Category Archives: Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment (Amendment X) to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791. The Tenth Amendment states the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the States by the Constitution are reserved to the States or the people.
By Alan Caruba
Many, if not most, Americans are unaware that the nation is composed of separate republics with their own constitutions. They are, of course, the individual states.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved respectively, or to the people.” – Tenth Amendment
By tying compliance with federal laws and regulation to receiving funds, the states have been coerced to accept programs that limit freedoms enumerated in the Constitution and the passage of Obamacare is but one example. Some twenty states have refused to set up the mandated insurance exchanges. Obamacare grants the government complete control over the provision of medical care that every American has formerly received from the free market health system that it destroyed. It gives the federal government control over our lives in terms of who lives or dies.
As noted on the website of the Tenth Amendment Center: “The Founding Fathers has good reason to pen the Tenth Amendment.”
“The issue of power – and especially the great potential for a power struggle between the federal and the state governments – was extremely important to the America’s founders. They deeply distrusted government power, and their goal was to prevent the growth of the type of government that the British has exercised over the colonies.”
“Adoption of the Constitution of 1787 was opposed by a number of well-known patriots including Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others. They passionately argued that the Constitution would eventually lead to a strong, centralized state power which would destroy the individual liberty of the People. Many in this movement were given the poorly-named tag ‘Anti-Federalists.’”
“The Tenth Amendment was added to the Constitution of 1787 largely because of the intellectual influence and personal persistence of the Anti-Federalists and their allies.”
Their worst fears are coming true as the nation heads into 2013. In just four years, the Obama administration, through its profligate borrowing and spending, has brought the nation to the brink of financial collapse and, as we have seen, the refusal of the President to negotiate anything than the current Band-Aid to avoid the “fiscal cliff” for another two months, has brought the nation to a point where the collapse of the U.S. dollar is not just imminent, but likely.
When that occurs the individual states may elect to secede in order to avoid having the federal government nationalize their National Guard units or take control of their state police to enforce whatever measures it might take to control the population. Individual state law enforcement authorities in cities and towns would need similar protection. Reportedly, massive amounts of funding have been directed to them to ensure their cooperation.
It would be a means to protect their citizens insofar as state constitutions grant the same rights as found in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It would not surprise me to see Texas lead the way. Others would follow.
You know things are bad when historians like Arthur Herman, writing on the January 3 Fox News, says that “Washington’s Republicans and Democrats alike have become the toll collectors on the road to serfdom.” Citing recent riots in Argentina, Herman said that “Argentina reveals who really suffers when those who create a nation’s wealth get mugged by those who spend it—as just happened this week in Washington.”
If the private sector manages to rally this year, it may buy some time before the midterm elections in 2014. A letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune summed up the problem neatly. “Let’s look at what we have learned from this election: Twenty-one of 22 incumbent senators were re-elected, and 353 of 373 incumbent members of the House were re-elected. The American people have re-elected 94 percent of the incumbents who were running for re-election to an institution that has an approval rating of about 9 percent. This indicates, as an electorate, we are a nation of idiots. We’re now stuck with the useless, dysfunctional government that we deserve.”
The U.S. Constitution was written in the wake of the failure of the Articles of Confederation, the first attempt to unite the states for the common good of the growing nation. It is the product of some of the finest minds, the most dedicated advocates of liberty, to gather in one place at one time. It is the oldest, living Constitution in the world. It was adopted on September 17, 1787 and ratified in June of 1788.
On December 17, 1791, the first ten amendments—the Bill of Rights—were ratified. It is a list of immunities from interference by the federal government and the fears of the Founders are now being borne out by a government that is too large, borrows and spends too much money, and has departments such as the Homeland Security that threaten the rights of free speech, travel, and other freedoms. Every U.S. citizen is now subject to government surveillance more typical of a totalitarian government than one that respects and protects their personal security and rights.
This is why the United States could find itself in a rebellion that will rival the causes of the Civil War, itself a state’s rights conflict in addition to the issue of slavery that had hung over the Constitution since its ratification; an effort to “kick the can down the road” the Founders agreed to in order to get it ratified.
It is not beyond the imagination that a deliberately created crisis would prompt individual states to withdraw from the Union to protect themselves and their citizens, otherwise known as “the people.”
- Texas Bills Would Nullify NDAA’s Indefinite Detention, TSA’s Intrusive Screening (mb50.wordpress.com)
Posted by William Kennedy
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. Article VI, US Constitution
Timothy Bloodworth in the State Ratifying Convention of North Carolina stated the consensus of those that opposed the Supremacy Clause when he stated, “It appears to me to sweep off all the Constitutions of the states. It is a total repeal of every act and Constitution of the states. The Judges are sworn to uphold it. It will produce an abolition of the state governments. Its sovereignty absolutely annihilates them.”
So, was Timothy Bloodworth and others who opposed the Constitution and the Supremacy Clause right or were the Federalists?
The major architects of the Constitution and those that led the fight for its adoption laid down what the Supremacy Clause meant in reality at the Ratifying Conventions, by doing so they defended State Sovereignty, and set the stage for the negation of unconstitutional actions.
