There has been much buzz lately about the possibility of a proposed Repeal Amendment that Speaker Howell has co-patrons in the Virginia General Assembly. (HJR 542) The problem it wishes to address is the over reaching power of the federal government is a real problem, but this amendment is not the right answer.
I came to this conclusion for a couple of reasons. First, not all conservatives are on board with this, Del. Bob Marshall who sponsored the Va Health Care Freedom bill last year wrote this op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch were he sited:
The Repeal Amendment, which surfaced in The Wall Street Journal, and a similar version unveiled at the Tea Party convention both speak of repealing federal “law,” not simply statutes or treaties. Article VI of our U.S. Constitution states: “This Constitution and the laws of the United States . . . and all Treaties shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” Our Constitution, ordinary statutes, and treaties are all defined as “law” according to our Constitution.
Repeal Amendment advocates want the p ower to “repeal any provision of law” now on the books or passed in the future. If this amendment is passed by Congress and ratified by the states, then two-thirds of the states could repeal treaties, parts or all of our Constitution, military appropriations bills, Social Security, declarations of war, civil rights laws, and more
This statement only confirmed what I was thinking, as I wrote in a previous post. The “simple” amendment is also a vague amendment with no boundaries and seems to conflict with the Supremacy Clause. But seeking additional information I found this on the Tenth Amendment Center website about the repeal amendment.
First, the repeal process, outlined in the amendment, does not consider one of the fundamental
aspects of federalism our founders developed. It was a part of Article VI, Clause 2 and it was a necessary part for both vertical separations of powers and sound checks to work.
What about laws passed by the general government that are constitutional, based on the original meaning? If enough states can rise against constitutional laws they too can be overturned, whether passed
‘in Pursuance thereof’ or not. This amendment truly alters the vertical checks and balance provided under the original meaning. In theory this amendment could weaken the federal level to a point of it being little
more than it was under the Articles of Confederation.
This amendment, while well intended, is just not the right solution. If we are going to go to all this trouble to
amend the Constitution why not amendment it with something that will restore its power not revise it. A better solution would be to repeal the 17th amendment the way the 18th amendment (alcohol prohibition) was
repealed by adding an amendment repealing it.
Therefore, after considering all side to this issue, the Richmond Patriots will not support the efforts of this amendment and will encourage our legislators not to support it as well.
This is cross posted at RichmondPatriots.com