The threat is only implied in more than two-dozen state sovereignty bills making the rounds in legislatures across the country, except for a New Hampshire bill where the authors didn’t hold back. Any law infringing on the state’s right to self govern would trigger the dissolution of the nation: “All powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution … shall revert to the several states individually.”
The S.C. House of Representatives has approved a resolution with the same state’s rights concerns (but omiting the dire consequences), and the Senate is expected to soon take up a similar resolution.
State Rep. Michael Pitts (R-Laurens), who authored the House bill, says that it’s not as much a threat to the Union as it is a “wake-up call.” Federal mandates have strained his patience, particularly those laws relating to gun control and the treatment of illegal immigrants. Threats aren’t necessary, he says.
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“If Washington doesn’t wake up and our economy keeps going the way it is going, I don’t think we’ll have to dissolve the union,” he says. “It won’t be able to stand.”
Political revolts against federal laws are nearly as old as the nation itself. From trading to slavery to civil rights, states have felt put-upon by Washington’s mandates. But it was a political standoff on Charleston’s shores in 1832 that framed the argument leading to the Civil War.