On July 5th, 2012 hundreds of thousands of signatures were stacked in boxes, row by row into the Secretary of State, Ken Bennett’s office. These signatures represent people in Arizona that agree the Checks and Balances initiative needs to be on this November’s election ballot.
The phrase “checks and balances” is as old as the American experiment itself. Almost 350 years ago, our forefathers and mothers came to America to escape tyranny. So deeply rooted was their belief in freedom they established a system that would protect the people and their fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In the two centuries that followed the Revolutionary War, the citizens of the United States ratified a Constitution which laid out the rights of the people and the relationship between the people and the government. Five states, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut first voted to ratify the Constitution. The remaining eight states initially rejected the Constitution because it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
The U.S. Constitution wasn’t ratified until an agreement was reached to amend the document to address the issue of the rights of the states. On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution–the Bill of Rights–and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Our forefathers and mothers understood then that without this provision that it would only be a matter of time before tyranny would rear its’ ugly head. While few Americans dispute the need for the federal government to provide for the national defense, a uniform system of civil rights, the right of suffrage, the necessity for balance between federal and state government is often lost or simply misunderstood.
This is why Arizona’s Checks and Balances in Government Initiative is so vital. For these reasons and many others, 320,000 Arizonans have put their names to the proposition that balance must be restored to the Republic. This initiative isn’t a move to secede from the Republic, but to return to the people of the state of Arizona the rights guaranteed them by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a right so treasured by our forefathers and mothers that the Constitution itself wasn’t ratified until it was amended to reflect that.