NH explores the limits of their state motto, "Live Free or Die!"

Over at Post Politics, in a comment on ACK’s observations on one of my posts, Economist Martin Kennedy (at least I think it’s him – I don’t know any other “M Kennedys” commenting on blogs) observed, “I guess Tennessee could just leave the Union altogether but beyond that we’re dealing with what should be done given the constraint that Tennessee is part of the Union.”

Kennedy’s comment might be prescient! Beyond Haley Barbour and Mark Sanford in MS and SC, openly and respectively, and rumors that Rick Perry and Tim Pawlenty from TX and MN might be Governors willing to consider sending back Federal money earmarked for their states due to the strings attached and the inherent wrongness of the Federal Government handing out tax dollars in such a fashion, comes this.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives, with the concurrence of the State Senate, has introduced HCR 0006. It is a throwing down of the gauntlet from one of the states which voluntarily comprise our Union to demand the Federal Government live up to the compact the Feds have with the states, or else!

It opens, “Whereas the Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, Part 1, Article 7 declares that the people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State; and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, pertaining thereto, which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in congress assembled…,” and just gets better from there.

Click through on the link above and read the entire thing! Make sure you have the time to decipher the legal-ese. The upshot seems to be that New Hampshire is saying that if the Feds keep behaving in extra-constitutional manners, it will consider it a breach of the Constitution! HCR0006 is careful to state New Hampshire is committed to her sister states and the relationship they have enjoyed for centuries. But it seems the Legislature of the “Live Free or Die” state has had enough.

My favorite portion is this paragraph

That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship and union which it has manifested from that moment at which a common danger first suggested a common union: that it considers union, for specified national purposes, and particularly to those specified in their federal compact, to be friendly to the peace, happiness and prosperity of all the States: that faithful to that compact, according to the plain intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preservation: that it does also believe, that to take from the States all the powers of self-government and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these States; and that therefore this State is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men on earth: that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis), to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limit: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them: that nevertheless, this State, from motives of regard and respect for its co-States, has wished to communicate with them on the subject: that with them alone it is proper to communicate, they alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, and subject as to its assumptions of power to the final judgment of those by whom, and for whose use itself and its powers were all created and modified: that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them: that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism — free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. That this State does therefore call on its co-States for an expression of their sentiments on acts not authorized by the federal compact. And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced as to prove their attachment unaltered to limited government, whether general or particular. And that the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to no dangers by remaining embarked in a common bottom with their own. That they will concur with this State in considering acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States, of all powers whatsoever: that they will view this as seizing the rights of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government, with a power assumed to bind the States, not merely as the cases made federal, (casus foederis,) but in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent: that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories … (emphasis added)

Please pause with me for a moment of stunned silence! This issued forth from a STATE governmental body! And they have invited the other 49 states to join in their sentiment! I personally find this to be as inspirational and stirring as the language of those documents which announced the founding of our nation.

It is going to take a bit of work but I intend to send this to every member of Tennessee’s Legislature and ask them to stand with New Hampshire in repudiating the open and naked efforts of the Federal Government to disregard our Constitution’s 9th and 10th Amendments and usurp power and authority the people never intended for them to wield.

What say you? Let me know in comments your opinion of New Hampshire’s proposed legislation.


PS:  Those of you wanting a NH view of the issue can check in with Skip and Doug and their merry band of NH misfits at Granite Grok!