1997 Regular Session
By: Representative Reeves
House Concurrent Resolution 17
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION MEMORIALIZING THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO PROPOSE AND SUBMIT TO THE SEVERAL STATES AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES PROVIDING THAT NO COURT SHALL HAVE THE POWER TO LEVY OR INCREASE TAXES.
WHEREAS, in a five-to-four decision on April 18, 1990, the United States Supreme Court extended the power of the judicial branch of government beyond any defensible bounds; and
WHEREAS, in Missouri v. Jenkins (495 U.S. 33, 110 Sup. Ct. 1691 (1990)), the United States Supreme Court held that a federal court had the power to order an increase in state and local taxes; and
WHEREAS, this unprecedented decision by the court in Missouri v. Jenkins violates the fundamental tenet of separation of powers: that members of the federal judiciary, who serve for life and who are answerable to no one, should not have control over the power of the purse; and
WHEREAS, Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States vests with the legislative branch of government alone the extraordinary power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common defence and general Welfare of the United States"; and
WHEREAS, the courts' actions are an intrusion into a legitimate political debate over state spending priorities and not a response to a constitutional directive; and
WHEREAS, Justice Kennedy observed in his dissent in Missouri v. Jenkins that "this assertion of judicial power in one of the most sensitive of policy areas, that involving taxation, begins a process that over time could threaten fundamental alteration of the form of government our Constitution embodies"; and
WHEREAS, it is well established maxim that whosoever controls the purse strings ultimately controls power, the ability of government to function and the direction it shall go; and
WHEREAS, since 1990, when the Supreme Court declared in Missouri v. Jenkins that the federal courts have the authority and power to levy and increase taxes, Congress has chosen not to intercede on behalf of the people to protect the democratic process which has been corrupted by the unconstitutional authority and power to tax which the federal courts have exercised; and
WHEREAS, the time has come for the people of this great nation, and their duly elected representatives in state government, to reaffirm, in no uncertain terms, that the authority to tax under the Constitution of the United States is retained by the people who, by their consent alone, do delegate such power to tax explicitly to those duly elected representatives in the legislative branch of government who they choose, such representatives being directly responsible and accountable to those who have elected them:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, THE SENATE CONCURRING THEREIN, That application be hereby made pursuant to Article V of the United State Constitution for an amendment to the Constitution, which amendment shall read substantially as follows: "Neither the Supreme Court nor any inferior court of the United States shall have the power to instruct or order a state or political subdivision thereof, or an official of such state or political subdivision, to levy or increase taxes."
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That effective upon passage of this resolution, this petition shall constitute a continuing application in accordance with Article V of the Constitution of the United States.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this legislative body requests the legislatures of the several states comprising the Union to made similar application to Congress for the purpose of proposing such an amendment to the United States Constitution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That a duly attested copy of this resolution immediately be transmitted to the President and Vice President of the United States, to the Secretary of the United States Senate, to the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, to the presiding officer and minority party leader in each house of the legislature of the several states comprising the Union, and to each member of the Mississippi delegation to the United States Congress.