AUGUSTA – State Rep. Rich Cebra has received clearance to submit a late-entry bill that would put Maine on record as lining up behind the 10 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The legislation is positioned as a joint resolution, modeled on one passed in Oklahoma in 2008. It would “demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”
It further states: “That all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal
funding be prohibited or repealed.”
The resolution by Rep. Cebra (R-Naples) is part of the so-called 10th Amendment movement, in which states are pushing back against unconstitutional federal laws and regulations. The guiding principle is known as “nullification.” It was recommended by many prominent founders who feared that the central government would grow larger and more intrusive over time.
When a state “nullifies” a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or “non-effective,” within the boundaries of that state. It is not a law as far as that state is concerned.
“The founding fathers understood human nature,” said Rep. Cebra. “They knew that the propensity of government is to grow and become more powerful, and eventually it would trample on state sovereignty. The powers given to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution are few and closely
defined. All others are reserved to the states or to the people.
“We now see that the federal government has become this behemoth-like creature that runs roughshod over states,” he added. “It is so enormous and unmanageable that it has piled up a $14 trillion national debt, which poses a direct and potentially dire threat to the well-being of all citizens. In this joint resolution, we are saying they have gone too far and it’s time to start reeling them back under control. After all, it was the states that created the federal government. We are the ultimate authority.
Non-binding resolutions, such as this one, do not carry the force of law. Instead, they are intended to be a statement of the legislature of the state to serve notice to the federal government to cease and
desist from all activities and legislation that exceeds the scope of their constitutionally delegated powers.
“I am under no illusions that this resolution, if it passes, will prompt the federal government to comply,” Rep. Cebra said. “If they actually went back and followed the Constitution, they would have to close down most of the federal departments and agencies. They are clearly unconstitutional. But as more and more states sign onto this 10th Amendment movement, eventually pressure will rise to a point where it can’t be ignored.”