Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam won’t act, and that removes the final hurdle standing in the way of the state’s long anticipated Tenth Amendment lawsuit against the federal government over the refugee resettlement program.
Haslam chose to allow Senate Joint Resolution 467, in which the Tennessee General Assembly declared its intention to file the Tenth Amendment lawsuit, to become effective immediately. Haslam, a Republican, had ten days after the resolution, which passed both the House and the Senate last month, was presented to him to veto it if he wanted to prevent it from going into effect.
“I am returning SJR 467 without my signature and am requesting that the Attorney General clarify whether the legislative branch actually has the authority to hire outside counsel to represent the state,” Haslam said in a statement provided to Breitbart News by a spokesperson in his office:
SJR 467 directs the Attorney General to initiate legal action regarding refugee placements and authorizes the General Assembly to hire outside counsel in the event the Attorney General does not pursue action in this case. I trust the Attorney General to determine whether the state has a claim in this case or in any other, and I have constitutional concerns about one branch of government telling another what to do.
“I also question whether seeking to dismantle the Refugee Act of 1980 is the proper course for our state,” Haslam added.
“Rather, I believe the best way to protect Tennesseans from terrorism is to take the steps outlined in my administration’s Public Safety Action Plan, which enhances our ability to analyze information for links to terrorist activity, creates a Cyber Security Advisory Council, restructures our office of Homeland Security, establishes school safety teams, and provides training for active shooter incidents and explosive device attacks,” Haslam concluded.
Backers of the resolution were pleased Haslam did not veto it, but also indicated his attempts to undermine the merits of the planned lawsuit in his statement were not well received.
“I hope the Attorney General [Herbert Slatery] understands the Tenth Amendment better than the Governor does,” an attorney familiar with the refugee resettlement program tells Breitbart News.
“By referencing the Refugee Act of 1980, rather than the statutorily questionabale Wilson-Fish alternative program, Gov. Haslam is ceding dominion to the federal government over the state of Tennessee and abandoning the Tenth Amendment. I would urge him to go back and read the Sebelius case,” the attorney concludes.
“In 2012 . . . in the now famous NFIB v. Sebelius case . . . the Supreme Court said [in its ruling] ‘a state cannot be compelled or coerced to participate in a feeral program for which it has chosen not to participate,’ ” State Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), the major sponsor of the resolution in the Senate, told Breitbart News in February.
State Sen. Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet), one of the main sponsors of the resolution in the Senate, tells Breitbart News Gov. Haslam did not veto the resoluion because “he can’t deny the problems the federal refuge resettlement program has created in Tennessee, with the refugees not being vetted and what it’s costing the state for the social programs.”
“I am grateful that Governor Haslam did not prevent SJR 467, a federal law suit regarding the Refugee Resettlement Program, from moving forward,” State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster), the lead sponsor of the resolution in the House, tells Breitbart News.
“We can now consider our next step. Many states are reading our actions,” Weaver adds.
“Certainly in light of today’s headlines concerning ‘bathroom policies’ in our public schools, it is most evident state sovereignty is a strong debate with legislators all across this nation,” Weaver adds.
“I encourage other states to link arms with Tennessee. Lets send a message to the the federal government that reads: ‘Your coercion and commandeering inside our parameters is not welcome! We are sovereign states and we are acting like it!’ ” Weaver concludes.