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Horowitz: What conservatives must do following the FBI raid on Trump

Op-ed
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Watch out, Democrats, Republicans are about to take over the House. And if we are still free by next January, they will hold hearings and send fundraising emails on how they can’t do anything meaningful to restore democracy until they win the next election in 2025. Or will this time be different?

Watching all the GOP leaders foam at the mouth and sputter with anger over the FBI raid of Trump’s home is hilarious. For the same reason Democrats didn’t feel deterred from taking this action in the first place, they will go undeterred for the next one, which is why the FBI followed up the next day with seizing the phone of Rep. Scott Perry. The GOP simply refuses to do what it takes to harness national attention on the issues that matter and induce an inflection point in society. Not only do they decline to hold up must-pass bills, but they have consistently worked with Democrats on numerous other bills to forge Biden’s legacy for free.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell initially didn’t even make a statement regarding the unprecedented raid and awkwardly declined to comment when first questioned about it. Only later on Tuesday did he meekly call for an explanation for the raid. Presumably, he still thinks Ukraine is the most important issue. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to subpoena AG Merrick Garland next year when, seemingly, Republicans win back the House.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise promised to hold the FBI accountable next year.

But how is this going to change anything? We can’t wait until then to restore democracy, and hearings, while useful, will not be a big-enough blunt instrument to arrest the onslaught against human rights. Talk is cheap. Enough about hearings, fundraising emails, and obsessively focusing on the next election. Here are steps that must be taken immediately to deter the federal police state:

States must block the FBI from political persecutions: Republicans like to direct our attention to the next federal election while obfuscating the fact that they already command supermajority control in 20 or so states. For the most part, the federal government is irremediably broken and will not be fixed with an election. States need to interpose against federal tyranny. State legislatures should convene emergency sessions and pass laws barring the FBI from operating within their states to investigate or apprehend political dissidents.

One such bill has been introduced in Oklahoma by state Senator Nathan Dahm. SB 1166, the “Prohibition on Political Prisoners in Oklahoma Act,” would prohibit the federal government from transporting through the state any January 6 prisoner not charged with a felony. Remember, this is not just about Trump. The Biden administration views Trump’s supporters as the #1 terrorist threat and will continue to target them for contrived or nebulous crimes motivated 100% by political persecution.

Creation of state guards: Florida recently created a state guard that cannot be federalized. Other states must follow suit and make it clear they will use the guard to confront any federal officials – be they FBI, DHS, ATF, or IRS – who prima facie target political opponents.

Sheriff’s posses: Connected to the previous point, we must begin declaring sanctuary counties in which sheriffs will work together with the citizenry to form citizen posse units. Their job will be to defend victims of federal persecution within the counties at a moment’s notice.

Block the fiscal year 2023 budget bill: Republicans aren’t even promising to block the budget bills to repeal the 87,000 IRS agents when they win back the House, much less doing so in September, but there is no time like the present. It’s time to force a national inflection point. Democrats still need 10 Senate Republicans to pass a budget bill. Republicans should hold up any budget bill until there are policy riders prohibiting the use of funding for political persecutions, the hiring of new IRS agents, the funding of Pfizer and Moderna, and any COVID mandate.

Slash the budgets of the FBI and ATF: Rather than just holding hearings, Republicans must pledge next year to pass a budget bill slashing the budgets of these rogue agencies and channeling those reduced funds to a very narrow purview of dealing with career violent felons and Islamic terrorists, for example.

In other words, we need a synergistic response from Republicans at both the state and federal levels. In a perfect world, the GOP governors would hold a joint press conference and discuss the trend of FBI raids on ordinary citizens – not just Trump – simply for holding different political views from the regime’s. They would commit to working together to interpose against the federal tyranny, rather than just campaigning on it.

The federal government doesn’t have the authority to violate due process and human rights, as we’ve witnessed for the past two years of COVID fascism. No, we don’t need merely to win federal elections in order to undo that tyranny; states can stop it in its tracks now. The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Art. VI, Cl. 2) states that the “Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land,” but only when exercising power “in pursuance” of its Constitution authority.

St. George Tucker explains this clause in his commentaries to clearly infer that “a law not limited to those objects, or not made pursuant to the constitution, would not be the supreme law of the land, but an act of usurpation, and consequently void.” Mind you, this clause was referring to legitimate laws passed by Congress. How much more so it would apply to arbitrary executive edicts.

The notion that we must wait for federal elections to fight back is absurd. Thomas Jefferson, in his Kentucky Resolution of 1798, noted that elections were only reserved as the tool to redress grievances of federal policies within their delegated authority. “That in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the general government being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy,” writes Jefferson. What if the feds clearly abuse their authority by monitoring, surveilling, and arresting people for political crimes or by making them wear masks on their faces?

“But where powers are assumed which have not been delegated a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every state has a natural right, in cases not within the compact [casus non foederis] to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.”

It’s time for the governors to stand up and teach the Biden administration about the natural right of states to govern most non-foreign-policy issues. We don’t need to wait until 2025 to restore human rights and the rule of law. We live in extraordinary times and face unparalleled threats to our liberty, which require an unprecedented response. If Republicans will just hold hearings and fundraisers, they as may as well combat domestic fascism by sending more money to Ukraine, a move Mitch McConnell would be all too eager to embrace.
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