Alabama To Consider Sovereignty Under The 10th Amendment

Posted on 11 August 2009
by Michael Boldin

On August 10, 2009, Alabama State Representative Mac Gipson along with 22 other co-sponsors, introduced House Joint Resolution 10 (HJR10).  The purpose of the resolution is to “affirm the rights of all states including Alabama, based on the provisions of the ninth and tenth amendments to the United States Constitution.”

HJR10 was introduced on the first day of the Alabama Legislature’s 2009 First Special Session.  An Extraordinary (Special) Session can consist of no more than 12 Legislative (meeting) days, within a 30-day calendar period.

The resolution was read and referred to the House of Representatives committee on Rules.  Two similar resolutions were previously introduced in the Alabama 2009 session, but neither were brought to a floor vote.

If HJR10 passes both houses of the legislature, Alabama would be the eighth state to pass a resolution affirming sovereignty under the 10th Amendment, joining Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee.  Similar resolutions have been introduced in thirty-seven states in the past year.

While the resolution is not legally binding, supporters say it’s an important first step to “serve notice” to the federal government that it’s exercising powers not delegated to it by the People in the Constitution.  They say that state-level nullification of federal laws is the next step, and efforts have already begun on this in a number of states.

Montana and Tennessee, for example, have passed laws exempting people of their state from certain federal firearms regulations.  In 2010, Arizona voters will have the option of approving a state constitutional amendment that would effectively ban a future national health care plan in the state.  Similar laws and amendments are being considered in states across the country.

Read the Full Text of House Joint Resolution 10 below:

WHEREAS, the Alabama Legislature declares that the people of this state have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state, and shall exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right pertaining thereto, which is not expressly delegated by them to the United States of America in the Congress assembled; and
 
WHEREAS, some states when ratifying the Constitution for the United States of America recommended as a change, “that it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly and particularly delegated by the aforesaid are reserved to the several states to be by them exercised”; and

WHEREAS, these recommended changes were incorporated as the Ninth Amendment, where the enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and as the Tenth Amendment, where 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 several states of the United States of America, through the Constitution and the amendments thereto, constituted a general government for special purposes and delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each state to itself, the residuary right to their own self government; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That based on the above principles and provisions, we hereby declare by this resolution, that any act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States, or Judicial Order by the federal courts which assumes a power not delegated to the government of the United States of America by the Constitution and which serves to diminish the liberty of any of the several states or their citizens shall abridge the Constitution. We further declare that acts which would cause such an abridgement include, but are not limited to, each of the following:

(1) Establishing martial law or a state of emergency within one of the states comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that state.

(2) Requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

(3) Requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of eighteen other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law.

(4) Surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government.

(5) Any act regarding religion, further limitations on freedom of political speech, or further limitations on freedom of the press.

(6) Further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution shall be forwarded to the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and each member of the Alabama Congressional Delegation.

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