Is it time for states to urgently consider declaring sovereignty from the US Government? In the American system, the people of the several states are sovereign, meaning they hold final or ultimate authority. Power flows from them to the federal government, which merely serves as their agent.  What is a sovereign state? A sovereign state is a state that has the highest authority over a territory. 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.

Just like radicals toppling the statues of America’s Founders, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats are trashing the federalism principles at the heart of our constitutional framework. Along with imposing a vaccine mandate, they are meddling in how we fuel our cars, heat our homes, educate our children, treat their ailments, zone our communities, and construct our roads—all representing a vast expansion of federal powers. This encroachment undermines political accountability, stifles policy innovation, and hampers civic participation, leading to a loss of individual state’s control over their own affairs.

The Biden administration and congressional Democrats are trashing the federalism principles at the heart of our constitutional framework.

The various conditions attached to the grants drive policy at the state level and inject federal involvement in virtually every aspect of local governance.

The challenge before the nation is to divest power from the administrative state and restore the constitutional constraints that best safeguard liberty.

A recent Heritage Foundation report offers abundant evidence of excessive encroachment. The number and cost of federal mandates have increased markedly—an additional 457 enacted between 2006 and 2019—as have preemptions of state and local authority. (Federal dictates have likewise engulfed private enterprise, including 856 new mandates between 2006 and 2019.)

An imbalance in the federal-state relationship has profound effects on self-government. The constitutional division of authority was intended to impede the consolidation of government power. Dispersed power also allows states to tailor policies to distinct geographic, cultural, and political conditions brushed over by broad-stroke federal policies. This empowerment of states in self-governance is crucial. Keeping elected officials and bureaucrats in plain sight—or closer, at least—heightens accountability, and citizens are more likely to participate in the democratic process when their impact is undiluted by political interlopers.

Growth in federal mandates’ number and scope is a modern phenomenon. Researchers have documented one instance of Congress enacting a major mandate in 1931, one in 1940, none in the 1950s, nine in the 1960s, 25 in the 1970s, and 27 in the 1980s. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Congress and various presidents have approved more than 190 statutes with intergovernmental mandates since 2000. Collectively, the laws have imposed more than 1,000 separate directives. The volume of red tape is massive.

States are also much more dependent on federal grants-in-aid, which comprised nearly a third (32.4%) of total state spending in fiscal year 2020. The number of federally funded grant programs grew from 132 in 1960 to 387 in 1968 and 664 in 1998. It is now 1,274 and growing. Washington is about to unleash the second injection of COVID-19 cash—some $1.9 trillion under the American Rescue Plan Act—along with $1.2 trillion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Moreover, if the Senate passes the “Build Back Better” bill, it will dispense several trillion dollars more.

The various conditions attached to the grants drive policy at the state level and inject federal involvement in virtually every aspect of local governance.

Such excessive federal interference inhibits policy competition among states, as well as the relative transparency and accountability of state-level and local-level regulation. It also impedes the ability of both citizens and businesses to escape flawed policies by crossing state borders.

Previous efforts to curb intergovernmental meddling, such as the enactment of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, have largely failed. New actions are sorely needed. Congress should start by requiring legislative sponsors to identify the constitutional basis of their bills. Floor time should be allotted to debate the justification’s sufficiency.

Congress should also codify President Reagan’s Executive Order 12612, which directed departments and agencies to grant states the “maximum administrative discretion possible” and to limit state discretion “only where constitutional authority for the action is clear and certain and the presence of a problem of national scope necessitates the national activity.”

Agencies should also be required to conduct federalism assessments (for review by the Office of Management and Budget) for all proposed rules with federalism implications. Each assessment should analyze the state costs that the rule would impose, and agencies should be required to report the results to Congress and the public.

The challenge before the nation is to divest power from the administrative state, restore the constitutional constraints that best safeguard liberty, and make America exceptional again.[1]

What is a “red state,” and what does it mean for a Presidential Election? If a state is a “red state,” the voters within that state primarily vote for the Republican Party. The term is also used to describe a state with conservative viewsBlue states vote Democratic and tend to have more liberal views. This means that red states believe in a smaller, deregulated government and have an aversion to rapid change. Red states desire to preserve the political philosophy and regulations articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and preserve traditional morality, such as that in the Bible.

During the 1980s, the colors were reversed: red states were Democratic, while blue states were Republican. During the U.S. Presidential Election in 2000, journalist Tim Russert used the terms “red state” and “blue state” based on the colored maps used during his televised election coverage. Since that election, the media has used red for Republicans and blue for Democrats.

According to Gallup Daily tracking numbers for 2017, 13 states are solid Republican. Those states are AlabamaAlaskaIdahoKansasMontanaNebraskaNorth DakotaOklahomaSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeUtah, and Wyoming—three additional states lean Republican: ArkansasMississippi, and Missouri.

From the mid-1970s, the Supreme Court has turned to the Tenth Amendment as a crucial tool in examining congressional enactments that are accused of infringing not on state police power but on state sovereignty. This includes whether Congress can apply general economic regulations to states and state instrumentalities.

In 1976, the Court revived the Tenth Amendment as an independent constitutional constraint in National League of Cities v. Usery. The Court conceded that the legislation at issue—the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wages and maximum hours requirements (the same law upheld in Darby but applied to state and local governmental employees)—was “undoubtedly within the scope of the Commerce Clause.”  But the Court found that “there are attributes of sovereignty attaching to every state government which Congress may not impair, not because Congress may lack an affirmative grant of legislative authority to reach the matter, but because the Constitution prohibits it from exercising the authority in that manner.”  The Court concluded that the “power to determine the wages which shall be paid to those whom [states] employ to carry out their governmental functions” was such an area of inviolable state sovereignty. As a result, as applied to certain state employees, the law was “not within the authority granted Congress.”

National League of Cities implied that the Tenth Amendment was the source of its protections for state sovereignty, distinguishing Darby’s dismissal of the Tenth Amendment as a “truism.” [2]

The 2000 United States presidential election began widely using the terms’ red state’ and ‘blue state.’ These terms now refer to U.S. states where voters predominantly support one party — the Republican Party in red states and the Democratic Party in blue states — in presidential and other statewide elections. States where the vote fluctuates between the Democratic and Republican candidates are known as ‘swing states’ or ‘purple states.’ Examining patterns within states reveals that the reversal of the two parties’ geographic bases has happened at the state level. Still, it is more complicated locally, with urban-rural divides associated with many of the most considerable changes.

All states contain considerable liberal and conservative voters (i.e., they are “purple”) and only appear blue or red on the electoral map because of the winner-take-all system used by most states in the Electoral College.[3] However, the perception of some states as “blue” and some as “red” was reinforced by a degree of partisan stability from election to election — from the 2016 presidential election to the 2020 presidential election, only five states changed “color”; and as of 2020, 35 out of 50 states have voted for the same party in every presidential election since the red-blue terminology was popularized in 2000, with only 15 having swung between the 2000 presidential election and the 2020 election. Although many red and blue states stay in the same category for long, they may switch from blue to red or red to blue over time.[3]

Much of this argument for states to declare sovereignty depends on the governors and legislatures of the states. How many Governors dare to take this on and be victorious?  I do not see a handful of governors with the courage to move forward with secession.


This article was published at Paul Vallely’s Substack

The views expressed in CCNS member articles are not necessarily the views or positions of the entire CCNS. They are the views of the authors, who are members of the CCNS.

© 2024 Citizens Commission on National Security

© 2024 Citizens Commission on National Security