Tenth Amendment Center national communications director
@Jon_Roland State nullification is any act or set of acts that makes an unconstitutional "law" null, void or simply unenforceable within a state. This includes abandonment of enforcement efforts, non-cooperation and actions to overtly block federal efforts. Northern states utilized all three approaches to nullify the Fugitive slave act of 1850 - including arresting federal marshals.
Only one true "sovereign" exists in the American system...that is the people. The people first created independent political societies (states) and through those political societies delegated some powers to a general government to form a union. Since the people acted through existing political societies to form a union and delegate powers to the federal government, they can also act through those same political societies to stop their creation from exercising undelegated powers.
1 year, 5 months ago on A Basic Civics Lesson for Pseudo-Historians
@the beeste Indeed - even the courts agree that the feds can't compel the states to enforce their acts.
@SethDelconte They key to understanding the meaning of the Constitution is through the lens of the ratification debates. NOT the convention. They tossed all kinds of ideas around at the convention. Madison pushed for a federal veto of all state laws during the convention. That idea was soundly rejected over and over again. (In essence, that's the role the Supreme Court serves in today.) I don't know if you clicked the link in the article for "extra reading," but that will lead you to a more in depth discussion on the role of the courts. If you are really interested in digging into the subject, I recommend you pick up a copy of my book, Our Last Hope. I lay out the case for nullification piece by piece and dissect the direct evidence for it in the ratification process. The bottom line is that you can't have a federal government with limited power (and there is NO debating that was the intention) if a branch of the federal government decides the extent of its own power. It simply makes no sense.
1 year, 5 months ago on They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know – Tenth Amendment Center Blog
@Frudoc This was a weird situation where I made some edits and then the author added some things and the two versions didn't get meshed properly. I think I've cleaned up the issues! Thanks for pointing it out.
1 year, 7 months ago on Do you believe in self-rule? – Tenth Amendment Center Blog
@DavidBrown1 Nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act by northern states failed so miserably that South Carolina listed it as its first complaint in its Declaration of Causes for secession.
1 year, 7 months ago on An important introduction to Nullification. http:/...
@GeorgeSeaver The feds clearly have no authority to dictate a state's definition of marriage. But here's the interesting question: does the federal government have the authority to define marriage as it sees fit for the purpose of granting FEDERAL benefits? In other words, if the federal government wants to restrict military survivor benefits to only male-female marriages, not same-sex unions, does it have that authority? Or conversely, can the feds open up federal benefits to same-sex marriages. That's where it gets tricky.
1 year, 7 months ago on Nullification for Lawyers
@CSA1861It's legitimately debatable whether the tariff was constitutional. Madison definitely thought it was. But the argument against it was that it did not fit the definition of "general welfare" because the benefits accrued to northern manufacturing states and harmed the south. At any rate, I think you would see what happened to S.C. happen in any dubious attempt to nullify - there would be very little support for other states and it would likely fail. Organizations like ours would oppose it. It just wouldn't fly. I don't see anything in today's nullification movements that are even close to the line. Federal power is SO out of control.
<p>But I grant, there is always the risk of unwarranted nullification. But I'll take that risk to the risk of an unchecked, all-powerful federal government.
1 year, 8 months ago on Who Decides Constitutionality?
@cptbanjo Hamilton was addressing the structure of the federal government. He was not addressing the relationship between the principle - the people of the states - and their agent - the federal government they created. The agent doesn't dictate to the principle the terms of its existence. That's nonsensical.
As Madison pointed out:
"Dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department also may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution; and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution, to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority, as well as by another; by the judiciary, as well as by the executive, or the legislature.However true, therefore, it may be, that the judicial department, is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts."
1 year, 8 months ago on Yeah, I’m OK With That – Tenth Amendment Center
@PaulYannucci This is one of the grossest comments I've seen posted on this website. Ever.
1 year, 8 months ago on February 19, 1942: A Black Stain on American History
@dover Republicans support this detention garbage too. This is not a partisan issue.
@Ripcity Interesting - because those ratifying the Constitution seemed to think they were doing so on behalf of the people of a sovereign state - and that those sovereign states were not giving up any sovereignty other than the specifically delegated powers enumerated in the Constitution. In fact, those "selling" the Constitution told them that was the case."Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution." Madison, Federalist 39So the fact that the Supreme Court - part of the federal government the people of those sovereign states created - came along down the road and "rejected" what was clearly the case at ratification and declared itself the judge of its own power doesn't seem like a very convincing argument.In order for your view of the Republic to carry any weight, it is incumbent upon you to show proof from the ratifying period that they were ratifying as "one American people." You also need to unravel Jefferson's basic argument."The several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress."
