Legislation

In 2017, Representative Cecil Bell filed the Texas Sovereignty Act in the Texas House and Senator Brandon Creighton filed it in the Texas Senate.

In the House in the 85th Legislature, the Texas Sovereignty Act was known as HB 2338.  In the Texas Senate, the companion bill  was known as SB 2015.  The bill gained 5 joint authors and 8 co-authors.  It passed out of committee in the House and died in Calendars.

Summary of HB 2338 - Texas Sovereignty Act

Basic Approach

Provide streamlined approach for the Texas legislature to formally declare that specific acts of the federal government are unconstitutional.  Creates a standing legislative committee to review federal actions for constitutionality.  The full legislature votes on declared unconstitutional acts and the governor reviews.  Federal actions subject to Texas review are legislation, regulations, executive orders, federal judicial orders or decisions, and treaty enforcement.

Once an act is declared unconstitutional, law enforcement can arrest and prosecute federal agents who attempt enforcement action under the color of declared unconstitutional acts under the Texas penal code, including explicitly, the Texas Official Oppression Act (Texas Penal Code 39.03).  While maintaining the ability of local district and county attorneys to prosecute, the attorney general is also given prosecutorial power to prosecute federal agents if a federal act has been declared unconstitutional.

Details 

  • Explicitly states that this bill does not prohibit a public officer who has taken the oath from interposing to stop acts of the federal government which in the officer’s best understanding and judgment, violate the Constitution.
  • Includes canons of construction guiding the analysis of the constitutionality of federal acts. The canons urge reliance on the text and structure of the Constitution and in cases of ambiguity, on sources that evidence original intent.
  • Allows Texas citizens to seek an opinion about the constitutionality of a federal action in a Texas court.

Rationale

Our state and nation are dying because the federal government is violating the Constitution every day in many ways – and no one is stopping them.  The feds will never limit their own power.  Texans must honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, and stop federal action in Texas that violates the Constitution.  This requires the exercise of independent judgment about constitutional meaning, rejecting the notion that the federal judiciary is the sole or final arbiter of constitutional meaning.

This approach relies completely on Texans and Texas officials to secure the liberty of Texans, and can be implemented immediately.  No relying upon, or waiting on other states to secure our liberty.

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