Our unique governing system was designed like a tug o’ war between state and national governments to provide the healthy tension between the two “as a double security to the rights of the people.” This system is called federalism. Together with the separation of powers between the three branches of government, these are the two fundamental pillars that secure our peace and our right to pursue prosperity. Like a tug o’ war, if nearly all the rope today is on the federal government side, it’s not the federal government’s fault that the states are not pulling their constitutional weight as the system requires. But, we can’t expect state and local leaders to do what they don’t know or have never been taught.
For this reason, on September 30, 2016, the Utah Commission on Federalism, which I chair, in connection with Utah Valley University’s Center for Constitutional Studies, released our jointly developed Curriculum on Federalism. The development of this federalism curriculum stems from the HB120 legislation I passed in 2014 to help state and local government attorneys, officials, and citizens in general understand and exercise their rights, powers, and duty to defend and maintain our unique constitutional system.
The six video modules of the federalism curriculum are taught by the top constitutional professors and scholars in the nation. They all make it very clear that federalism is not political, it’s a fundamental structural protection of our liberty. Here’s an example:
“[T]he American system of federalism is quite unusual in the world; in that it involves the counter intuitive idea that both the states and the national government have a kind of sovereign power or a limited kind of sovereign power. The idea of limited sovereign power is itself unusual. To divide up sovereign power between two governments is doubly unusual if you look at the ideas of sovereignty throughout history. But the American idea of federalism is basically, there’s one ultimate sovereign: that’s the people. The people delegate part of their sovereignty to two governments; the federal government, the national government, and the state governments. The purpose of this system, the overall purpose of this complex division of authority, is to set up a political competition between the two levels of government for a number of reasons. But the basic reason is to try to keep each government within its assigned roles through political competition.” – Prof. Robert Nagel, University of Colorado School of Law
Attorneys who take the courses will get free continuing legal educations credit. The course is also available for free to the general public. It is important that as citizens we know the rights, powers and duties of our elected representatives to defend and maintain our unparalleled constitutional system. Nothing we do in government is more important than first honoring the oath we take to defend and maintain our constitutional system.
The Declaration of Independence asserts that all governments in America “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed.” This means WE are the boss. However, in order to be treated like the boss, we have to act like the boss. To act like the boss, we have to know how the system is supposed to function and hire (elect) people who will vigorously defend and maintain our system, which was painstakingly designed “to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
I encourage you to take the Curriculum on Federalism courses. Share this curriculum with your friends and neighbors so they will have a better understanding of how to “act like the boss.” Most importantly, share this curriculum with the representatives you hire (elect) at all levels of government. It is critical that they know, that you know, that they now know, how our unique system was designed to function to secure your liberty, and what their constitutional duty is to make that happen.
How to Register:
- Click here to get started
- Enter your email and select “I am a new user.*”
- You will receive a Confirm Registration email from Instructure Canvas.
- Select “Click here to finish the registration process.”
- You will be redirected back to Canvas and asked to set up a password for your account and complete the registration process. Once registration is complete, you will have access to the course.
*Note: if you already have a Canvas login associated with your current email address, select “I already have a Free For Teachers login.” You will be able to login and complete registration for the course.
Successful completion of the curriculum requires:
- Completion of the demographic questionnaire
- Completion of all six video modules, including mandatory comprehension quizzes
- A printout or screenshot of the Federalism Curriculum Certificate of Completion
- Once finished, email a screenshot of your certificate to: email@example.com
Technical Support: For help with login and technical support, call 517-488-7222
I have worked tirelessly in our state and around the nation to restore the balance of constitutional power between the state and federal governments. As we see from the current national elections, there is so much more work that must be done.