Texas Bill Would Create Committee to Determine Constitutionality of Federal Acts

A bill making its way through the Texas state legislature would create a committee tasked with reviewing the constitutionality of federal laws, regulations, executive orders, federal court decisions, and treaties. Confirmation of unconstitutionality by the state legislature would prohibit state enforcement of the federal action in question.

The language of HB 1347 would create the Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Enforcement. The 12-person committee would “review federal actions that challenge the sovereignty of the state and of the people for the purpose of determining if the federal action is unconstitutional.”

Although HB 1347 would apply to Texas only, we encourage legislators in the other 49 states to introduce bills in their states modeled after HB 1347. If, as with most states, it is too late to introduce new bills yet this year, please ask your state legislators to begin working toward introducing such a bill in the 2020 or 2021 session.

Put simply, the states created the federal government, set the boundaries of its power, and reserved to themselves all other rights not specifically delegated to the new federal authority. The contract containing the rights and responsibilities of the parties to this contract that created the federal government is called the Constitution.

This element of the creation of the union is precisely where the states derive their power to negate acts of the federal government that exceed its constitutional authority.

Nullification, whether through active acts passed by the legislatures or the simple refusal to obey unconstitutional directives, is the “rightful remedy” for the ill of federal usurpation of authority.

And it is to that end that the Texas bill was proposed: to put the federal beast back inside its constitutional cage and keep it there!

Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution reads: “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution….”

Just how would a state Joint Legislative Committee on Constitutional Enforcement go about determining whether a federal act should be carried out in its state? The plain language of the bill sets out the procedure: “When reviewing a federal action, the committee shall consider the plain reading and reasoning of the text of the United States Constitution and the understood definitions at the time of the framing and construction of the Constitution by our forefathers before making a final declaration of constitutionality.”

And that is the ultimate aim of all who would see the U.S. Constitution preserved for our posterity: for the state governments to exercise those “numerous and indefinite” powers placed in them by the people and for the federal government to remain restricted to those “few and defined” powers granted to it by the states.

If you agree that your state legislators should “Obey Their Oath by Enforcing the U.S. Constitution,” please phone them and urge them to introduce and cosponsor a bill modeled after Texas HB 1347. Click here for their phone numbers.

Please also send an email to your state legislators with the same message.

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