Archive for the ‘nullification’ Category

10th Amendment proves useful even if no one says anything about using it

BTC Commentary — Our Constitutional Bill of Rights are being perpetually scrambled, challenged and re-challenged. The name of the political game is to get you maneuvered out of your rights. Why should a battle over your 10th Amendment be any different?

The 10th Amendment is about powers reserved to the States. States have it and States use it. However, they seldom make a public or corporate ceremony about invoking use of the 10th Amendment. However, when states do a corporate move to kick a federal law back to Washington it is called nullification.

Governor Schweitzer recently publicly knocked the principle of nullification.  Loud, patriotic belly bursts of declared independence over States’ rights doesn’t go over so well with Democrats.

However, he had no problem exercising his State’s right to dump federal regulations of the Real ID Act over the rails. He just didn’t dare say out loud, “I’ll be invoking my 10th Amendment now.” He simply did it.

Wisconsin union workers who overran the State capitol recently with protest signs and vigils didn’t say, “I am  now using my 1st Amendment rights”.  In similar fashion, Ollie North said, “I can’t recall,” instead of “I plead the 5th.” And in the same manner 25 States across the nation showed DHS they weren’t implementing Real ID by the federal deadlines, footing the expense. This was nullifcation by action versus a direct corporate ceremony with one chief or constituency taking credit.

Shortly thereafter, the Tenth Amendment Center stated, “The United States just nullified Real ID by the right of the 10th Amendment!” And it was true.

It seems invoking the 10th Amendment right is something Democratically led States can’t be openly proud of. In fact, it is seen by some Democratic interests as almost amoral or at type of political impropriety.

How could a corporate use of the Bill of Rights be considered immoral?

The first reason is strictly political pragmatism. Many Democrats consider it “immoral” for States to opt-out of federal tax strategies. Any move against government solvency structure by a State is sacrosanct. States have to pay tribute to keep Caesar’s lights on. Otherwise, there is no grand government plan which can be sustained to serve the plebean hosts.

The other reason is quickly explained by Urban Dictionary’s definition of State’s Rights:

1) A reference to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

2) A code word that politicians use to signal to racists that they too, are racist. Used in the past to signal that you support segregation and Jim Crow laws.

When Strom Thurmond said he believed in State’s Rights, he really meant that he wanted to keep segregation legal in the South.

If you believe in States’ Rights but want to pass the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, you are a hypocrite. 

The simple answer is that the racist south abused the 10th Amendment.


Fast forward to 2011, Americans are suffering with not just expensive government but really poorly executed government, with bad policy, resulting in the passage of blatantly unconstitutional laws. These laws don’t serve the long term interests of The People they represent. Corporations hire lawyers, which negotiate PAC service fees to elected officials, legislations are filed and passed; which then return regulatory contracts and business to their corporations. It’s the new normal and the legislative circle of life.

When a bad federal law is passed, State regulatory reforms are then bureaucratically dumped on State leaders desks. They are then expected to robotically comply because “IT’S THE LAW.” Each State negotiates how bad is too bad, weighing federal consequences to its residents.

State leaders had a succession of rude awakenings in 2007.  Federal reforms became completely invasive to citizens once federal wiretapping laws like FISA took anchor, following train with the Patriot Act. Homeland Security started federalizing local police forces and then sought to issue a national ID card to each citizen in 2008.

By 2009, we inaugurated a bi-racial president, but we have significantly less rights as Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Have we lost the forest for the trees?

It is very obvious the federal government is not recovering important Constitutional boundaries, as promised, when Bush left office. In fact, the furrows grow deeper and the power grabbing grows closer to a totalitarian state as Obama seeks to silence whistleblowers, institute a kill switch for the Internet and use federal intelligence to surveil peaceful dissent.

States have to be thinking quietly about the rights of their citizens and aspects of life they once enjoyed without federal intrusion.

Some States are beyond thinking. They’re beyond talking. They are using powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States; [which] are reserved to the States respectively, or to The People.

That’s using the 10th Amendment. When several states use it for similar reasons, it’s called nullification.  I think some citizens of Montana don’t care much what you call it; as long as they don’t get a national ID card or any other federal measure going against the best interest of Montana.

Governor Schweitzer shouldn’t get mired down in owning the term “nullification”.  It’s not like nullification will be an evasive option for Montana in the future.  Someone will always dance to the cheesy piccolo tunes tweeted by the tri-cornered hat constituencies; he doesn’t have to.

