US House of Representatives (Dist. 25-Texas) Candidate Wes Riddle on Interstate Compacts, Immigration and the EPA

1. Interstate Compacts (objective: shield state regulatory autonomy from federal interference, e.g., ObamaCare, EPA environmental meddling, etc.) What is the candidate’s position on interstate compacts?

Interstate Compacts represent one [of six] important strategies available to Texas, in order to effectively redress the Federal Government’s overreach into areas properly reserved to the States. The strategies should enable us to reclaim the Constitution and to halt transformation now underway from a constitutional federal Republic to that of a consolidated national democratic welfare state.

Interstate compacts are an effective way to regulate areas of mutual concern among two or more states, such as health care reform. The Supreme Court has held that congressional consent to such compacts trumps prior federal law and may even subordinate federal agencies to the agencies created by the interstate compact. Congressional consent does not necessarily require presidential signature. The Supreme Court has also suggested that congressional consent may be inferred from acquiescence. Interstate compacts thus have enormous unexplored potential as a way of shielding areas of state authority from the concentration of power in Washington, and we ought to have an interstate compact to create an alternative state-based regulation of health care (to replace ObamaCare).

The other five strategies which the State must pursue are: 1) Constitutional amendment to balance the budget; 2) opting out of federal programs and federal funds that have strings attached; 3) federal lawsuits (especially aimed at ObamaCare and the EPA to seek relief from environmental actions); 4) federal legislation (amending the Administrative Procedures Act so the Supremacy Clause shall not apply to mere regulatory action against state law, as well as modifying rules of decision for federal courts to give the Tenth Amendment precedence and presumption), and, finally; selectively applied, 5) the doctrine of nullification or state interposition described by Madison and Jefferson in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolves.

2. Border security and immigration (legal and illegal). There is a tremendous amount of concern and anxiety among Texas citizens concerning illegal immigration, border transgressions and violence to include the cost to legal citizens to maintain illegal immigrants in this country.

The federal government (Article One, Section 8; US Constitution) is tasked to defend the borders. In reality, the Texas DPS is expending tremendous effort (at tremendous cost) to do the job the federal government is formally tasked to do. Consequently, many have suggested Texas submit the bill for its self defense to the federal government.

What is your position on border security and immigration as well as the idea of Texas billing the federal government for services rendered?

The United States is a union comprised of equal sovereigns. Moreover, the federal government and individual states are dual sovereigns in their respective orbits, their rights and powers equally inviolable and distinct, albeit complementary. While it is true that defense of national borders is a quintessential federal responsibility, it is also true that state borders are every bit as inviolate as the nation’s, whether they are coincident or not. Long before the federal government took control of immigration issues and control of borders in this respect, states controlled their own borders and processed immigrants. They did so at Ellis Island (New York) and at Galveston Island (Texas). States, therefore, should revisit the notion that defense of borders, as well as immigration control, is a shared responsibility. Malfeasance or negligence on the part of the federal government may in fact necessitate aggressive action on the part of the states to compensate or to address emerging emergency situations. Nonetheless, Texas should definitely submit its bill for self defense to the federal government for activities reasonably attributed to it and/or claimed by the federal government for exclusive jurisdiction where it also fails to enforce its own laws or take charge of said jurisdiction. Better yet, Texas should withhold the total sum from the federal government and just call it “Payroll Deduction.”

3. EPA transgressions upon Texas state sovereignty. In your opinion, should the federal Environmental Protection Agency have: (a) sole legal jurisdiction over Texas environmental management issues, or; (b) should this responsibility lie with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or; (c) should this be a shared jurisdiction? Explain.

Federal real property in Texas amounts to less than two percent, and we are fortunate in that respect compared to the many “Western” states where the Federal Government owns much larger percentages of total land area. Since Texas owns almost all of its land and what lies beneath that land in terms of energy and mineral wealth, the EPA has very little legal jurisdiction over Texas environmental management issues. Certainly none of it can be considered as “sole” jurisdiction. The preponderance of environmental management issues in the State of Texas belong to the property owners, private sector and regulatory agencies of the State of Texas, albeit in routine communication and coordination with respective federal agencies where the jurisdiction overlaps.

December 14, 2011

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