During the Obama years, states’ rights all but disappeared as he centralized government in Washington more than ever, but a new lawsuit filed by Tennessee could start turning things around.
President Trump has promised to work to keep the nation safe by halting the refugee program until a better vetting procedure could be put in place, but if Tennessee gets their way then there may not even be anywhere to bring refugees to begin with. The state filed a lawsuit based on the Tenth Amendment in which it argues the federal government can’t force them to take in foreigners if they don’t want to because they’re the ones who have to foot the bill.
If Tennessee wins, the lawsuit would be a game-changer in the entire refugee debate.
More from The Tennessean:
Tennessee became the first state in the nation on Monday to sue the federal government over refugee resettlement on the grounds of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of several state lawmakers Monday morning in the western district of Tennessee, alleges that the federal government has violated the 10th Amendment, which says the federal government possesses only the powers delegated to it by the U.S. Constitution and that all other powers are reserved for the states.
The charge that the federal government is not complying with the Refugee Act of 1980, based on the 10th Amendment, makes Tennessee’s lawsuit the first of its kind. Other states have sued the federal government over refugee resettlement but on different legal grounds.
The lawsuit argues that the federal government has unduly forced states to pay for the refugee resettlement program. The federal refugee act was designed to create a permanent procedure for the admission of refugees into the United States.
The lawsuit asks the court to force the federal government to stop resettling refugees in Tennessee until all costs associated with the settlement are incurred by the federal government.
“Plaintiffs will suffer significant and irreparable harm unless this Court intervenes,” the 15-page lawsuit states.
The defendants named in the lawsuit include the U.S. Department of State; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson; the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Of course, no commonsense move goes un-whined about by the left, and liberal groups were quick to condemn the measure.
“Not wanting to be outdone by the federal government, our legislature is proceeding with this extreme lawsuit in hopes of locking the door and throwing away the key,” said Stephanie Teatro, executive director of the immigrant rights coalition.
“Though this lawsuit is bound to fail in the courts, its very filing assures Tennessee’s place in a very dark chapter of our country’s history,” she said. “But just as the courts will dismiss this lawsuit, Tennesseans will also reject this betrayal of our values and demand real leadership from our elected leaders.”
Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU in Tennessee, said the state’s decision to sue is “not only very troubling, but unjust and wrong.”
Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are all on board with the lawsuit, and they argue that the feds can’t force states to implement federal programs without also funding them.
“The Constitution does not allow the Federal Government to force me as the elected representative of the 24th Senate District to implement federal programs while they sit in Washington insulated from the consequences,” State Sen. John Stevens said.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the court. If it’s brought before an honest panel of judges, rather than the activists put in place by Obama, Tennessee should have this one in the bag, considering that the Tenth Amendment explicitly states that any powers not specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people.