Here in Virginia we are gearing up for another session of the General Assembly, the legislative body of the state government. Delegates and senators have begun to showcase the bills they hope to pass in the upcoming year and there is one that should be of particular interest to any person who seeks to curtail the power of the federal government.
The purpose of bill, House Joint Resolution Number 130, is in “memorializing the Congress of the United States to honor state sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.” This resolution has attracted a good number of sponsors, currently including: Delegates Randy Minchew of Loudoun County, Dave Albo of Fairfax County, Rob Bell of Albemarle County, Mark Cole of Fredericksburg, Chris Head of Roanoke, Keith Hodges of Middlesex County, Jimme Massie of Henrico County, Rick Morris of Isle of Wight County, Israel O’Quinn of Bristol, and David Ramadan of Loudoun County.
But what exactly does this resolution say? Well, it begins by quoting 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.” It further notes, “The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more”.
The resolution goes on to boldly claim that “many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States” and “that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states”.
The resolution concludes with the following assertion: “The Commonwealth of Virginia hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. The Commonwealth by this resolution serves notice to the federal government, as its agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers. Further, the Commonwealth urges that all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding shall be prohibited or repealed.”
The full text of Resolution 130 can be found here.
It has become clear that most of the legislators in Congress, the president, the courts, and the federal bureaucracy have little interest in restraining their powers to those specifically enumerated in the Constitution. Therefore, in order to restore some sense of federalism, it is up to the states and the people to claim the authority that is rightfully theirs.
But lingering questions remain. Will the delegates and senators in Richmond have the political courage to pass this resolution? And if they do, are they willing to chart a course that will enforce the federal limitations found in the Constitution and the 10th Amendment? After all, it would mean an end to federal control of many facets of life including, but limited to: education, healthcare, retirement, and the modern welfare state.
Conservatives, libertarians, and constitutionalists all across Virginia should support House Joint Resolution 130 and ought to write his or her legislators and encourage them to do likewise. It’s time to make a stand!