Alexander Hamilton promised during the New York Ratifying Convention that the, “supreme Legislature has only general powers and the civil and domestic concerns of the people are regulated by the laws of the several States. … If the State governments were to be abolished, the question would wear a different face; but this idea is inadmissible. They are absolutely necessary to the system. Their existence must form a leading principle in the most perfect Constitution we could form.” And later he said, ““I maintain that the word supreme imports no more than this — that the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, cannot be controlled or defeated by any other law. The acts of the United States, therefore, will be absolutely obligatory as to all the proper objects and powers of the general government…but the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding”. And again In Federalist #33: “It will not, I presume, have escaped observation that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution….” (Emphasis Added)
Or this from Thomas McKean, at the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention: “The meaning [of the Supremacy Clause] which appears to be plain and well expressed is simply this, that Congress have the power of making laws upon any subject over which the proposed plan gives them a jurisdiction, and that those laws, thus made in pursuance of the Constitution, shall be binding upon the states”. (Emphasis added)
And from the First North Carolina Ratifying Convention where James Iredell said, “When Congress passes a law consistent with the Constitution; it is to be binding on the people. If Congress, under pretense of executing one power, should, in fact, usurp another, they will violate the Constitution.” (Emphasis added)
James Madison further defended the Supremacy Clause in Federalist #45 by stating, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” (Emphasis added)
Then we have Noah Webster writing as “America” also explaining the Supremacy Clause when he stated, “you know that the powers of the Congress are defined, to extend only to those matters which are in their nature and effects, general. You know, the Congress cannot meddle with the internals police of any State, or abridge its Sovereignty. And you know, at the same time, that in all general concerns, the laws of Congress must be supreme, or they must be nothing.” (Emphasis added)
Repeatedly the Federalist indorsed arguments establishing federal supremacy in the areas that were laid out in the enumerated powers of the Constitution but in doing so, they recognized that in ALL other areas the states were supreme. This is what has come to be known as “dual federalism” or “dual sovereignty” and this is the common thread put forth in defense of the Supremacy Clause. They clearly intended that the states be a check on the general government exceeding its authority.
Thus by their very defense the proponents of the Supremacy Clause they established the concept of Nullification if not the word, that came later with Thomas Jefferson. Because as they the writers and ratifiers repeatedly stated that unconstitutional laws were “no longer supreme or binding” and “Congress cannot meddle with the internal police of any state, or abridge its Sovereignty”, they clearly intended for the states to be a “check” on the general government.
So, if the states where to be a check on the unconstitutional actions how where they to do so?
Well Thomas Jefferson said when writing in the Kentucky Resolves opposing the Alien and Sedition and Acts; “Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
And, …”that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers…
That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour (sic) of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.” (Emphasis added)
And what did Madison say when writing the Virginia Act opposing the same Alien and Sedition Acts?
“That this Assembly (Virginia) doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid than they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them. (Emphasis added)
“…That government was an agent. It could not be the judge of its own powers. To allow it to be so would mean nothing less than a government of unlimited power, a tyranny. The partners to the Constitution, the sovereign peoples of the States, were the final judges of what they had intended the Constitution to mean. When the general government exceeded its power it was the right and duty of the State to interpose its authority and defend its people from federal acts of tyranny – yes, to render a federal law inoperative in the State’s jurisdiction…” (Emphasis added)
Clearly, our Founders “are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government”, they established the means for the states to defend themselves and their citizens from a general government that exceeding its authority and that power is NULLIFICATION.
I think the best description of what NULLIFICATION is and is not is found in Nullification: It’s Officialby Derek Sheriff.
“Nullification is not secession or insurrection, but neither is it unconditional or unlimited submission. Nullification is not something that requires any decision, statement or action from any branch of the federal government. Nullification is not the result of obtaining a favorable court ruling. Nullification is not the petitioning of the federal government to start doing or to stop doing anything. Nullification doesn’t depend on any federal law being repealed. Nullification does not require permission from any person or institution outside of one’s own state.
So just what IS “official” nullification you might be asking?
Nullification begins with a decision made in your state legislature to resist a federal law deemed to be unconstitutional. It usually involves a bill, which is passed by both houses and is signed by your governor. In some cases, it might be approved by the voters of your state directly, in a referendum. It may change your state’s statutory law or it might even amend your state constitution. It is a refusal on the part of your state government to cooperate with, or enforce any federal law it deems to be unconstitutional.
Nullification carries with it the force of state law. It cannot be legally repealed by Congress without amending the US Constitution. It cannot be lawfully abolished by an executive order. It cannot be overruled by the Supreme Court. It is the people of a state asserting their constitutional rights by acting as a political society in their highest sovereign capacity. It is the moderate, middle way that wisely avoids harsh remedies like secession on the one hand and slavish, unlimited submission on the other. It is the constitutional remedy for unconstitutional federal laws.”
William Kennedy [send him email] is the State Director for the North Carolina Tenth Amendment Center. A strong supporter of the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights with special emphasis on State Sovereignty protected by the Tenth Amendment.
