Law & Principles

State legislators to feds: Don't tread on us

May 7, 2009

Brandon Dutcher

Bypassing the governor, Oklahoma's state legislators are telling the federal government: Don't tread on us.

This is entirely appropriate. As former OU law professor Herb Titus has written for OCPA, "To fulfill their unique dual constitutional responsibilities, state and local government officials have a duty not to serve as an agent of the federal government, but as an agent of the people of their respective states or political subdivisions. If the federal government mandates that state or local officials must implement a federal program authorized by the U.S. Constitution, then it is the constitutionally sworn duty of a state or local official not only to pass a resolution petitioning federal government authorities to 'cease and desist' from such a mandate, but to refuse to carry it out, funded or unfunded. Otherwise, the state and local officials would be violating their oath to the United States Constitution by aiding and abetting a violation of Article II, Sections 1, 2, and 3 which vest in the President and his appointees only the power to execute federal law."