South Carolina House considering “sovereignty” legislation that its author says “walks right up to the door of secession.”

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The text of the bill, reprinted below in italics, is available here.


Whereas, the South Carolina General Assembly declares that the people of this State have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State, and shall exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right pertaining thereto, which is not expressly delegated by them to the United States of America in the congress assembled; and

Whereas, some states when ratifying the Constitution for the United States of America recommended as a change, “that it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly and particularly delegated by the aforesaid are reserved to the several states to be by them exercised”; and

Whereas, these recommended changes were incorporated as the Ninth Amendment, where the enumeration of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people, and as the Tenth Amendment, where 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; and

Whereas, the several states of the United States of America, through the Constitution and the amendments thereto, constituted a general government for special purposes and delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving each state to itself, the residuary right to their own self government. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

That the General Assembly of South Carolina, based on the above principles and provisions, hereby declares by this resolution, that any act by the Congress of the United States, Executive Order of the President of the United States, or Judicial Order by the federal courts which assumes a power not delegated to the government of the United States of America by the Constitution and which serves to diminish the liberty of any of the several states or their citizens shall abridge the Constitution. The General Assembly further declares that acts which would cause such an abridgment include, but are not limited to:

(1)     establishing martial law or a state of emergency within one of the states comprising the United States of America without the consent of the legislature of that state;

(2)     requiring involuntary servitude, or governmental service other than a draft during a declared war, or pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law;

(3)     requiring involuntary servitude or governmental service of persons under the age of eighteen other than pursuant to, or as an alternative to, incarceration after due process of law;

(4)     surrendering any power delegated or not delegated to any corporation or foreign government;

(5)     any act regarding religion, further limitations on freedom of political speech, or further limitations on freedom of the press; and

(6)     further infringements on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of type or quantity of arms or ammunition.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the United States Senate, the United States House of Representatives, and each member of the South Carolina Congressional Delegation.

It was reported favorably out of committee two days ago. An interview with the sponsor, Rep. Michael Pitts, is below:


As this blogger asks: “What’s so important about right now and about the 9th and 10th amendments that we need to drop everything and have a concurrent resolution about how South Carolina (on behalf of every other state that is too busy) affirms ‘the rights of all states … based on the provisions of the ninth and tenth amendments to the United States Constitution.’?” The same post observes:

For how long have they been planning this concurrent resolution? Why are they passing it now? Aahhh. They’re having a backlash against President Barack Obama. They think he’s a socialist who’s going to tell them what to do, and they want everybody to know that they do not support anything that President Barack Obama wants to do.

Sure, they’ll take the stimulus money. Our state legislators will take money from anybody and everybody who’ll give it to them. But they’re not going to say thank you. In fact, they’re apparently in a big hurry to say the opposite. Forcefully but quietly, so that everyone who they want to know knows and everyone who they don’t want to know has no idea.

South Carolina has a lot of great people, and a lot of terrific things to offer, but some very strange things happen here too.

–Ann Bartow

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3 Responses to South Carolina House considering “sovereignty” legislation that its author says “walks right up to the door of secession.”

  1. efink says:

    Because it worked out so well the last time?!

  2. bob coley jr says:

    “nor prohibited by it to the states”… Hmm…what rights or laws may be superceeded by whom and how and when. This is what the “states rights” battle always hinges on. We know why the attitude of some that “we can do whatever we want”is desirable…for them! One country or 50? And who pays for a common good, what does common mean, what is a union, etc.? Very complex to word, but not so complex to see motives. The War Between the States continues. One might see this as a ligitamate position by a state if they also ban any exchange of monies, services, or protections between themselves and The United States of America. In other words sucession, again! At least the last time there was no hipocracy.

  3. David S. Cohen says:

    “The General Assembly further declares that acts which would cause such an abridgment include, but are not limited to . . . (5) any act regarding religion . . . .”

    So the next time Congress has a Christmas party or puts up a Christmas tree, South Carolina will declare that to have abridged the Constitution? I guess that’s fine by me!

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