The following was an email we sent to each legislator in Utah last week.
I hope that by now you’ve had the time to read, or at least thumb through, the copy of Nullification you were recently sent. Whether or not you agree with all the points presented in the book, the compilation of historical examples, quotes, and sources provide a frighteningly relevant comparison to our own political climate.
I wanted to briefly share with you a quote which I think encapsulates your charges as legislators for the sovereign state of Utah. The following is from Governor Jonathan Trumbull, speaking to the state legislature in his state, Connecticut, in 1809:
Despairing of substantial relief from any other quarter, the people are now looking with anxious solicitude and hope, to the wisdom and direction of the Legislature of their own choice [their state legislature] ; and seem confident that some mode may be devised to remove the pressure under which they are at present suffering. To your collected wisdom and prudence they submit the task. And may it not be hoped, that, with our united efforts under a temperate, discreet and firm consideration of our situation and circumstances, we may be able by the influence of divine aid, to fulfil the just and reasonable expectations of our fellow citizens? Whenever our national legislature is led to overleap the prescribed bounds of their constitutional powers, on the State Legislatures, in great emergencies, devolves the arduous task—it is their right—it becomes their duty, to interpose their protecting shield between the right and liberty of the people, and the assumed power of the General Government.
This statement was made at the opening of a special session convened by Governor Trumbull to deal with an embargo enacted by President Thomas Jefferson. In addition to the above, he specifically declared that it would be “useful for the general good, if the State Legislatures were often to cast a watchful eye towards the general government, with a view, candidly to consider, and judiciously discern, whether the powers delegated to the United States are not exceeded, or are so exercised as to not interfere with or counteract those which are reserved by the people for their own management.”
Whether the subject be the TSA’s invasive screenings, the food bill which the U.S. Senate passed this morning, commercial regulation, health care mandates, or a host of other issues, it is readily apparent that a large number of situations exist in which the citizens of Utah “despair of relief”, looking to “the wisdom and direction” of you, our state legislators.
I submit the preceding quote for your consideration, in hopes that it will serve to emphasize the gravity of the issues that lay before us. I invite you to take the time to study the tools of interposition and nullification, and explore ways, leading up to our next general session in January, that you can demonstrate to your constituents, and Utahns as a whole, your commitment to holding up a “protecting shield between the right and liberty of the people, and the assumed power of the General Government.”
We at the Tenth Amendment Center stand ready to assist you in whatever way we can.
Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute. He is the author of Latter-day Liberty: A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics and Latter-day Responsibility: Choosing Liberty Through Personal Accountability.
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