- The Supremacy Clause (veteran-patriot.com)
- Nullification and Obamacare: rejection of the rule of law (inpropriapersona.com)
- Defending the Supremacy Clause via State Nullification (tenthamendmentcenter.com)
- Refuting Historical Ignorance On Secession & Nullification! (politicalvelcraft.org)
Posted by Ron Calzone
We have clearly learned that the liberty movement can accomplish a lot when we work together. Just recently liberty activists:
- Killed the Obamacare Insurance Exchange Bill
- Stopped Missouri from accepting a $50 million grant that would have been used to build the computer system needed for an Obamacare Exchange
- Advanced the Health Care Freedom Amendment
- Advanced a Sound Money bill
- Helped stop the bill that sets up a prescription drug monitoring database
- and more…
Now we have a chance to lead the nation with the first bill that truely and completely nullifies Obamacare!
This bill is not just about the so-called Affordable Care Act — it is about the states finally telling the federal government that we’re not going to sit by and allow them to trash the Constitution and the principles of federalism any longer.
To make HB 1534, the Obamacare nullification bill, a Senate priority we are going to have to muster a great show of force. The best way to do that right now is with a huge quantity of witness forms for Tuesday’s hearing.
Senator Cunningham is already sold on this bill and she doesn’t want a long or complex hearing, so we can save a mass rally for later, but right now about 1000 witness forms is just what is needed.
Here’s a map of the witnesses at the time this email was drafted.
- Missouri House Votes to Nullify Obamacare in its Entirety (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Weekend Reflections: Nullify Obama Now ~ 10th Amendment Codifies In Law That ‘We The People’ Of The States Created The Federal Government. (politicalvelcraft.org)
- Tennessee Sheriffs Cracks Down On Obama Federal Agents Gone WIld: NDAA Nullified And Kidnapping Charges Against Feds.. (12160.info)
- Dictator Obama Issues New Threat To Supreme Court (mb50.wordpress.com)
- MILLER: Obamacare’s hefty tax bill (mb50.wordpress.com)
Posted by Matthew Silber
On April 19, 2012, HB:1534 passed the Missouri House with a vote of 108 to 44! The bill “Declares the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as unauthorized by the United States Constitution and creates criminal penalties for persons enforcing or attempting to enforce the act”
But the good news doesn’t stop there. Inside reports tell us that when the absent Representatives who have committed to vote “yes” are able to do so, HB1534 should have a veto-proof majority.
This is a major step beyond what a number of states around the country – including Missouri – have been doing previously, rejecting just the mandate portion of the federal act.
(To see how your Missouri Representative voted, please see the following link: Ayes and Noes of 1534. If they voted “No”, you may wish to let them know your concern by sending them a polite message. Use the following link to look up your Missouri Representative.)
Additionally, it’s important to notice that when HB1534 was “perfected” in the Missouri House several days ago (with a vote of 109 to 49) – there weren’t any amendments offered. This also is encouraging, as it means that the preferred language, consisting of a Jeffersonian style nullification of Obamacare (along with the arrest of federal officials who attempt to enforce Obamacare), was retained in the bill.
Now that the bill has been passed by the House, it will begin a journey through the Senate – starting with a hearing that hopefully leads to it being taken up for Senate debate. Liberty activists should be ready to encourage the Senate to make this a high priority, as it may be hard finding a sponsor with the passion to get the job done.
Meanwhile, HB1534 has started to receive a bit of attention from the press. For instance, The Kansas City Star writes in the article, “Missouri bill would ban implementing health care law” that “A Missouri House panel has endorsed legislation making it a crime for federal officials to attempt to enforce the 2009 federal health care overhaul in the state.”
And over at the Dailypaul.com, the headline, “Missouri to arrest any federal officials who attempt to enforce Obamacare” encourages readers to stand up and speak out in favor of this bill.
First step? If you live in Missouri, contact your state senator and politely, but strongly, urge them to pass HB1534. We’d like to see a veto-proof majority in the Senate too.
CLICK HERE – to get contact information for your Missouri Senator
Also, please take a few minutes to thank those who have made this possible so far, and send them an email with “Thank you” in the subject line. Encouraging our leaders is just as important as jumping on them when they don’t do what they want, so let’s give credit where credit is due!
- Rep. Ward Franz – District 151, (allowed HB:1534 through General Laws Committee): Ward.Franz@house.mo.gov
- Rep. John Diehl – District 087, (provided cooperation in the Rules Committee): John.Diehl@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Tim Jones – District 089, (majority floor leader who gave the bill ample debate time): Tim.Jones@house.mo.gov
- Speaker Steve Tilley – District 106, (oversaw HB:1534 through the process): Steven.Tilley@house.mo.gov
- Rep. Kurt Bahr – District 019, (sponsored the bill): Kurt.Bahr@house.mo.gov
Don’t forget, that while HB1534’s passage in the House is a meaningful victory – we’ll need to be ready to convince Senate leadership to also make healthcare liberty a priority for our people.
Please utilize the following link to review the status of HB1534.
CLICK HERE To track healthcare nullification legislation nationwide:
CLICK HERE for TAC model legislation, Federal Health Care Nullification Act
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