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.