Just a day after the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court published an op-ed arguing in favor of a “living constitution”, Missouri’s Senate may be voting to explicitly enshrine in that state’s constitution a rejection of the concept.
SJR 45 is a lengthy amendment that would, among other things:
- Prohibits the Missouri legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government from recognizing, enforcing, or acting in furtherance of any federal action that exceeds the powers delegated to the federal government.
- Provides the state’s courts shall not recognize, enforce, or act in furtherance of any federal actions that:
- restrict the right to bear arms
- legalize or fund abortions, or the destruction of any embryo from the zygote stage
- require the sale or trade of carbon credits or impose a tax on the release of carbon emissions
- involve certain health care issues
- mandate the recognition of same sex marriage or civil unions
- increase the punishment for a crime based on perpetrator’s thoughts or designate a crime as a hate crime
- interpret the establishment clause as creating a wall of separation between church and state
- restrict the right of parents or guardians to home school or enroll their children in a private or parochial school or restrict school curriculum.
- Requires state courts interpret the U.S. Constitution based on its language and the original intent of the signers of the Constitution. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution shall be interpreted based on their language and the intent of the congressional sponsor and co-sponsors of the amendment.
- “Any interpretation of the Constitution based on an emerging awareness, penumbras or shadows of the Constitution, a theory of the Constitution being a “living, breathing document”, or any interpretation that expands federal authority beyond the limited powers enumerated and delegated to the federal government, without an amendment to the Constitution, shall be deemed to exceed the limited powers enumerated and delegated to the federal government.”
- Declares that Missouri citizens have standing to enforce the provisions of the amendment in state court.
- Provides enforcement of the amendment applies to:
- federal actions taken after the amendment is approved by the voters
- federal actions specified in the amendment
- any federal action, regardless of when it occurred, that the general assembly or the Missouri Supreme Court determines to exceed the powers enumerated and delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution.
This is the third year in a row such a bill has been introduced.
In 2010, HJR 88 was approved by the Missouri House and made it to the Senate floor before dying due to adjournment.
The 2012 version was approved by the Senate General Laws Committee 4/3/12 and may be voted on as early as today (April 16).