Governor To Feds - Please Tread On Me
May 4, 2009
By Humphrey Stevenson
On April 24th, Governor Brad Henry (D - OK) vetoed Oklahoma House Joint Resolution 1003. The resolution had passed the state House 83 - 13 and the state Senate 29 - 18. So, what kind of misguided resolution could have caused Governor Henry to take such action? HJR 1003 claimed the State of Oklahoma has "... sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."
I'll pause while you compose yourself.
That's it. Plainly put, the simpletons in the state legislature had the audacity, the unmitigated gall to think that Oklahoma is a sovereign state having "... rights the federal government may not usurp;" (HJR 1003). Well this could not stand. I mean after all, what would Obama think? So, Governor Henry put a stop to that nonsense.
In his veto message, Henry said, "... there is no need to spend valuable legislative time on a resolution expressing support for any particular amendment or constitutional right." However, the resolution had already passed in the House and Senate, so the "legislative time" was already spent by the time it reached the governor's desk. Seems to me that this argument should have been made earlier; no use crying over spilled milk. Nevertheless, I'm sure it is comforting to the citizens of the reddest of the Red States to know that we have a governor who believes that the sovereignty of this state or the defense of the rights thereof, is a waste of time. Anyway, the state legislators didn't see it that way.
Henry continued, "Furthermore, HJR 1003 alleges, without offering any evidence or explanation, that past and current U.S. leaders may have violated the Constitution and committed crimes against the states and the country." May have violated the Constitution? Oh no, permit me to be more direct; they have violated the Constitution. But if it's evidence Governor Henry wants, allow me; how about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, ESEA, Bilingual Education Act, National Endowment of the Arts, EPA, CAFĂ‰, Community Reinvestment Act, TARP, bailout of the auto industry and on and on. All done by "U.S. leaders" and none of which can I find in the enumerated powers of the federal government in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Henry further stated that the resolution implied that the state should reject federal tax money. He feared that this would prevent federal tax dollars paid by Oklahoma citizens to be used in the state to address "critical needs" and provide "vital services." I can only imagine that he is referring to the so called stimulus money. However, HJR 1003 doesn't specifically address the stimulus package. The relevant section merely demands, "That all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or require states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed." Henry seems to be suggesting that the stimulus money comes with a hook in it.
"In short," Henry said in closing, "HJR 1003 could be detrimental to Oklahoma and does not serve the state or its citizens in any positive manner." I fail to see how any resolution that demands that the federal government retract its tentacles and restrict its power to those enumerated in the Constitution could be detrimental to any state or its citizens. Governor Henry has obviously forgotten that the states created the federal government to act as their agent, not the other way around. HJR 1003 was to remind the federal government of that fact.
I know that several other states that have "Tenth Amendment" resolutions in various forms working through these states' legislatures. If you are a citizen of such a state, call your legislator, call your governor. Tell them you want the resolution passed and signed into law. The only way we are going to get this monstrous federal government reined in is for the states and the people to demand it.