1 year, 8 months ago on An important introduction to Nullification. http:/...
@whitemcky The British sent the Redcoats.
1 year, 8 months ago on Sheriffs, States and the Supreme Court
@dmellon Agreed. The people of the states are the final arbiters. My assumption is that the people delegated powers to their state governments. The state legislators are the duly elected representatives of the people. Therefore they have the authority to nullify. The people of the states ultimately control their legislators.
1 year, 9 months ago on Nullification: The Basics – Tenth Amendment Center Blog
@ChrisSwenson Armed guards may or may not make sense. Personally, I'm concerned about the increasing militarization of our local police forces and the unintended consequences of increasing "security" after every tragic event - especially when federal agencies get involve. We only have to look at the aftermath of 9/11 to find reason for concern. But the bottom line is that security in schools is a state and local issue and should be addressed and debated at that level.
1 year, 10 months ago on NRA says to hell with the Constitution
@AnthonyJamesPalumbo @Mike I didn't think you were. Just wanted to be clear for all of the readers. And you are absolutely right. More federal power is not the solution to any problem!
@MichaelBrady I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume this is the first time you've come across the Tenth Amendment Center. We are not "left wing." Our tenacious opposition to Obamacare would make us pretty piss-poor left wingers. On the other hand, we're not "right-wingers" either. In fact, we refuse to allow the political establishment pigeon-hole us into its silly boxes. We stand for one thing - follow the Constitution, every issue, every time, no exception, no excuses. And we've been standing consistently on this principle for a long time, since 2006, in fact.
@AnthonyJamesPalumbo @Sean Just for the record - I do not support incorporation. In fact, I will be publishing an article on that subject in the very near future!
@dmellon A sad, but rather accurate analysis. I'll add this - I've worked in the media - most media folks don't understand the problem either. They just parrot what "officials" tell them.
1 year, 10 months ago on A hockey player's view over the fiscal cliff
@bertloftman That's interesting!
1 year, 11 months ago on For Some, It's Just a Constitution of Convenience
@Racefish Although if you read the whole ruling, the Court operates on the premise that a federal health care system is within the scope of federal powers.
1 year, 12 months ago on Will Montana Voters Nullify the Mandate?
@KeimgMeg Thank you!
2 years ago on This is Our Last Hope
@Lawrence D Wood Can you point me to some documentation on this?
2 years ago on The Feds are Dangerous to the Rights of Minorities
@ANTICRIME Thanks! I appreciate the kind words!
@kenlbear The Constitution created a federal government. The Bill of Rights was included to further clarify the limits of federal power, as the preamble to the BOR explains.THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institutionThe Second Amendment clarifies that the federal government cannot infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. But since the Constitution defines the federal government and not the state governments, it logically follows that the BOA was not intended to bind the states. In fact, even a cursory study of the original intent bears this out.It is true that no person or institution should infringe on a natural right. But that fact does not empower the federal government to "police the states." It is up to the people of the states to enforce their state constitutions and maintain vigilant control over their state and local representatives to ensure those rights remain protected at that level.
2 years ago on Rejecting the Incorporation Doctrine
@findingthetruth “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” - Madison. In other words, the provision for the "general welfare" can only be through the enumerated powers. It's not a blanket power to do whatever for the general welfare. “This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.” - HamiltonBasically, general welfare means even the actions taken within the enumerated powers must be for the U.S. as a whole, not for a single state, region or interest group.
2 years ago on James Madison: putting principle over pragmatism
@Bob Greenslade That's a much sharper explanation. I'm going to use it. Thanks!
2 years, 1 month ago on Jefferson and Madison vs "Staff Writer"
@West Texan @dsands @CarolineCarr So Mitt is going to protect your guns?When he was the governor of Massachusetts, Romney signed a ban on assault weapons, like the one used in the movie theatre in Aurora. “Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” he said at the time. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.” Romney also signed a law that raised the state’s gun-licensing fee to a hundred dollars, from twenty-five. Read more http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/07/mitt-romney-the-gun-control-candidate.html#ixzz24JwaiH2Y
It seems to me your position is based more on perception and the "red team blue team" paradigm than any anchor in reality.And really - that's the point. The Democrats swear the Republicans are the worst people in the world because they are Republicans and the Republicans claim the Democrats are the worst people in the world because they are Democrats, and people fall in line with their party. Meanwhile, they all DO the same thing once they are elected.But by all means, carry on. If it makes you feel any better, Mitt will take my state whether I cast a vote for him or not. So you will not be cleaning up my stink. And I'll continue working to clean up the stink left in D.C. by the party loyalists.
