My Reply to Senator Curt Bramble Regarding the Constitution
The following is my reply to Senator Curt Bramble on The Senate Site regarding my concerns regarding the constitutionality of the current proposed legislation designed to provide Utah and the District of Columbia new seats in the US House of Representatives.
Dear Senator Bramble,
Thank you for that excellent response. I appreciate receiving all of that interesting background information. It really helps me to understand the mindset of our legislators going in to this special session. And, I find it reassuring that you are hearing both sides of the issue from legal counsel.
Further, as a former Boy Scout, I understand the value of "being prepared" for any eventuality. So, I do not fault either the Governor or the Legislature for wanting to draw-up and approve potential congressional districts "just in case."
However, I want to make the case to our state and federal leaders that there is actually a more pressing concern for which we need to be prepared:
Defending the Constitution
The current proposed legislation appears to be an attempt to achieve through federal action what had failed to be achieved through constitutional amendment. Thus, it actually weakens our system of federalism.
The amendment process gives each state a say in the matter through local legislatures that have closer ties to the people. The current proposal denies that the states have any say in the matter.
This is so, even though the proposal essentially puts the District of Columbia on the path of eventually receiving all the rights and privileges of statehood--a clear deviation from the original vision of the Constitution’s framers.
Additionally, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution declares that unless the federal government is given an explicit power in the Constitution, that power belongs to the states or the people. Thus, despite whatever court approved short-cuts have been taken in the past, it is the states that should actually be the ones making these kinds of major constitutional decisions.
In short, what I am saying is this:
You have described how you have been receiving mixed signals from primary sources in Washington. That is why it is all the more important for all of Utah's elected leaders, at both the state and federal level, to not give mixed signals themselves.
By approving new potential congressional districts, and then receiving a new seat early, we would be "approving" of this assault on the Constitution and federalism. Thus, we surrender the moral authority to defend states rights and strict constitutional interpretation.
I therefore urge our elected officials to use this special session to pass a resolution condemning the current proposal, and refusing to accept a new seat illegitimately. Such an action just might get someone's attention. It would be the talk of all the Sunday morning panel shows, and it could start an important national conversation that strengthens, rather than weakens, constitutional authority.
Nothing grants moral authority--credibility--more than a principled stance. Likewise, nothing undermines credibility more than being too opportunistic. We may outfox ourselves by being too prepared for the wrong thing.
Thank you again, Senator. I appreciate your time more than you know.
Dear Senator Bramble,
As to the question of my identity, I am just an anonymous Republican behind-the-scenes helper. If you need to contact me, Ric has my email address.
Thank you very much!