I’m sure Montana will accept powerful action over political rhetoric any day.

c/o Orwell’s Dreams

Proponents of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution have been starting to rise up en masse to remind the national government of its proper constitutional role under the principles of federalism. This loose network of activists, widely referred to as the state sovereignty movement or Tenth Amendment movement, were given the derisive nickname “tenthers” by detractors, but in a witty reversal, they gladly adopted the label. The Tenth Amendment Center, the major hub online for state sovereignty activism, has even renamed its blog, “the tenther grapevine.”

Typically, the response by some of the biggest names in the news media has been to actively disparage anyone who strictly adheres to the original understanding of the U.S. Constitution. David Shuster of MSNBC proclaimed that most “people in their right-thinking mind know that the Tenth Amendment is a bunch of baloney.”

The Chief Illustration of Nullification in Action

The REAL ID Act: REAL ID was passed by a Republican Congress and signed into law by then-President George W. Bush in 2005, and the resistance to it illustrates a likely scenario for state nullification. More than two dozen states have passed laws or resolutions denouncing the act or refusing to comply with it. Have the feds responded by sending in federal agents with their guns blazing? Absolutely not! Instead, the feds were all too quick to chicken out and postpone enactment of the law.

Michael Boldin, founder of the influential Tenth Amendment Center, writes, “Another indicator of victory for state-level nullification — the 2005 Real ID act was originally to be implemented in early 2008, and today, it’s still in limbo. Going on 2 years later, with more than two dozen states passing laws and resolutions denouncing or flat-out refusing to comply — and D.C. has no choice but to continue backing off…. Why? With such massive resistance among the states, the Feds just have no way to enforce it.”

REAL ID seems to have just been the start. As the nullification cat is out of the bag, states all across the nation are attempting to nullify federal laws covering such disparate topics as healthcare and firearms.

c/o Tenth Amendment Center

LOS ANGELES — In 2009, seven states passed sovereignty resolutions under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Two states passed laws nullifying some federal firearms laws and regulations. States with Medical Marijuana laws in direct opposition to federal laws reached thirteen. In 2010, some expect the ante to be raised significantly.

“Already, over a dozen states are considering laws or state constitutional amendments that would effectively ban, or nullify, any proposed national health care plan in their state, and we expect that number to reach at least twenty in 2010,” said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center.

“In conjunction with 20+ [24] states that have already said “No” to the Bush-era Real ID act, another dozen or more considering state laws to nullify federal gun laws, and the steady growth of states refusing to comply with federal marijuana laws, some might consider what we see today to be an unprecedented state-level rebellion to the federal government.”

The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state nullifies a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or non-effective, within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.

“Nullification has been used to stand up for free speech, resist the fugitive slave laws, reduce tariffs and more. It’s a peaceful and effective way to resist the federal government, and might be our only hope for moving towards the constitution. Legislators drawing this kind of line in the stand should be commended,” said Boldin.

Grassroots activists around the country are looking to the Tenth Amendment and nullification to bolster their efforts too. Tenth Amendment rallies are planned in at least 10 states before the end of January, including Virginia, Washington, Alabama and Texas. “These aren’t tea party protests, or tax protests, or any of the other topics that were popular last year,” said Boldin. “These are rallies solely in support of the 10th Amendment, State Sovereignty or Nullification – something that indicates a major shift from the grassroots, and shows potential for the growth of a popular mass movement in support of the Tenth.”

A recent article in the New York Times included “Tenther” as a top buzzword for 2009. In response, Boldin said, “With people looking to resist D.C. through state laws on everything from national health care to medical marijuana, the 10th Amendment appears ready to be front and center in the national debate once again this year.”

About the Tenth Amendment Center:
The Tenth Amendment Center, a Los Angeles-based think tank founded in 2006, acts as an educational forum on issues related to the 10th Amendment and Constitutional governance.


Nullification has a long and rich history, beginning in 1798 with resolutions in Virginia and Kentucky passed to protest the original Alien and Sedition Acts, according to the Tenth Amendment Center. Arguably, States have taken effective nullification action as recently as this decade, when multiple States passed their own legislation expressly forbidding their respective Divisions of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to upgrade drivers’ licenses in accordance with the REAL-ID Act of 2005. In response, the Obama administration recently announced that it would quietly drop the Act. In addition, thirteen States have passed legislation allowing State residents to use marijuana (Cannabis sativa) for medicinal purposes. (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, is a powerful antiemetic that, some say, can greatly alleviate the nausea that plagues patients who undergo chemotherapy in the treatment of cancer.) :::MORE HERE:::