MOUNT VERNON — State sovereignty is not a new idea, but it has become more important because of what many perceive to be the continual encroachment by the federal government into states’ affairs. Efforts are under way in Ohio to settle the issue once and for all.
Spearheaded by Mount Vernon resident Michael Young, the Peoples Constitution Coalition of Ohio is working on a proposed sovereignty amendment to the Ohio Constitution. “The purpose of the amendment is to state the specific relationship between the state, people and government,” said Young. “It puts the sovereignty issue into law, and mandates Ohio’s government to protect the state from the federal government.”
The 10th amendment to the U.S. Constitution states the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or to the people.
“States are sovereign over the federal government except for a few items specifically delegated to the federal government,” said Young, using the analogy of a homeowner hiring a plumber.
“You hire him to fix the sink,” said Young, “but he’s not authorized to raid your refrigerator, answer the phone or spank your kids. So, too, with government. When government operates outside of those duties [delegated], we have a right and a duty to hold them accountable.
“With the speed that the federal government is moving right now with health care
legislation, cap and trade, and the stimulus programs, it’s moving so quickly people can’t catch their breath to realize what is going on,” he continued. “It’s the duty of the states to protect their citizens from federal abuse.”
So fast, that I hope there will be enough time for the process to be carried out. If the US Senate ratifies the Copenhagen Treaty, we will have to fast-forward to secession.
“As an Ohioan, you should want this kind of protection ... because there’s a lot of abuses that would disappear,” he said. “The federal board of education* is completely unconstitutional because nothing in the federal constitution grants that power. That’s reserved to the states.”
Other areas the federal government is involved with that are unconstitutional, said Young, include gun control laws and forced vaccinations.
Young said there’s no law that requires the Legislature to make sure a bill is constitutional when it is passed.
“To my mind, that is absolutely ludicrous,” he said. “The constitution is the authority; you would assume they would comply with that authority. But there is no language in the constitution that mandates government comply with it.”
The proposed amendment, he said, would remove all of the ambiguity and remove the loophole where ignorance of the constitution is no longer an excuse.
However, as I pointed out Monday, there is a limit on how much a document can do. The Founding Fathers thought the US Constitution put a straitjacket around the federal government. If the will to enforce the Constitution is not present, the words won't matter much.
The coalition is hosting a meeting Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Senior Citizen Center in Fredericktown, to bring awareness of state sovereignty and the proposed amendment. Doors will open at 9 a.m.; seating is limited.
In addition to Young talking about the proposed amendment, speakers include Dr. Frederick Graves, creator of Jurisdictionary legal self-help program, who will speak on “Rule of law: How to use the mechanisms of law and government to hold government accountable”; Sen. Timothy Grendell, who is backing SCR-13, an Ohio sovereignty resolution, through the Ohio Senate; and Warren Edstrom, co-creator of The Voices of America project, who will discuss how the people of Ohio can have their voices heard by government.
“Our main goals right now are to draft a proposed amendment and simultaneously start organizing the people of Ohio so they are aware of what we are doing,” said Young. “Our meeting Saturday is to help promote building that network.
“People are starting to become aware of this,” he continued. “So far, we have had an acceptance level of 99 percent. People are ready for some positive change for the better.”
The coalition’s goal is to have the amendment on the November 2010 ballot.
As I indicated on Monday, the goals of the People's Constitution Coalition are admirable, but I have some serious qualms about the specifics of their proposed amendments.
* Mr. Young meant Department of Education