PHOENIX, Ariz. ( May 15, 2013) – The people of Arizona haven’t had much to cheer about when it comes to assertion of state sovereignty to block unconstitutional federal acts. Several measures passed through the state legislature over the last two years, but none escaped the ink flowing from Gov. Jan “Finger-wagging” Brewer’s veto pen.
Last year, the Arizona governor vetoed a bill nullifying indefinite detention provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act and a sheriff’s first initiative that would have required federal agents to notify the county sheriff before operating in their jurisdiction. During the latest legislative session, Brewer rejected a bill that would have allowed the use of gold and silver as legal tender in the Grand Canyon State.
But Brewer won’t have the opportunity to put the kibosh on a powerful state sovereignty bill garnering final approval in the legislature Tuesday.
The people of Arizona will get the final say.
SCR1016 places a constitutional amendment on the November 2014 general election ballot. If approved by the voters, a direct mechanism will be created to help ensure that the use of state personnel and financial resources will only be authorized for activities consistent with the Constitution. That would functionally prohibit state cooperation with federal enforcement of gun “laws” violating the Second Amendment, or attempts to indefinitely detain people in Arizona under the NDAA. The provision would essentially end all state cooperation with any unconstitutional acts across the board.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land to which all government, state and federal, is subject.
B. To protect the people’s freedom and to preserve the checks and balances of the United States Constitution, this state may 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 by doing any of the following:
1. Passing an initiative or referendum pursuant to Article IV, part 1, section 1.
2. Passing a bill pursuant to Article IV, part 2 and article V, section 7.
3. Pursuing any other available legal remedy.
C. If the people or their representatives exercise their authority pursuant to this section, this state and all political subdivisions of this state are prohibited from using any personnel or financial resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with the designated federal action or program.
The House passed the measure 36-23 on Tuesday. The Senate approved the resolution 16-12 back on March 4.
Opponents will inevitably argue that “federal law is supreme” (ignoring the words “in pursuance of” in the supremacy clause) and claim that Arizona has no authority to reject federal law. But even the Supreme Court agrees that states do not have to enforce federal acts – constitutional or otherwise.
In Printz v. United States (1997) the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not command state law enforcement authorities to conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers. In 1992, the Court ruled in New York v. United States that Congress couldn’t require states to enact specified waste disposal regulations.
If the people of Arizona approve the amendment in November 2014, it will propel the Grand Canyon state to the forefront of state nullification efforts.
“This might be the coolest bill I’ve seen pass yet,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.
Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He proudly resides in the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky. See his blog archive here and his article archive here. He also maintains the blog, Tenther Gleanings.
Adam Henriksen [send him email] is the state chapter coordinator for the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center. Originally from Georgia, Adam has lived in Arizona for 15 years and has been with the Tenth Amendment Center since 2012.
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