TESTING THE FAITH
Arizona makes secession preparations
State resolution creates 'insurance policy' against martial law
by Julie Foster
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
An Arizona state legislative committee has approved a resolution calling for
the dissolution of the federal government in the event that it abolishes the
U.S. Constitution, declares martial law or confiscates firearms -- scenarios
some say are not unrealistic. Critics of the resolution, however, call the
measure a "total waste of time."
Karen Johnson, Arizona state representative
Rep. Karen Johnson, a Mesa Republican and chair of the House Committee on
Federal Mandates and States' Rights, authored the resolution which the
committee approved 3-2. Only the committee's vice-chair, Republican Rep.
Gail Griffin, abstained from voting.
Specifically, House Concurrent Resolution 2034 outlines the origin of the
United States, emphasizing the sovereignty of the states and their
constitutional right to "establish a new federal government for themselves
by following the precedent established by Article VII, Constitution of the
United States, in which nine of the existing thirteen states dissolved the
existing Union under the Articles of Confederation and automatically
superceded the Articles."
It also articulates constitutional violations committed by the federal
government as justification for the measure, saying "... the fifty current
principals, or signatories, to the [Constitution] have done well in honoring
and obeying it, yet the federal agent has, for decades, violated it in both
word and spirit. The many violations of the Constitution of the United
States by the federal government include disposing of federal property
without the approval of Congress, usurping jurisdiction from the states in
such matters as abortion and firearms rights and seeking control of public
lands within state borders," says the resolution.
By adopting HRC 2034, Arizona states its intention to dissolve the current
federal government with the approval of 34 other states and, in essence,
start over. Participating states would re-ratify and re-establish the
present Constitution "as the charter for the formation of a new federal
government, to be followed by the election of a new Congress and President
and the reorganization of a new judiciary," in keeping with the original
intent of the "founding fathers." Individual members of the military will
return to their respective states and report to the governor until a new
president is elected.
In addition, each state will assume a prorated portion of the national debt
and will own all land within its borders. After the new government is
formed, the remaining 15 states will be permitted to join the revised union
upon application, as was the case with the original union.
A three-year veteran to the Arizona Legislature, Johnson told the Sierra
Times the resolution is "insurance policy."
"If the federal government declares martial law or attempts to confiscate
guns, the states shouldn't have to put up with that," she said.
Joseph Stumph, well-known author and historian, testified in favor of the
resolution at the hearing.
"We're proposing that if things get as bad as they could get, that these
states won't allow the federal government to put us into a one-world
government," said Stumph, who is publishing a similar proposal in his home
state of Utah. "I don't expect we'll get 35 states to sign on. The American
people are not educated enough on this yet," he added.
The resolution was introduced Jan. 26, and now needs to be approved by the
Arizona House. Should HRC 2034 successfully complete the legislative
process, it will appear on the November ballot for voter approval. But one
legislator does not think the measure will be taken seriously.
Rep. Bill Brotherton, a Democrat member of Johnson's committee, called
efforts to promote the bill a "total waste of time."
"Obviously ... one of the more important issues we have is mental health in
this state," Brotherton said mockingly. "I wonder if we are going to have a
bill on the grassy knoll next to decide who shot Kennedy."
Johnson said she was asked by several Maricopa County residents to look into
preventing the federal government from asserting power not authorized by the
federal and state Constitutions. To Johnson, the resolution is a watered
down, limited version of the "Ultimatum Resolution," written and promoted by
Johnson said HRC 2034 was introduced in response to recent actions by the
Clinton administration regarding the Grand Canyon. On a recent trip to the
landmark, President Clinton declared three new national monuments,
threatening the property and livelihood of ranchers in the region.
Fears of martial law and firearm confiscation are mere "conspiracy theories"
to some, but in light of the elaborate preparations government made for
potential Y2K problems -- including a ready-to-sign executive order giving
Clinton the equivalent of dictatorial powers -- "these fears have become
real possibilities," according to Johnson.
Johnson also made it clear that the action of possible secession should only
take place if the federal government suspends or violates the Constitution
without approval from the state.
"There may be times when the nation may be at war, and such steps may need
to be taken. But the states should have a backup plan if necessary," she
Arizona is not alone in its fears. Johnson noted other legislators in other
states are considering taking similar steps.
Despite her current success with HRC 2034, Johnson is not relying solely on
non-binding resolutions to ensure state sovereignty. She has been joined by
a coalition of six other Arizona state representatives, private ranchers and
other states' legislators in a lawsuit filed against the federal government.
The lawsuit is an attempt to reverse creation of the Grand Canyon-Parashant
National Monument, which covers more than 1 million acres of land, roughly
the same amount as Grand Canyon National Park. The group says national
monument status will affect use and access to its private property, which
will be surrounded by the federal property.
It also asks the court to find the 1906 Antiquities Act, used to create the
Parashant monument, unconstitutional. The coalition's lawyer claims the
president "has taken the act to the point of actually abusing the rights of
people in the West."
The act gives presidents emergency authority to protect threatened federal
lands or "objects of historic and scientific interest," but lawyer Lana
Marcussen said that in using the act for a non-emergency case, the president
has gone too far.
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