A letter from Hal Rounds dated February 18, 2013.
Dear Representative Matheny and Senator Beavers:
In reference to the letter of the North American Law Center disputing the Tennessee Office of Legal Services condemnation of your “Balance of Powers” Act, it is downright tragic to see that the legal services personnel available to the Tennessee Assembly are so deficient in Constitutional understanding. When it takes an outside, independent citizen’s agency to tell the members of our Assembly about our Constitution, we have a serious problem.
The Supremacy clause in the United States Constitution does limit the supremacy of the laws of congress to those that implement the powers delegated expressly to Congress. No other laws, based on vague or imagined powers, have the backing of the Constitution, and such laws are “void ab initio,” or void from their beginning. We can refer to cases such as “Printz v. U.S.” if recent authority recognized by the Supreme Court of the U.S. is sought. That case particularly forbids the federal government from demanding services from state agencies to support federal statutes or regulations.
So the North American Law Center is exactly correct in its analysis of the place of Constitutional supremacy – there is no supremacy when the law Congress makes – or the courts invent – is contrary to, or exceeds the powers in, the Constitution. The Balance of Powers Act does address only federal laws made that violate the Constitution. Such laws are without any force, and must be opposed.
The Balance of Powers Act provides a prudent and cautious legal process for evaluating whether a federal statute does fall outside the limited powers of the federal government allowed by the Constitution. This is the kind of approach a state must take, in order to preserve the governing structure invented with the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, when that structure is being eroded by the exact self-aggrandizing motives of those who envy power, and are in positions to guide the government beyond it limited charter. The founders anticipated this eternal problem with human nature, and preserved the substantial independent powers of the states in order to help protect Americans from it.
(Mr. Pidgeon did allow a typo to enter his letter: In both references to the Supremacy Clause, he identifies it as “Art. IV, Clause 2.” It is Article VI – the 6th, not the 4th Article.)
View the excellent letter from the North American Law Center here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/124786373/Tennessee-Rebuttal-to-Memorandum