“Something wicked this way comes.” A toast to Chief Counsel Katherine Robertson’s vision for a free Alabama

By Sam McLure
Alabama Political Reporter

On the last Wednesday of March, 2017, one of the best legal minds in the State of Alabama was appointed as Chief Counsel to the Alabama Attorney General. Given that Chief Robertson has been an attorney for less than seven years, lauding her as “one of the best legal minds in the State of Alabama,” may seem like a bit of an overstatement.

Well, buckle your seat belt – that’s a statement I’m about to defend.

First, this toast is not because Chief Robertson graduated from one of the highest ranked law schools in the country. Nor does it flow from the fact that her very first job as an attorney was with the U.S. Department of Justice, then as U.S. Senator Jeff Session’s own legislative counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Nor does this praise spring from being hand picked by A.G. Jeff Sessions to go to Washington and guide him through the process of confirmation.

No, none of these noteworthy accomplishments merit this toast. Chief Robertson stands out as one of the best legal minds in Alabama because of her work on a little known report entitled, Selling our Sovereignty: Alabama’s Federal Dependency, released on October 27, 2016.

Selling our Sovereignty, or S.O.S. for short, is the first scholarly article of its kind to support the hunch that many Constitutional and political watchdogs have had for years – the Federal Government is using the carrot to bribe the States into ceding more and more of their sovereignty; a sovereignty that is necessary for a balanced American government.

Let me break it down a little more. When the 13 original “colonies” revolted from England, they realized that they needed to band together for the common good. These 13 “colonies,” were sovereign States that were more akin to Sweden, Switzerland, or Moldova today. The greatest evil in their mind was the centralization and consolidation of power across the pond – the English monarchy.

So, when they decided to create a “federal” covering, they were very careful to put in place a restraint on the amount of power this federal covering could possess, vis-a- vis the individual sovereign states.

Enter the 10th Amendment. With it, the 13 sovereign states rested a little easier that everything they had fought and sacrificed for – that their friends and family had died for – would not grow into an evil worse than that which they just cast off. With a modicum of continued reverence for the 10th Amendment, the Federal Government still restrains itself from a wide application of using “the stick” to control the states; rather it prefers to use “the carrot.”

The Carrot

In the 1962 novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, author Ray Bradbury tells the story of a carnival, led by Mr. Dark, that comes to a small town. Mr. Dark and his carnival hold the allure of being able to grant the townsfolk their every secret wish. As the story progresses, the townsfolk realize the grave cost of being snared in Mr. Dark’s sinister web.

I have written much and often regarding the great perils of Alabama’s heroin-like addiction to Federal money: The Man Who Wears Underwear on His Head, Two Kinds of Republicans, and What Would it Take For You to Switch Political Parties?. Thus, I will not exert much more effort on the topic here, except to say, if Alabama wishes to exert it’s values in any sphere of society, it must learn the lessons that Bradbury’s 13 year-old protagonists, Jim and Will, learned from the deceitful Mr. Dark.

Conservatives may be lulled into forgetting the great evils of Federal Government overreach during this perceived respite under the Trump administration. However, we must be warned: will something more or less extreme than Obama come after Trump? Most likely, the next President will be a Democrat from the vein of Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey … or something worse. They will seek to use the carrot to force the States to comply with a federally- mandated homosexual agenda, a pro-abortion agenda, and a God-hating educational agenda.

How will Alabama respond when the Federal Government says, “We’ll take away your funding if you don’t comply?” If we work now to rid ourselves of this addiction to Federal Government money, we may have the fortitude to tell the Federal Government to take a hike.

Jenga Pin

Jenga is a children’s game where small wooden blocks are stacked to a height of about 1 foot. Each player in-turn pulls out a block. The game ends when the particular block is pulled that causes the whole tower to crumble.

The Federal Government’s use of the carrot to control the states is a Jenga pin of disfunction in society. It affects education, criminal justice, abortion, health care, and privacy. The rabbit-hole is deep and Chief Robertson proves to be a faithful guide.

Chief Robertson recommends that, “Alabama’s leaders should begin … to approach federal aid with a heightened sense of skepticism and to identify opportunities (big or small) for our state to maintain or regain its authority over various programs. At the very least, a deeper understanding of the degree to which we sell our sovereignty and the ramifications of our state’s federal dependency is necessary to advance sound policymaking at the state level.”

Obama’s Transgender School Policy

Robertson tipped her hand before the release of the report, on May 16, 2016, with an article entitled, Alabama’s Shrinking Sovereignty: [https://www.alabamapolicy.org/alabamas-shrinking- sovereignty/]

“On Friday, the omnipotent U.S. Department of Education threatened to pull federal funding from public school districts that refuse to fall in line over transgender bathrooms. Many school districts will submit, knowing that they cannot afford to jeopardize their federal cash flow. …

“Will we continue to carelessly sell our sovereignty—and, with it, our values—to the federal government? Or will we begin to take seriously Chief Justice John Robert’s admonishment when he said, writing for the majority of the Supreme Court: ‘In the typical case, we look to States to defend their prerogatives by adopting ‘the simple expedient of not yielding’ to federal blandishments when they do not want to embrace the federal policies as their own. The States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it.’”

