The senators are working on resolutions asserting Nebraska's sovereignty under the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.
Nebraska wouldn't try to secede from the union under their proposals but would go on record objecting to federal laws that they say go beyond constitutional authority.
“My goal here is to shine light on the fact that the federal government is overstepping its bounds,” said State Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln. “We would be making a statement on behalf of Nebraska.”
The tension between states' rights and federal authority has been a repeated theme in U.S. history, starting with arguments among the founding fathers.
The struggle turned bloody when Southern states seceded, citing states' rights on the question of slavery, and the Civil War ensued.
Critics say the current measures amount to little more than political posturing — passing resolutions doesn't mean that states refuse to comply with federal law or send back federal funds that come with mandates.
State Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln said the proposals sound disturbingly similar to the states' rights arguments made in defense of racial segregation and laws blocking blacks from voting.
Anti-freedom advocates often try to tie liberty to unpopular subjects. This is like advocating against individual freedom because individual freedom has been used to argue for a right to murder. It's an idiotic and historically-inaccurate argument.
First of all, the anti-slavery movement started and prospered as a states'-rights movement. The federal government was pro-slavery, and the anti-slavery movement would have failed if it had relied on the federal government's support. The anti-slavery movement is tied to states' rights. The abolition of slavery started within the states.
Secondly, it should be obvious that arguing for the abolition of freedom because some people abuse their freedom is insane. Just because some people want their freedom to do bad things doesn't mean that everyone must have their freedom stripped away. In fact, the opposite is true. The fact that there are people who want to do bad things is the argument against centralization of power. Good ideas don't need to be forced on people. Only people who know that the ideas they support are bad want to force them on everyone. Advocates of good ideas merely advocate the goodness of those ideas.
Advocates against states' rights sound disturbingly similar to those who advocated for the internment of Japanese-Americans and supporters of the Dred Scott decision. Making a law national instead of state does not make the law more moral. In fact, it does the opposite.