Editor’s Note: a guest post by Walt Garlington of the Louisiana State Sovereign Committee.
For the last several weeks, the Louisiana State Sovereign Committee has been contacting members of Louisiana’s State and parish governments, requesting that they implement several proposals. In brief they are as follows:
–Freedom to Drill Act: to nullify federal regulations that ban oil and gas exploration in Louisiana’s territorial waters.
–Firearms Freedom Act: to protect Louisiana gun owners from current and future federal actions that would unlawfully restrict gun ownership.
–Big Tech Accountability Act: to protect Louisianans from abuse (de-platforming, etc.) at the hands of social media giants.
–Pro-Family Tax Policy: to strengthen the family in Louisiana.
–Nullification of Federal Executive Orders: a bill to establish a procedure by which the State Legislature and the La. Attorney General would examine presidential executive orders and then veto any that are deemed unconstitutional, such as the recent egregious act that forces schools to accept transgender athletes.
–Build a Louisiana Bullion Bank: to protect Louisiana from any losses in the value of the dollar because of the massive debt bubble in Washington, D. C., thereby nullifying the Federal Reserve fiat currency system.
–Strengthen Jury Nullification: a bill to make sure all jurors know that they may rule not only on the facts of a case but also on the justness of the law the defendant is accused of violating. Jury nullification is a final bulwark against tyrannical laws.
More information on each of these and how folks can support their adoption in Louisiana is available at the LSSC social media page.
We are grateful to Rep Danny McCormick for his constitutional carry bill (HB 16) and to Rep Lance Harris for his bill on social media regulation (HB 14), both of which address in some degree issues raised above. But, overall, the response of Louisiana’s various State officials to these proposals has been very muted. Either they are keeping their support for such measures quiet until a later time, or they are not interested in using nullification to improve things here in Louisiana. Both would be a mistake, but particularly the latter.
The vast majority of the public’s attention regarding politics is focused not on what happens in their respective State capitols but on what happens in Washington City. It should be the reverse, for the real demarcation of any significance when it comes to checks and balances is not between the branches of the federal government (mostly a paper fantasy) but between the States and the federal government (actual historical institutions).
The Southern statesman U.S. Senator John Taylor of Caroline County, Virginia, had a little something to say about this in 1823:
The constitution is susceptible of three distinct characters, which will shed much light on its construction. It ought to be considered as a compact, an organization of a government limited by the compact, and as a law in relation to individuals. Its essential stipulation as a compact, is the division of power between the state and federal governments. This feature is impressed upon it in the strongest lines, by the guarantee of a republican form of government to every state, and the reservation of undelegated powers. Can a government be called republican, or even be any government, if its powers may be taken away by another government, or if it is responsible, not to the people, but to a few judges, who are themselves responsible to another government? The argument used in the convention, now again advanced, that the states are subordinate corporations, is refuted by the constitution itself in its guarantee and reservation. Who are the guardians of the compact, the guarantee, and the reservation; the people of each state, or the supreme federal court? Is this court a state, a republican form of government for every state, and the receptacle of the reservation? Even a criminal is to be tried by his peers…the state governments, to be republican, must be regulated by the people of each state. How can they be republican, if they may be tried, their laws and judgments annulled, and their powers abridged, by a court, which is neither their peer, their master, nor their guarantee? To abridge the powers of the state governments, is equivalent to the suppression of the state legislatures. The constitution, in accordance with its character as a compact, composes a jury consisting of three-fourths of the contracting parties, for its own trial, because they were compeers; and neither subjected itself as a compact, nor these compeers and mutual guarantees, to the power of a few men only enabled to try cases in law and equity
Those who know Cousin John know that his language can be a little abstruse at times. What he is getting at is that a republican form of government is guaranteed to the States by virtue of each of them being the final judge of what is constitutional and what is not. If their judgment in that matter is usurped by the federal courts or any other department of the federal government, then there is no longer a voluntary union of sovereign, equal republics but a single dreary, regimented, undifferentiated mass ruled by an oligarchy from the marshes in Maryland.
Thus, State legislators, governors, and judges; police jurors, sheriffs, mayors, etc., have a duty to stop unlawful federal actions from operating in their jurisdictions. While we wish they would do so boldly, in the spirit of the Southern tradition of chivalry – seeking to protect the weak and defenseless from the powerful whatever the cost to themselves, which is an echo of the Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (St John’s Gospel 15:13) – yes, while we wish they would all charge out shouting, ‘Nous nullificons!’ (‘We nullify!’, if folks will pardon my rough French translation), we understand that many who hold those offices are motivated by less honorable intentions. But if they will not nullify for high moral reasons, let them consider this: They would find their popularity at home and abroad growing more rapidly (and with it, their ability to raise blasted campaign cash) as a result of voiding a couple of the more dangerous federal orders (e.g., the Gulf drilling ban or the transgender sports requirement) and making it stick, then they would by just about any other method available to them.
States across the union are defying federal regulations of everything from raw milk sales to facial recognition technology to civil asset forfeiture. Louisiana ought to join them, for her own good and for the sake of the well-being of her sister States. If Louisiana’s State and local governments would do their duty and nullify when necessary, then whatever Sen Romney, Rep Pelosi, and the rest of the power-hungry narcissists in Washington City try to scheme up will become much less important to our lives. That would be a great victory for all of us.