Friday, February 18, 2011

Testimony in Support of SJ1 (MD State Sovereignty Resolution)

by Joshua Lyons  |  February 16, 2011

The text of SJ1 can be found HERE. The audio of the hearing can be found during the last 20 minutes of the recording found HERE (Budget and Taxation - Wed, 2/16/11).

Chairman Kasemeyer - Vice-Chairman McFadden - Members of the Committee,

We were in this room one year ago, voicing our support of this same resolution. It is just as important now as it was then, maybe even more so.  The decision that you make related to this legislation will have a profound impact on my family and other families in the state of Maryland for generations to come.  While it may at first seem that the resolution states already existing facts, it is often important to restate them so that the truths may be heard again by all.

While a resolution may not carry the force of law, it does deliver a forceful message; a message that firmly supports what the framers intended.  As Madison, generally referred to as the father of our Constitution, wrote in Federalist [No.] 45 prior to the Constitution’s ratification:

  • The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.
  • Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.

Our governmental structure was not established as a National government; it was designed as a Federal system of governance, one in which two governments have jurisdiction over the inhabitants (i.e. a dual sovereignty); this is federalism. We the people consented to delegating very specific authority to the federal government, but the balance was retained by the states and their people.  This said – the purpose of federalism is protection of the liberties of people and the rights of individuals.

SJ1 is non-partisan and gives the people of Maryland an opportunity to assert our states proper authority as a co-equal level of government – just as our founding fathers intended.  It is troubling that we even need to take steps to assert such limitations outlined in our U.S. Bill of Rights.

Those in support of federalism and this resolution are not anti-government; we’re proponents of proper government. We firmly support all levels of government as the framers intended.

This resolution is about bringing the appropriate power back to Maryland, where it belongs. You, our state Senators and Delegates, are more aware of our Maryland culture and are closer to the people, just as you should be. A rebalance of power is crucial for a Constitutional republic rooted in federalism to survive. Otherwise the federal government will continue to increase its voracious appetite for more and more power. This will result in less freedom for Maryland citizens and more government debt that will never be paid back.

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point that our representatives and the judiciary of the federal government have usurped authority that ‘We the People’ never consented to. They have done this over many decades and through various measures; most of the time the vehicle used by the legislature is the General Welfare clause or the Commerce Clause and this is done with the collusion of their federal counterparts in the judiciary citing case law, not original intent or meaning.  If the people were to retain their unalienable rights, the founders knew the federal government could not be the final and only arbiter of its own power and authority; the people of the states must also hold the federal branches accountable through their state representatives.

Because of the federal governments’ usurpation, it is left to the Peoples representatives in the state governments to serve as the final sentry and to halt the rapid usurpation of power and authority by our federal government.  As Senators and your counterparts, the Delegates, you have been sent to Annapolis not simply to represent the concerns of your constituency.

In closing, let me humbly remind you that your most basic purpose is to assure the rights of the people are to be protected and preserved.  Your primary responsibility to Maryland citizens is to secure our freedom and liberty. This is why SJ1 is so desperately needed to pass.

So I ask you my fellow Marylanders…Will you help us citizens by asserting our authority before it is too late? Liberty will not preserve itself. It is our civic obligation to be its guardian.  Will you be a champion of liberty?


Joshua J. Lyons
Resident of Frederick County, MD

Joshua is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show Saturdays at 12 noon, Eastern, on AM930 WFMD – and the co-founder of We Surround Them Frederick.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Restoration...Through Federalism

A discussion occurred on The Blaine Young radio show this past Monday (1/3/11) related to the 2nd Amendment. This discussion was predicated on the topics of enabling the local sheriff to issue concealed carry permits to Frederick County citizens and changing MD law from "may issue" to "shall issue" as it relates to gun permits. I called in toward the end of the show to highlight the common misconception that as it was ratified, the Bill of Rights prohibited a state from regulating firearms. Essentially the 2nd amendment was not ratified to bar states from getting in between citizens and their guns; it was to bar the federal government from doing so.  I also stated that I supported [vehemently] that MD law should be change to “shall issue”, but this would have to be taken up in Annapolis, MD.

During The Blaine Young radio show on Wednesday (1/5/11), a caller brought up my comments from the previous Monday’s show. The caller said that "the colonies had a Constitutional Convention" – I mean no disrespect to the gentleman, but this highlights his unfortunate misunderstanding of history (which is not unusual).  The treaty after the war recognized them as sovereign independent states; not as a unified country.  These sovereign states first made a compact as a Confederation (under the Articles of Confederation).  The states essentially sent representatives to meet (i.e. a Congress) and fix what wasn’t working.  Well, that turned into something else….a Constitutional Convention!

They were not colonies at the time of the Constitutional Convention (& subsequent ratification), they were sovereign states that gave certain, limited authority to the federal government; this authority was enumerated in the US Constitution.  The US Constitution was ratified by the states.  The states did not give up their sovereignty; they only gave up limited authority enumerated within the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was drafted to limit the federal government because the anti-federalists knew throughout history that a powerful central government would become a tyrannical government; always…every time!  The states also drafted their own Constitutions to delineate the authority the people granted to their states' government; many of these also included a Bill of Rights (enumerating specific authority the people wanted to ensure that their state government didn't usurp from them). These state Constitutions were similar in many respects, but they were not the same; the way sovereign entities joined by compact should be!  Until the 1920’s (and the advent of the Incorporation Doctrine), it was common knowledge that the states were not “under the umbrella” of the US Bill of Rights.  They were however held to the Supremacy Clause (in Article VI of the US Constitution), which asserts that federal laws made in pursuance of the Constitution, and treaties made by the United States with foreign nations as "the Supreme Law of the Land". Meaning the states couldn’t supersede the Federal Authority where granted (hence the enumerated powers). This is an example of the teeth that the Articles of Confederation lacked.

As an quick example, Massachusetts state ratified the Constitution with this as its first request for amendments (this is in reference to what came to be the Bill of Rights):
“And as it is the opinion of this Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution would remove the fears, and quiet the apprehensions, of many of the good people of this commonwealth, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of the federal government, — the Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations and provisions be introduced into the said Constitution: —
I. That it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.”

The topic of federalism is not easy to cover, especially in 5-10 minutes calling into a radio show.  However, it is through Federalism where we return to the system that our government was designed to operate within. 
Summary: Federalism is a system of governance in which two governments (in our case: Federal & State) have jurisdiction over the inhabitants of the respective geography…where the authority is essentially divided up.

This concept/topic will be discussed more in depth this Saturday (1/8/11) at 12noon ET on The Forgotten Men radio show.  We hope you tune in and gain some insight on such a vital topic that you probably weren’t taught!

At the end of the day…..We should be furious at how our history has been rewritten and much of what we’ve been taught (and what has been propagated through academia and the media) is essentially based on a usurpation of authority of the Federal government and the states and the people allowing this to happen.

Joshua is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show Saturdays at 12 noon, Eastern, on AM930 WFMD – and the co-founder of We Surround Them Frederick.