What could Robertson’s ascension to Chief Counsel mean for the State of Alabama?

Bills which seek to court Federal money may be opposed by the Office of the Attorney General.

It could mean that bills like HB97/SB153, a Data Collection Bill, sponsored by Sen. Singleton, which seeks to establish an Orwellian state by collecting data on Alabama citizens from kindergarten all the way through the life … it may mean that bills like this will no longer have a welcome mat in the Alabama legislature. It was only after 30 minutes of debate in the House Education Committee that light was shed on the fact that the Federal Government has been bribing the States, 47 in all, into collecting data on its citizens.

It could mean that bills like HB277/SB236, sponsored by Sen. Cam Ward, which seeks to limit the religious liberty of churches, in order to have more licensed day care facilities, to access more federal money, will not be tolerated.

According to Deborah Love, Executive Director of Eagle Forum of Alabama and 20-plus other concerned citizens, HB277 is appalling:

“Dollars are flowing from the federal government in support of licensed daycare facilities. The more that are licensed, the more money. With federal dollars come federal control.”

“As the fiscal note for the HB277 shows the financial support for this regulation comes from the Federal government.”

2) It could mean that lobbying groups which are in the business pushing legislation which drive us deeper into dependence on Federal Government money – groups which contribute more to State Legislative campaigns than any other entities – it could mean these types of lobbying groups will be watched like a hawk for ethics violations … and ubiquitously prosecuted for violations. []

3) It could mean the Attorney General spearheads a Federal Funding Accountability Task Force which investigates and evaluates all federal money flowing into the State. A similar protocol was introduced by Governor Mike Pence of Indiana. Chief Robertson’s report explains:

“In the Hoosier State, Governor Mike Pence created the ‘Office of State-Based Initiatives’ in an effort to impose additional oversight and accountability on agencies receiving federal funds. The goal of the office … is to ‘contribute to Indiana’s continued fiscal health’ by ‘working with agencies to push back against onerous regulations that often accompany the return of federal dollars to Indiana.’ The office is charged with reviewing the state’s federal grant opportunities and giving approval for any agency to seek a federal grant. The office also ‘subject[s] each grant to a cost-benefit analysis’ that ‘measure[s] the grant’s fiscal and regulatory impact.’ During the 2015 fiscal year, the office focused its analysis of grants to determine if the state should consolidate programs, seek more federal waivers, or discontinue certain programs altogether. The Pence Administration encourages other states to set up a similar office to help establish ‘the necessary coalition of states to assert state authority and make it easier for governors and state legislatures to run their states.’” (footnotes omitted)

Alabama Is Not Free

Alabama is the third most dependent state on federal money. We are the third most enslaved state. We have 8.4 billion reasons not to break our addiction.

The fact is that Alabama is not free. We live in the shackles of a tyrannical Federal Government. This tyranny extends to almost corner of our lives. If we wish to live as free Alabamians, we must fight for freedom from this addiction to federal money. Federal money is a heroine addiction. Alabama’s path to freedom passes through the pain of detoxing from addiction to Federal Government money. We must stop being dependent on a system that enslaves.

In 1959, just three years before the Supreme Court of the United States decided Engel v. Vitale, would the people of Alabama been able to imagine that the Federal Government would take away their right to pray to the Supreme Creator in Alabama’s public schools? In 1970, just three years before the Supreme Court of the United States decided Roe v. Wade, would the people of Alabama been able to imagine that Federal Government would take away the right to protect the most vulnerable? In 2009, just three years before the Supreme Court of the United States decided National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, would the people of Alabama been able to imagine that the Federal Government would take away their right to control their healthcare? In 2012, just three years before Obergefell v. Hodges, would you have imagined that the Federal Government would order a freely elected Alabama judge to perform homosexual marriage?

Try with me, now, to imagine what atrocity will befall us in the next years … if not in the Trump administration, then in the years that follow? Will the Federal Government tell the citizens of Alabama that their preachers may not speak the plain truth of the Bible’s message on homosexuality? What would stop the Federal Government?

Every freedom-loving citizen of Alabama needs to read Robertson’s report, Selling our Sovereignty: Alabama’s Federal Dependency. Alabama’s freedom has no friend in the man or woman who seeks to strengthen the Federal Government’s shackles on the State of Alabama, through deeper dependence on Federal money.

This toast is for Chief Robertson’s vision of a better Alabama, a freer Alabama, an Alabama that does not sell its own sovereignty.

At the base of Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, the Castle which Robert the Bruce scaled by night to usurp the English tyrants, is a monument with the inscription, “A True Scotsman Gives Up His Freedom, Only At The Cost Of His Life.” May the same be true of Alabama. May the same be true of Alabama citizens.

May we be able to say together, “A true Alabamian gives up his freedoms, only at the cost of his life.”

 

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