Texas's Tenth Amendment Opportunity

"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." Amendment X to the Constitution of the United States

The Tenth Amendment was ratified about three-and-a-half years after the Constitution of the United States itself. Where the Constitution gives the federal government very limited, specific powers (called "enumerated powers"), the Tenth Amendment was meant to be an exclamation point on that fact.

The federal government has grossly exceeded its authority under the Constitution. This isn't exactly new, as it's been steadily doing so for most of its existence, most notably over the last century. Now with one-party control of the federal government, the new Biden Administration issuing a slew of executive orders, and the new Congress clapping along, people are suddenly taking a renewed interest in the Tenth Amendment, as they correctly surmise that only the States and the people remain to check the power of the federal government.

This sentiment has given rise to the #Texit movement for Texas to secede from the United States. Texas State Rep. Kyle Biedermann filed House Bill (HB) 1359 to hold a ballot referendum in the November 7, 2021 election, to ask Texans whether they do want to secede. This has been met with quite a bit of enthusiasm by people who are fed up and apprehensive about what our out-of-control federal government is going to do next.

I'll admit, it holds a certain appeal. Texas by itself is the world's tenth largest economy, and while it's still energy-heavy, we've diversified significantly and could easily stand on our own. We would no longer have to care about what unconstitutional violation of our freedoms is next thrust upon us by Washington, D.C.

But would that solve all our problems here in Texas? Not by a long shot. What's more, the same disease which has perhaps fatally poisoned D.C. has been seeping into state capitols for a long time as well, including Austin--it just hasn't progressed nearly as far. Alas, no state is immune to human nature, which is the very thing the Constitution of the United States was built to resist.

The reality is, we're going to have to face this battle whether we secede or not, and I'm not yet ready to take my football, go home, and give up on the greatest nation in the history of the world.

Abraham Lincoln captured my sentiments 158 years ago, when in the Gettysburg Address he said: We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

We did have a new birth of freedom. We then gave much of it away, but that's why eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; we can never stop having a new birth of freedom. Human nature will inevitably take hold and erode our liberty, and like the phoenix, we must continually reignite the fires of freedom to be reborn. More than any government in the history of the world, we are empowered by the Constitution to do just that--without the bloodshed that so often characterizes a change in government.

Texas isn't the only state feeling this angst, frustration, and uncertainty; we're just the best-situated to entertain secession. But if Texas were to lead on a Tenth Amendment push, numerous states would join. In fact, whether he realized it or not Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took a straw poll with his lawsuit challenging the unlawful changes to election law by several states in the 2020 elections. Seventeen additional states joined his suit, and this was on an issue about which conservatives were divided on the constitutionality (prominently, Mark Levin and Ben Shapiro, the two conservative commentators I most respect, were on opposite sides of this).

Ultimately, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, claiming Texas and the other states didn't have "standing" (which I find absurd under Article III, but that's another discussion).

You know what nobody contends is unconstitutional? Article V of the Constitution itself. Article V is the section which provides for amending the Constitution. One way--the way it's always been done--is for Congress to propose amendments, to then be ratified by the states. Raise your hand if you think Congress is going to propose amendments to limit itself. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

The second way, proposed by Col. George Mason, and unanimously adopted two days before the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, allows two-thirds of the states to call for a convention for proposing amendments, any of which then must also be ratified by three-fourths of the states, exactly the same as amendments proposed by Congress.

My eyes were opened to this by Mark Levin's book, The Liberty Amendments, and I believe in it so strongly, I have devoted several years of my life to this movement, including serving for more than two years as Texas State Director of Convention of States. I have studied it up, down, forwards, backwards, left, right, and inside-out.

Texas passed this resolution on May 4, 2017, to call for a convention to propose amendments to accomplish the following:

  1. Limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government

  2. Impose fiscal restraints on the federal government

  3. Limit the terms of office for federal officials and members of Congress

In other words: to limit the federal government's time, money, and power.

Some amendments proposed, including by Mark Levin and Gov. Greg Abbott, would allow a supermajority of the states to override federal law, and even Supreme Court rulings. If I could pick only one amendment, it would be to once and for all clarify the Commerce Clause in conjunction with the Necessary and Proper Clause, and undo the abominable and egregious Wickard v. Filburn Supreme Court decision which opened the floodgates to federal government excess and usurpation of state sovereignty. That amendment by itself would likely wipe away two-thirds of the federal government with a stroke of the pen, and return the power where it belongs: with the States, and with the people.

Texas is one of fifteen states currently to have passed this resolution. Six more states have already passed in one chamber of the state legislature. Six more on top of that have not yet passed the Convention of States resolution, but did sign on to Ken Paxton's lawsuit. That's 27. It takes 34.

For something with no constitutional question mark, how many more states would join if Texas led on this? Only seven more states would be needed, on top of those already discussed, and that would shake the pillars of our republic to truly give us an opportunity to restore liberty, self-governance, and representative government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Nothing is guaranteed, and the window on this is closing. The federal government will shut the doors on this forever if they can, but only a Convention of States could allow for the amendments we need to have a fighting chance to become part of the Constitution. There's a lot of fear and misinformation (not Russian misinformation) about Article V, and I've spent years sifting through it. The Convention of States Resource Center provides a reliable repository of information, including the Top Five items to read to get up to speed.

Eight months ago, I wrote Twilight or Dawn: It's up to You, America about the opportunity we had before us, and that opportunity is now ten times greater than what it was.

If Texas will lead, the nation will follow. We've already seen it. It's up to us.

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