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Horowitz: North Dakota legislators introduce bill to block Biden’s illegal executive edicts

Op-ed

'All political power is inherent in the people'

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"All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people, and they have a right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require." ~Sec. 2, North Dakota Declaration of Rights

A group of North Dakota legislators have taken up the call for states to reassert control over the Constitution, as the Biden regime continues to rule by executive fiat, often promulgating unconstitutional orders infringing upon civil rights. This is the key to thwarting a wholesale slide into national despotism and ensuring that there are some places for Americans to go and enjoy the blessings of liberty. The question is whether leaders in those legislative chambers as well as Gov. Doug Burgum will pick up the mantle, not to mention Republicans in other states.

Recently, Rep. Tom Kading and eight other Republicans in the North Dakota House introduced HB 1164, which would task the attorney general with reviewing the constitutionality of the president's executive orders. If any of his orders are deemed to be unlawful, this bill would prohibit any state or county agency or publicly funded organization from enforcing the edict.

The list of issues covered under the bill are:

  1. Pandemics or other health emergencies.
  2. The regulation of natural resources, including coal and oil.
  3. The regulation of the agriculture industry.
  4. The use of land.
  5. The regulation of the financial sector as it relates to environmental, social, or governance standards.
  6. The regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Thus, an easy first candidate for such legislation is Biden's recent mask mandate, which unconstitutionally prohibits humans breathing without cloths on their mouths and noses inside any public transportation, including in-state ride-shares and taxis. The CDC created an entire criminal offense for something that never passed Congress.

What if Congress decides to pass a bill that is unconstitutional? HB 1282, introduced by Rep. Sebastian Ertelt, would take this a step farther by proposing a "Committee on Neutralization of Federal Laws" to recommend whether a given law or regulation is unconstitutional. Upon the recommendation of this committee, consisting of state legislative leadership and their appointees, the legislature would pass a concurrent resolution on whether to nullify the law or edict. Until the resolution is passed, state and county agencies would be prohibited from enforcing the law or regulation at issue.

These bills should serve as a model for all 31 GOP-controlled legislatures, especially in the 23 states where there are also Republican governors. I hear so many conservatives acting despondent and either resigned to tyranny or calling for secession or even a civil war. But the solution implied in these bills would keep the union loosely intact while peacefully maintaining a constitutional sanctuary for those who still value constitutional freedoms. This is the best way to peacefully and gradually separate blue and red America into their respective cultural, economic, and governing choices so we can live together more agreeably as a federal union.

North Dakota Republicans control the Senate 40-7 and the House 80-14. If this were a Democrat state passing a sanctuary bill for illegal aliens, the bill would pass in a day. Given that the rights of American citizens are on the line, Senate leaders Randy Burckhard and Rich Wardner should bring this bill to the Senate floor, and Speaker Kim Koppelman should bring the bill to the House floor immediately. North Dakota has an opportunity to lead the nation in liberty, if only all the Republicans in the state would govern the way they campaign.

Madison predicted in Federalist #46 that a federal encroachment would easily be mitigated by state action, because "the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand." What is the winning formula?

The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

In other words, public outrage, state and local officials refusing to enforce it, and correspondence with counterparts in other states together in unison would prevail over federal tyranny.

South Dakota already has a similar bill to HB 1164 targeting Biden's executive lawmaking. Rep. Aaron Aylward of Harrisburg, South Dakota, introduced HB 1194, which would set up an executive board to review the constitutionality of executive orders pertaining to the six issues laid out in the North Dakota legislation. With a 32-3 majority in the Senate and a 62-8 majority in the House, South Dakota Republicans have the strongest majorities since the Eisenhower era. The Dakotas, as well as many other parts of the country, can easily become constitutional sanctuaries.

Additionally, county commissions, prosecutors, and sheriffs should also seek to criminalize enforcement of unconstitutional edicts at the county level.

Let's be very clear: The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution subordinates states to follow only laws that are pursuant to the Constitution on issues that were given over to the federal government to determine. However, if the federal government blatantly violates the Constitution, especially in a way that harms individual liberty, even Alexander Hamilton, the great supporter of a powerful national government, said that states should ignore it. "It will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land," wrote Hamilton in Federalist #33. "These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such."

Well, if it was good enough for Hamilton, it should be good enough for states with strong Republican majorities in the legislature.

There is no doubt that Biden's presidency will take a bite out of our economy, especially with his cancelation of the international pipeline going through North Dakota. But if tyranny itself takes root and grows within the boundaries of these solid red states, then we as conservatives have nobody to blame but ourselves and our own complacency.

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