Resolution Calling for the Creation of a National Federalism Task Force
Whereas, our unique governing system in the United States of America was designed to federate diverse States and people for vital national concerns, while preserving to the American people the benefits of self-government – efficient, effective, accountable government – which amplifies their governing voice.
Whereas, to accomplish this objective, the Framers designed a new hybrid form of government that was part “national” (called the federal government today) and part “federal” (a federation of the States), with clear divisions in the roles and responsibilities delegated to the national government and to the States. (Federalist 39).
Whereas, the Framers marveled at “the accuracy with which the line is drawn between the powers of the general government and those of the particular state governments,” observing “that the powers are as minutely enumerated as was possible.” (James Wilson, Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention).
Whereas, a clear division of governing responsibilities was essential to this new form of government to provide “a double security … to the rights of the people,” against overreach from either sphere, because “the different governments will control each other.” (James Madison, Federalist 51).
Whereas, Alexander Hamilton admonished that “This balance between the national and state governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people.” (New York Ratifying Convention, 1788).
Whereas, by all accounts, there is no clearly discernible division of roles and responsibilities between the general government and the States today. The governing partnership is more like two football teams lining up on the field for a healthy competition, only to look down and discover there are no lines on the field.
Whereas, an overwhelming percentage of Americans feel frustrated that government is not efficient, effective or accountable. They sense something wrong with our governing system and increasingly disengage from government because they feel their voice doesn’t matter anymore.
Whereas, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy warned of the consequences of allowing our system to atrophy: “The fragmentation of power produced by the structure of our Government is central to liberty, and when we destroy it, we place liberty at peril.” (NFIB v. Sebelius, 2012, dissent).
Whereas, divisions, limits, and balance in the various governing roles and responsibilities, and the self-governing engagement of the people, are essential to the preservation of our system. This singular system is the solution to securing the rights of the people to pursue their unique visions of happiness over such an expansive and diverse nation.
Whereas, in his Farewell Address, George Washington admonished all constitutionally oath-bound officers (U.S. Constitution, Article VI) that for us “to preserve [this system of reciprocal checks] must be as important as to institute them.”
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Legislature of the State of ___________, the concurrence of the Governor, call upon the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to coordinate in the creation of a National Federalism Task Force for the purposes of convening a series of Federalism Summits, to consider and concert plans for restoring and maintaining clearly discernible divisions in the roles and responsibilities of the national government and the States for the benefit and engagement of the American people.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT a copy of this Resolution be sent to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and to the Senate Presidents and Speakers of the House of the States, and to the chairs of the federalism or federal-state relations committees of the States.