The Last Stand: The Fight of State Attorneys General to Preserve Federalism
Hans von Spakovsky /
On Thursday, September 12, the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation along with the State Government Leadership Foundation is hosting four state attorneys general—Scott Pruitt (Oklahoma), Derek Schmidt (Kansas), Luther Strange (Alabama), and Alan Wilson (South Carolina)—in the first of a seven-event Preserve the Constitution series.
The moderator will be Fred Barnes, executive editor of the Weekly Standard, who in a recent article profiled many of the principled state AGs who are fighting to reinvigorate the federalism that forms the basis of our constitutional republic and protects our liberty and freedom.
As Barnes outlined:
They’re committed to limiting Washington to powers prescribed in the Constitution. They oppose overreaching by Congress, regulatory agencies, federal bureaucrats, and the executive branch…and are eager to rejuvenate the Tenth Amendment as a check on the scope of federal power.
The Framers of the Constitution designed a federal republic in which a central government with strictly limited powers was balanced by state governments with plenary powers. The past 100 years have seen an exponential growth in the size and power of the central government—often at the expense of state sovereignty. This growth has accelerated under the current Administration, imposing massive, uncompensated costs on states. Some question whether the national government can be brought back within constitutional bounds.
But these four state AGs, along with a number of others, are fighting back by vigorously contesting the national government’s invasion of state sovereignty in legal fights involving energy, health care, the environment, voting and elections, religious liberty, labor relations, and financial transactions. As General Pruitt has said, when the federal government exceeds its authority, “who else but a state attorney general is in a position to respond?” That is one reason why General Schmidt joined with other AGs to support South Carolina’s fight against the National Labor Relations Board over a new Boeing plant. According to General Wilson, “Being silent and doing nothing is never the right answer [since] what happens in one state can happen in another.” And they are coordinating their activities: “We have a network and we’re always on alert,” says General Strange.
We expect a dynamic and robust discussion of the Constitution, federalism, the threats posed by the federal government to our liberty and economic well-being, and the efforts of state AGs to return us to a principled republic that protects freedom while giving every American the opportunity to succeed. The event will start at noon on September 12 and will be available for online viewing for those who cannot attend in person.