Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Will Arizona voters choose sovereignty?

As Americans head to the polls for Election Day 2012, major media outlets are fixated on the changes that will occur in Washington, D.C. But state leaders across the West should focus their eyes elsewhere — specifically, on the results of an important ballot question now before Arizona voters. That’s because Arizona’s Proposition 120 has important implications for the federalist system of government with ramifications that are particularly powerful for Western states like Nevada. Its passage could well be the populist rallying cry that solidifies Westerners’ resolve against the land dominion of federal agencies. Proposition 120 has three components. First, it would declare that each state possesses full attributes of sovereignty on an equal footing with all other states. This “Equal Footing Doctrine” is rooted in U.S. constitutional law and is frequently referenced by Westerners who believe that congressional requirements for Western states to forever give the federal government right and title to much of the land within their borders are unconstitutional. Eastern states were never subject to these punitive conditions, say Westerners. Second, Proposition 120 would amend Arizona’s constitution to remove the disclaimer of interest in public lands that Congress, through the state’s Enabling Act, extorted from the state’s founders...more

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