'The hell with the feds': Utah reasserts state powers with 'Sovereignty Act’ to overrule federal government

Utah by is licensed under Canva
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - The Utah legislature passed the “Utah Constitutional Sovereignty Act” in late January, and on the 31st it was signed into law by Republican Governor Spencer Cox. The new law, which has garnered national media scrutiny, provides a legal framework for Utah officials to refuse the enforcement or assistance of federal government actions that violate the state's sovereignty.

According to the text of the bill, S.B. 57, "establishes a framework for the Legislature, by concurrent resolution, to prohibit the enforcement of a federal directive within the state by government officers if the Legislature determines the federal directive violates the principles of state sovereignty."

The bill can be acted upon if, it says, "A federal directive violates the principles of state sovereignty if the federal directive restricts or infringes upon: (a) a power or a right reserved to the state by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; or (b) the state's rights or interests to provide for the health, safety, and welfare and promote the prosperity of the state's inhabitants."

In a statement released with the signing, Cox explained, "Balancing power between state and federal sovereignty is an essential part of our constitutional system. This legislation gives us another way to push back on federal overreach and maintain that balance.”

Utah Republican Sen. Scott Sandall, the bill's sponsor, told CNN that he hopes other states will consider the adoption of similar bills. 
“I think any state should be looking at adopting this,” he told reporters. “Don’t you want a real organized way in your state to vet these things and look and say where the federal government is overreaching? No matter which party or which ideology you espouse, this could be helpful in any state, in my opinion.”

He framed the bill as a "process bill" as opposed to a "policy bill" in that it creates the process by which the legislature, through a concurrent resolution can enable the state to challenge federal actions. He told CNN, “Our attorneys have indicated to me that the process that’s in place is constitutional. It doesn’t have a constitutional (issue) simply because it’s a process. Any kind of resolution may or may not be deemed constitutional.”

The bill was reportedly inspired by a 2022 Act by the provincial parliament of Alberta, Canada which asserted its rights to push back against the country's federal government in Ottawa under controversial Premier Justin Trudeau. 

Critics of the bill, such as Democratic Gubernatorial hopeful Rep. Brian King, have suggested that any issues Utah may have with the federal government should be adjudicated exclusively in federal court and not the legislature. “I was and still am worried that the bill is going to be used as a political or partisan cudgel as opposed to a dispassionate and analytical tool,” he said.

Others have suggested that the bill runs afoul of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. However, recent challenges such as those from Texas previously reported by Law Enforcement Today are expected to breed further legal maneuvers by states that could reshape federalism.

For corrections or revisions, click here.
The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
Sign in to comment



Good article Matt. I wanted examples of arguments that Utah's law necessarily violates the supremacy clause. But, good tie-in to LET's Texas reporting. The tenth amendment, itself, "runs afoul" of the supremacy clause -- by design. The clause undeniably refers to the supremacy of the national government, but in the context of U.S. federalism: where the states that created the national government gave it only extremely specific and limited authority. So, under the U.S. Constitution, the national government does have supreme authority over the states -- but only regarding that specific and limited authority. (One example of the supreme authority is national defense, which the states expressly agreed, through the national Constitution, to reserve for only the national government.) Meanwhile, the socialists who now infest our national government clearly and always oppose U.S. federalism, fundamentally. They hate federalism -- its checks and balance -- because they hate and fear the liberty that federalism brings. Thus, they hiss the tautological myth that anything the national government does is necessarily legitimate -- because the national government did it. From this flawed foundation, the socialists then demand that the supremacy clause protects every action by the national government. However, the purpose of the national Constitution clearly belies that socialist lie.


If you really want to improve yourself and the good people of Utah you would get rid of The communist Romney he is dirty

Powered by LET CMS™ Comments

Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Law Enforcement Today, Privacy Policy