conservative house member” in Michigan by MIRS News.

The legislation would prohibit the deployment of Michigan Guard troops in “active duty combat” unless there is a declaration of war from Congress, as required by the Constitution. It reads, in part:

the Michigan National Guard and any member of the Michigan National Guard shall not be released from this state into active duty combat unless the United States Congress has passed an official declaration of war or has taken an official action under clause 15 of section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States

Cosponsors include Reps. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids), Brad Paquette (R-Berrien Springs), John Reilly (R-Oakland) and Jewell Jones (D-Inkster).

IN PRACTICE

Guard troops have played significant roles in all modern overseas conflicts, with over 650,000 deployed since 2001. Military.com reports that “Guard and Reserve units made up about 45 percent of the total force sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and received about 18.4 percent of the casualties.” More specifically, Michigan National Guard troops have participated in missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Since none of these missions have been accompanied by a Constitutional declaration of war, the Defend the Guard Act would have prohibited those deployments. Such declarations have only happened five times in U.S. history, with the last being at the onset of World War II.

BACKGROUND

Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16 make up the “militia clauses” of the Constitution. Clause 16 authorizes Congress to “provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.” In the Dick Act of 1903, Congress organized the militia into today’s National Guard, limiting the part of the militia that could be called into federal service rather than the “entire body of people,” which makes up the totality of the “militia.” Thus, today’s National Guard is governed by the “militia clauses” of the Constitution, and this view is confirmed by the National Guard itself.

Clause 15 delegates to the Congress the power to provide for “calling forth the militia” in three situations only: 1) to execute the laws of the union, 2) to suppress insurrections, and 3) to repel invasions.

During state ratifying conventions, proponents of the Constitution, including James Madison and Edmund Randolph, repeatedly assured the people that this power to call forth the militia into federal service would be limited to those very specific situations, and not for general purposes, like helping victims of a disease outbreak or engaging in “kinetic military actions.”

RETURNING TO THE CONSTITUTION

It is this limited Constitutional structure that advocates of the Defend the Guard Act seek to restore. That is, use of the Guard for the three expressly-delegated purposes in the Constitution, and at other times to remain where the Guard belongs, at home, supporting and protecting their home state.

While getting this bill passed isn’t going to be easy, it certainly is, as Daniel Webster once noted, one of the reasons state governments even exist.” In 1814 speech on the floor of Congress, Webster urged similar actions to the Michigan Defend the Guard Act. He said:

 “The operation of measures thus unconstitutional and illegal ought to be prevented by a resort to other measures which are both constitutional and legal. It will be the solemn duty of the State governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, and to interpose between their citizens and arbitrary power. These are among the objects for which the State governments exist.”

WHAT’S NEXT

HB5320 has been assigned to the House Committee On Government Operations. It will need to pass by a majority vote in each before moving forward in the legislative process.

Michigan residents who support the bill are strongly urged to contact each member of the Committee and firmly, but respectfully urge them to vote YES on HB5320 when it comes up for a hearing and vote. Contact info for committee members can be found at this link.


Concordia res parvae crescunt


Small things grow great by concord...

Tenth Amendment Center


"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."


FOLLOW US

Get in Touch

12 + 14 =


MAIL:
PO BOX 13458
Los Angeles, CA 90013


PHONE:
213.935.0553

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.”

LEARN MORE

01

Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles

02

Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog

03

State of the Nullification Movement

108 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report

01

Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty

02

maharrey minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens.

maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues – history, and application today

TENTHER ESSENTIALS

Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!

JOIN TAC

01

The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose – the “Foundation of the Constitution.”

10th Amendment

03

Nullification

Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history – and today.

nullification