The following is a letter from Tennessee to the other 49 State Legislatures.
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 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.