Four New Hampshire state legislators have introduced a resolution affirming Thomas Jefferson’s defense of states' rights. House Concurrent Resolution 6 was recently introduced into the New Hampshire’s State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee by Rep. Itse, Rep. Ingbretson, Rep. Comerford, and Sen. Denley.
Interestingly, the authors of the New Hampshire Resolution took most of the language from the document commonly known as “Jefferson and Madison’s Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.”*
Following in the footsteps of the Founding Fathers the New Hampshire Resolution declares:
That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, -- delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress….
The New Hampshire Resolution boldly defends the state’s (and its citizens') rights preserved under the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution:
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.
Representative Daniel Itse, one of the resolutions co-authors, appeared yesterday on the Mike Church Show radio program. A transcript of the interview can be found here.
Representative Itse explained the reasoning behind the introduction of his resolution:
As a statement of the founders’ principle that it is the states who are in charge, and not the federal government; that it’s they [the states] who have the power to interpret the Constitution; and that the federal government has only definite delegated powers; and that any law enacted outside those delegated powers is null and void.
A concurrent resolution lacks legal authority. It is a non-binding expression of the intentions of the legislature. Nevertheless, these four New Hampshire state legislators have shown much courage by introducing (or reintroducing) these precious principles that have been the bedrock of our republic.
Maybe HCR 6, the shot heard round little old New Hampshire, will inspire more Americans to realize the desperate need to free ourselves from an overreaching federal government. In which case, the shot heard round New Hampshire might become the next shot heard round the world.
*Thomas Jefferson was the chief author of the Kentucky Resolutions and Madison was primarily responsible for the similar Virginia Resolutions. Both men may have worked on each set of resolutions.