Repairing the State of the Union

There is a rumbling, low like thunder, moving across the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I became aware of this movement, just barely, sometime during the past year. To the un- or newly initiated, it may sound like rebellion or anarchy, with all the attendant associations of turmoil. I said, let me keep following this trend, and I have. What at one time may have sounded like extremism now plays a different tune. (In my ears, at least.) Persons who might have appeared fanatical to me, before, I now understand are patriotic Americans who know their Constitution. They have put their hand to the plow and are not looking back, and many of them are going forward with God.

The issue is state sovereignty.

There are clear limits to the power of the federal government and clear realms of power for the states.”

“The national government has become a complex system of programs whose purposes lie outside {emphasis mine} of the responsibilities of the enumerated powers {of the Federal govt., specified in the Constitution}…” (State Rep. Susan Lynn- TN, 57th.)

Representative Lynn makes the above statements in a clearly explained letter to the other 49 State Legislatures, requesting their partnership in a ‘ joint working group between the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government…’ As of this posting, I am not sure if this invitation has actually been sent to the various states yet, but for sure it’s on its way.

Some of the comments made regarding Rep. Lynn’s initiative have encouraged and motivated me, expanding my understanding as well. I’m ‘getting a grip’! Here are a few –

“Please go very public with this and allow the groundswell of support to build. We have truly found that the only thing the federal congress hears is the very loud stomping of the feet of the general population in this great country. They must hear us in this matter, before we become just another 2nd class country, {italics mine} torn apart by an egotist.” – Jim, Oct.21, 4:44am

“… Let’s make this viral.” – Wanda Gray, Oct.21, 6:24am

“This is a movement that will be the foundation of getting back to our founding principles. Implementing the Tenth Amendment and challenging the Sixteenth Amendment is the only way to stop the spicket {spigot? suggestion mine} of funding that enables the current trampling of our constitutional rights.” – Rich Hand, candidate for Governor of Colorado, Oct.21, 6:41am, who also says

“This road is long but in honor of our founders and what they endured; well worth the effort.”

“Our only hope to preserve this Republic is for all the states to come together and assert their Constitutional rights to reset our government back to its original intent and mandate. God speed.” – Ralph Luciani, BGen,(ret.) USAFMC, Oct.21, 9:41am

Bringing it down to where we live, Ruth Ann Wilson says we need some action at more local levels: “SANCTIFY THE COUNTIES once again. Use the “Private Act” to restore our Counties. As we have a 10th Amendment, so we, the people, have a 9th Amendment…” – Oct.21, 7:37am

I’ve only read about 25% of the comments; so far, all in favor…(I’m sure there are dissenters, but I don’t know that I’ll be reading through all the rest. I’m using my time instead to write this! But, later…) (Actually, just glancing over some right now & think I’d better read more of them.)

One gets the sense of another Revolution of sorts, brewing in this great country, in this great democracy. That sense is underscored by Richard’s potent insight, that we need today “the effort and courage of the Founding Fathers”. No doubt…

Below is Representative Lynn’s letter. Please read it thoughtfully, if you have time –

“We send greetings from the Tennessee General Assembly. On June 23, 2009, House Joint Resolution 108, the State Sovereignty Resolution, was signed by Governor Phil Bredesen. The Resolution created a committee which has as its charge to:

-Communicate the resolution to the legislatures of the several states,
-Assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship,
-Call for a joint working group between the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government, and
-Seek repeal of the assumption of powers and the imposed mandates.

It is for those purposes that this letter addresses your honorable body.

In 1776, our founding fathers declared our freedom in the magnificent Declaration of Independence; our guide to governance. They established a nation of free and independent states. Declaring that the purpose of our political system is to secure for its citizens’ their natural rights. The Constitution authorizes the national government to carry out seventeen enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8 and the powers of several of the ensuing amendments.

At the time of the Constitutional ratification process James Madison drafted the Virginia Plan to give Congress general legislative authority and to empower the national judiciary to hear any case that might cause friction among the states, to give the congress a veto over state laws, to empower the national government to use the military against the states, and to eliminate the states’ accustomed role in selecting members of Congress. Each one of these proposals was soundly defeated. In fact, Madison made many more attempts to authorize a national veto over state laws, and these were repeatedly defeated as well.

There are clear limits to the power of the federal government and clear realms of power for the states. However, the simple and clear expression of purpose, to secure our natural rights, has evolved into the modern expectation that the national government has an obligation to ensure our life, to create our liberty, and fund our pursuit of happiness.
The national government has become a complex system of programs whose purposes lie outside of the responsibilities of the enumerated powers and of securing our natural rights; programs that benefit some while others must pay.

Today, the federal government seeks to control the salaries of those employed by private business, to change the provisions of private of contracts, to nationalize banks, insurers and auto manufacturers, and to dictate to every person in the land what his or her medical choices will be.
Forcing property from employers to provide healthcare, legislating what individuals are and are not entitled to, and using the labor of some so that others can receive money that they did not earn goes far beyond securing natural rights, and the enumerated powers in the Constitution.

The role of our American government has been blurred, bent, and breached. The rights endowed to us by our creator must be restored.

To be sure, the People created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes only. The Constitutional ratifying structure was created so it would be clear that it was the People, and not the States, that were doing the ratifying.

The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government, and also that which is absolutely necessary to advancing those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. The rest is to be handled by the state governments, or locally, by the people themselves.

The Constitution does not include a congressional power to override state laws. It does not give the judicial branch unlimited jurisdiction over all matters. It does not provide Congress with the power to legislate over everything. This is verified by the simple fact that attempts to make these principles part of the Constitution were soundly rejected by its signers.

With this in mind, any federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress’ authority is a usurpation of state sovereignty – and unconstitutional.

Governments and political leaders are best held accountable to the will of the people when government is local. The people of a state know what is best for them; authorities, potentially thousands of miles away, governing their lives is opposed to the very notion of freedom.

We invite your state to join with us to form a joint working group between the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government and to seek repeal of the assumption of powers and the imposed mandates.”

Susan Lynn [send her email] is a member of the Tennessee General Assembly; serving on the Commerce Committee and Chairman of the Government Operations committee. She holds a BS in economics and a minor in history. She is the Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Commerce Task Force. Visit her blog at

In the course of putting this piece together, I’ve come across a number of relevant links, etc., that I am soon on my way to check out…and may include them later, or post on the site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this today.


4 responses to “Repairing the State of the Union

  1. You know me well enough to know that I cherish the 10th Amendment. However, I honestly feel that none of these movements will gain much ground until some of the states start challenging the Federal government in court. The States have traditionally done well in court. They should challenge a few of the assumed powers of the Federal government and really put their money where their mouth is so to speak.

  2. Absolutely. I'm assuming that is where all this is headed? Resolutions don't have the power of law behind them, I understand, but are more of a warning, or notice, of actions possibly coming.

  3. I've heard a lot of people and groups talking about taking power back from the government at the local and state level recently. But this isn't a new debate. People have been arguing about a more central government versus power at the state level for a long time!

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