04.24.15

Senators Isakson, Perdue Co-Sponsor Legislation to Empower States to Challenge Federal Government Rules

Bill would restore the efficacy of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) week co-sponsored legislation this week to ensure state governments are empowered to challenge federal regulations that are constitutionally questionable or burdensome.

The Restoring the 10th Amendment Act, S.1045, sets up a framework that would provide states with legal standing and a legal framework for challenging unconstitutional federal regulations and executive orders before they go into effect.

“Considering the consistent overreach by the Obama administration, this is commonsense legislation to help ensure that the 10th Amendment to our Constitution isn’t just a suggestion, but the absolute law,” said Isakson. “Our country was built on keeping government close to the people by allowing them to make decisions at the state and local level, and the powers given to the federal government delineated in the Constitution are supposed to be minimal. This legislation would help return us to the framework laid out by the Founding Fathers.”

“Georgians are disgusted with Washington’s ridiculous overreach into every area of their lives. After six years of the Obama Administration ruling by executive order and regulatory overreach, we must empower our states with the opportunity to challenge egregious government overreach,” said Senator Perdue. “Protecting the 10th Amendment is an important step in fixing the Constitutional crisis our country faces.”

Previous rulings on the issue of a state suing the federal government by the Supreme Court have been inconsistent. In their ruling on Massachusetts v. EPA, the Court stated that congressional authorization to challenge a federal action is “of critical importance to the standing inquiry.” This legislation seeks to offer legislative guidance.

Under the Restoring the 10th Amendment Act, states could challenge a rule using the following steps:

  • State official submits legal brief to federal agency. The state official submits a legal brief to the relevant agency head challenging the rule (on 10th Amendment grounds) during the public commenting period.
  • Federal agency posts brief on its website. The agency must post the brief on the front page of the agency’s website so that it is immediately noticeable.
  • Federal agency gives notice to other states. Within 15 days after the state official submits the brief, the agency must give notice of the brief to designated officials for each state.
  • Federal agency certifies that the rule does not violate the 10th Amendment. Within 15 days after posting the brief, the agency head must certify in writing that the rule does not violate the 10th Amendment and provide the legal reasoning supporting its certification.
  • Agency posts certification on its website. The agency must post the certification on its website alongside the state’s legal brief.
  • State official may now file suit against the federal agency. The official may file in the district court where his/her place of business is located.
  • Courts shall grant expedited appeal upon request. Should the official file a notice of appeal, the appellate court shall grant expedited review of a decision.