On Thursday afternoon, the New Hampshire House of Representatives killed the legislation that sought to allow the voters to determine whether the State should remain in the union. Since the public hearing for CACR32 in January, many citizens have been asking the legislature to allow them to vote on an important question on which the people have not had any input since the constitution was ratified by a few politicians some 245 years ago.
In order to pass into law and amend the NH constitution by adding an official declaration of Independence to it, the legislation would need the support of 60% of the House, 60% of the Senate, and once on the ballot in November, 67% of the voters. Without two-thirds of all NH voters supporting the measure, NH would not leave the union. Many legislators seemed to fear that if the voters were allowed to vote on independence, over two-thirds would do so, which would detach NH from DC. So, many legislators did everything in their power to kill the bill as quickly as possible and with as little debate as possible.
Not one anti-independence legislator has ever agreed to debate the question of NH Independence. If they believe in their cause so strongly, why are they afraid to publicly defend their stance? Only one individual that we know of in NH did publicly debate against independence. A few months later, he was so convinced that independence was the right thing for NH that he spent hours on the phone with legislators the night before the House vote asking them to support CACR32.
The anti-liberty legislators knew that independence had a large amount of support among people and legislators. So, they utilized all the tools at their disposal to ensure that no legislators could vote in favor of the legislation, even if some of those methods are legally questionable.
According to Article 30 of the New Hampshire Constitution:
“[Art.] 30. [Freedom of Speech.] The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in either House of the Legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any action, complaint, or prosecution, in any other Court or place whatsoever.”
The New Hampshire Constitution – the highest law of our State is clear: legislators enjoy complete freedom of speech to propose and support any legislation they desire and in regards to their capacities as legislators, they can never be punished for their speech, no matter what, especially if it is totally peaceful.
If it were a crime to propose the legislation, there is no way that the Office of Legislative Services would have published it, and there is no reason that the Attorney General would not have stopped the legislation or arrested and charged the sponsors. Additionally, Sununu, the Secretary of State, and other officials have been silent since it was proposed months ago.
The legislators who oppose independence and consider themselves the brightest minds in the universe surely are familiar with this Article of our Constitution. Yet, they blatantly violated it numerous times over the past few months by accusing supporters of CACR32 with treason, rebellion, and insurrection. They even went so far as to threaten to kick them out of the legislature or prosecute them for treason. This legally questionable tactic seemingly had a massive effect on the trajectory of the bill. In the House Committee on State-Federal Relations, at least two representatives who had said that they would vote in favor of the bill changed their positions, following the assertions of Rep. Deshaies linking support of this CACR to insurrection, rebellion and treason. l. Could Deshaies and others be prosecuted for blatantly violating the NH Constitution by threatening members in order to influence their votes?
During the public hearing in January, the committee chairman allowed Deshaies to speak for 27 minutes. During his speech, Deshaies said that this legislation was tantamount to rebellion and insinuated that DC politicians could and should send the military to NH to kill those who support the legislation, which literally says that “New Hampshire peaceably declares independence from the United States and immediately proceeds as a sovereign nation” due to decades of many increasing abuses.
Under State law, one could argue that this would be considered criminal threatening as well. New Hampshire Title LXII Section 631:4 states that a person is guilty of criminal threatening when “The person threatens to commit any crime against the property of another with a purpose to coerce or terrorize any person.” Interestingly, the term ‘terrorism’ generally means to use fear of violence to coerce a person to do something, especially for political gain. In this case, one might argue that Deshaies could be charged with criminal threatening against the seven sponsors of CACR32 when he said in the hearing that “Every vote cast [by Representatives] is aiding…every vote for it has constitutional ramifications judging by amendment 14:3 of the US Constitution. Some scholars would argue that this is rebellion. This very well could be an argument that voting for this….aiding and abetting in that process could very arguably be unconstitutional…”
He also said that the federal government would kill those who seek to peacefully leave their union, and he implied that he agrees that they should kill those who support independence. This could also be construed as a violent threat.
Interestingly, Deshaies also said in the hearing that “It’s great that we’re entering into a constitutional process…The members who proposed this….it’s their right.”
Lastly, the anti-independence legislators may have violated House rules at Thursday’s session. The rules that the legislators agreed upon states in section 1:4 that “Legislators shall treat each other, legislative employees, and the public with dignity and respect.” It could be argued that threatening to remove a member from the legislature and/or attempt to have him charged for treason and rebellion is disrespectful and undignified, especially when taking into account the strong protection that legislators’ speech has within the House chamber.
During his floor speech, Representative Tim Smith (D-Manchester) may have also violated the NH Constitution, State law, and House rules when he said that “It was really close to the textbook definition under title 18 of USC… of advocating overthrow of the US government when this CACR was introduced. When cosponsors signed on, it was really close to seditious conspiracy. A vote for this is really close to the federal definition of treason!”
Will there be investigations and potential charges filed against these statists? Will they be disciplined by the state government?
note: the text in the photo is not a direct quote, rather it’s a simple paraphrasing of Deshaies’ sentiment