Paul Jacob

State Senator Randy Brogdon is running for the position of Oklahoma governor. A principled, issues-oriented candidate, he naturally has big plans for his state. But one of his most interesting ambitions is this: To join the elite ranks of governors Phil Bredesen (Tennessee) and Sarah Palin (Alaska), who are gubernatorial signatories to their state’s resolutions asserting state sovereignty.

Brogdon was one of the major players in Oklahoma’s senate backing of House Concurrent Resolution 1028, in May. He had previously supported a similar measure, with teeth, which the state’s governor had vetoed. The current resolution requires no further signature; it has already been sent to the U.S. president and Congress.

But from what I can tell Brogdon would like to put his John Hancock on such a declaration.

After all, Governor Palin made big news by signing her state’s resolution. Precisely what her signature signified became yet one more datum to dwell on after she had signed her own resignation. But the real significance of Alaska’s resolution is the same as in Tennessee and Oklahoma and the other states that have passed sovereignty resolutions:

Something is changing in our political culture.

All these resolutions have passed state legislatures. It’s not just lone “whacko” governors doing the deed. Deliberative bodies have decided these measures. Something big may be afoot.

What is it?

Opposition to bigness and “limitlessness” in the federal government.

Randy Brogdon expressed the idea well enough. He said that Oklahoma is telling folks in Washington, DC, “loud and clear to end all federal mandates that are beyond the scope of powers specifically outlined in the Constitution.” He specifically mentioned the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind and some provisions of Homeland Security as federal usurpations of state powers.

It all comes down to the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It is upon this provision that these state sovereignty resolutions rest. This drive has been dubbed the Tenth Amendment Movement.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.