My extremely knowledgeable husband, The Hoosier Gadfly (HG), is planning to do a blog post about the next step for those who still hope to preserve our republic as per its constitutional framework. However, he may not get to it for a day or three, so I am putting together this preview in the meantime, based on some notes he threw together.
Five secession petitions, concerning five states, have appeared on the whitehouse.gov petition website. Secession is hopeless, and makes for lousy PR -- but there is another state-based approach that may offer a hint of promise, if a sufficient number of states follow it.
Article VI, clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution requires all legislative, judicial and executive officers of the states, as well as of the federal government, to swear or affirm that they will support the Constitution. That Constitution includes the Tenth Amendment: "The powers not delegated to the
by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
States respectively, or to the people."
HG paraphrases this as saying: "When we talked about a federal
government of limited, enumerated powers, WE MEANT IT."
It is also worth noting, as well, the language affixed by the Speaker of the House and President of the Senate to the proposed Bill of Rights when it was circulated to the states, including the following: "The Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added . . . ."
Finally, we must keep in mind that at the time the Constitution and then the Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, the citizenry as a whole was expected to be able to read and comprehend them. They were not considered arcane and mysterious documents that only exalted judges in robes could interpret.
Add all this together, and you have an obligation and responsibility for state governments to uphold the Constitution as reasonably understood, even when any or all branches of the federal government have tossed it aside as antiquated or inconvenient.
We have seen some movement in this direction in the recent election, where a number of states passed referenda legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, a drug the federal government has (with no constitutional power as a basis) declared illegal, or proclaiming that health insurance or health care will remain a province of state government, not subject to federal fiat. HG suggests a more comprehensive and coordinated campaign, which could be called "Civil Obedience," and/or "Red State Evolution." As many states as possible should declare that they will neither enforce nor allow the enforcement of any unconstitutional federal statutes or regulations within their borders. Any federal agents attempting the latter will be restrained and escorted hence. If enough states take this stand, it will be impractical to take action against them.
If any "blue states" find this situation intolerable -- let them talk of secession. The states exercising Civil Obedience have no intention of leaving the
Union -- nor of letting it be further
subverted by those also sworn to defend it.