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New Jobs Bill Overrides States Rights

With the introduction of The American Jobs Act, Americans may soon witness a rerun of the Obama healthcare struggle. Much like its predecessor, president Obama’s newest bill contains certain provisions that would appear to benefit those who wrote the bill more than those for whom the bill was supposedly written.

For instance, buried deep, deep on page 133 of the bill, it states:

SEC. 376. FEDERAL AND STATE IMMUNITY.

(a)    Abrogation of State Immunity- A State shall not be immune under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution from a suit brought in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction for a violation of this Act.

Come again? Under the bill’s authority, states are not immune from federal prosecution if they violate the act. In the event this bill passes, it will override a state’s sovereign authority as defined and protected under the 11th amendment:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Odd that a bill that seeks to “create jobs” and one that concerns itself with things such as “payroll relief” and “teacher stabilization” can also override the 11th amendment.

It gets even better:

(A) WAIVER- A State’s receipt or use of Federal financial assistance for any program or activity of a State shall constitute a waiver of sovereign immunity, under the 11th Amendment to the Constitution or otherwise, to a suit brought by an employee or applicant for employment of that program or activity under this Act for a remedy authorized under Section 375(c) of this Act [emphasis added].

Any state that receives Federal assistance under the direction of bill automatically forfeits its sovereign immunity. Should an employe of the act seek federal prosecution, the state must abide.

They will literally make a Federal case out of it. The bill continues:

(2) EFFECTIVE DATE- With respect to a particular program or activity, paragraph (1) applies to conduct occurring on or after the day, after the date of enactment of this Act, on which a State first receives or uses Federal financial assistance for that program or activity.

c) Remedies Against State Officials- An official of a State may be sued in the official capacity of the official by any employee or applicant for employment who has complied with the applicable procedures of this Act, for relief that is authorized under this Act.

(d) Remedies Against the United States and the States- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, in an action or administrative proceeding against the United States or a State for a violation of this Act, remedies (including remedies at law and in equity) are available for the violation to the same extent as such remedies would be available against a non-governmental entity.

It would seem that The American Jobs Act was drafted in order to achieve statist goals rather than create jobs. The authority of individual states is all but thrown to the side.

Much like the healthcare struggle, provisions such as the ones mentioned in the above will incite a strong reaction. As well it should–the stakes are too high.

Dick Morris said it well when he wrote:

It is soft tyranny that requires us to sit by passively while our ethic of cultural assimilation is replaced by a permanent enshrining of diversity. It bids we let our rights to our own property, that we have worked for and acquired, be sublimated to government power disguised as human rights. It asks that we elevate the demand for equality over that for economic initiative and the incentives which propel them.

The American Jobs Act may or may not create jobs. It will, however, lessen and diminish the individuality of the states.

“Liberty once lost is lost forever,” John Adams said.

Read The American Jobs Act here.

Update: The original reporting of this story was not entirely fair. Since posting the article, it has been brought to the author’s attention that a stipulation that waives the 11th Amendment is neither uncommon nor is it sensational.

As pointed out by The Blaze’s Meredith Jessup:

[If] a state is allocated a certain amount of funds for a road project, the initial funding for the project is a debt incurred by the state to be reimbursed by the federal government. This is so the feds can enforce guarantees of debt. It also prevents states from hiring contractors and then refusing to pay. Without the waiver of the 11th, the contractor would have no legal standing to sue the state for non-payment since the federal government is the ultimate source of funds (see the 14th Amendment).

You can find similar language in other bills [such as] The Americans with Disabilities Act.

Essentially, an 11th amendment waiver prevents states from contracting workers and then refusing to pay. Although a waiver of this type does surrender the 11th, it is not an unheard of arrangement.

Therefore, while the claim that states lose their sovereignty if they accept any aid provided through this bill is factually correct, it is the belief of this author that the original story was an overreaction.