2 years, 2 months ago on Curing the American Disease
@dsands @CarolineCarr Under George W. Bush - a Republican - we got: Real ID, Patriot Act, the creation of a brand new department (Homeland Security), TARP, a stimulus bill, a massive expansion of Medicare (a huge nationalized health care plan), an invasion of Iraq, No Child Left behind (expanding unconstitutional federal intrusion into education), billions added to the debt and a continuation of an unconstitutional "drug war." Under Obama, a Democrat, we got more stimulus, cash for clunkers, auto bailout, more nationalization of health care, extension of the Patriot Act, detention without due process written into the NDAA, war in Libya, drone strikes all over the place, an expansion of the war in Afghanistan, a continuation of the unconstitutional drug war, billions more added to the debt. Sure, the Republicans keep my taxes a little lower, but they won't do anything about spending, so really, they are just taxing my kids and grandkids. Clearly, neither party really has any intention of shrinking government or following the Constitution. And to be honest, I find the Republicans grosser than the Democrats because they run around and do all of this progressive, big-government, unconstitutional crap while proclaiming themselves the party of the Constitution and small-government. The bottom line is that I cannot cast a vote - indicating my seal of approval - on a federal candidate who has already indicated he will willfully violate the Constitution in multiple ways. If you can - by all means, hold your nose and do it.
@dsands But seriously...the point isn't "don't vote." If you believe it is important, by all means. We just want people to get out of the paradigm that 90 percent of Americans are stuck in - that notion that if we just get the "right guy" in D.C., everything will be fine. There is no "right guy." It's not that Obama is so bad. It's that the entire system is broken. Electing Romney isn't going to shrink the size and intrusiveness of the federal government. Romney isn't going to fix it. He is part of the problem. The federal behemoth WILL keep growing under a Romney administration - as it has for the past 100 years. So we had better figure out start doing something different than banging our head against the marble walls of D.C. every four years. You are 100 percent behind nullification...that is awesomeness! You are part of the solution. But most of your fellow Americans do not. They are fixated on "getting Obama out," or "keeping Romney out" and in my view, that is a difference without a distinction.
@dsands @Michael Boldin And you want to pass because the candidates don't line up 100% with you?Let me turn that question around - you want to choose the "best" guy between two people who are at best about 6 percent different?
@DarylLloydDavis You are welcome to post here. Nobody is stopping you. Your comments are not being censored. I have perused your website. You desire to do away with the original Constitution and replace it with a system based on direct democracy. Our goal at TAC is to restore the the original Constitution. Those two goals are diametrically opposed. So while we may share some underlying philosophy, we are not heading in the same direction. Quite frankly, I simply don't have time to refute your arguments.
2 years, 2 months ago on Garbage in, Garbage Out
@Chaplain Michael DarylLloydDavis proposes a new constitution based on direct democracy. He clearly disagrees with our objectives here at the Tenth Amendment Center, but he uses our website in an attempt to drive traffic to his.
@DarylLloydDavis You've missed the point. The billboard only served as a springboard for the deeper point of the article. I never said the group didn't have every right to apply pressure to get the billboard removed. And I wasn't even attempting to address the nuances of First Amendment law. My objection is to the underlying philosophy expressed by the spokesperson for the group - “We aren’t opposed to free speech unless it’s hate speech.” He clearly believes he has a "right" to determine what expression is and is not permissible. The issue wasn't the location of the bill board, it was the message expressed.
2 years, 2 months ago on Liberty: A two-way street
@dmellon We have definitely worked with Tea Party groups on coalition building. It varies state by state depending on how strong the state chapter is.
2 years, 2 months ago on Help wanted!
@dmellon Well said. And no, I don't think the people necessarily need the state legislatures - although since they exist, they serve as a mechanism already in place. But America has a long tradition of extra-constitutional popular action. H. Robert Baker touches on the subject in his fantastic book on Joshua Glover and Wisconsin's resistance to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.I have written a book on nullification that will hopefully be ready to distribute by Sept. that actually builds the case for nullification beginning with the sovereignty of the individual (from a Lockean perspective.)
@dmellon I see your point. I agree completely. In fact, your argument is identical to ours. We don't hold that Jefferson granted some mystical power to the states. We simply site Jefferson frequently because the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 he drafted (along with Madison's report of 1800) make the best, most concise constitutional argument for nullification. It is, in fact, based on the Tenth Amendment. Thanks for taking the time to clarify!
2 years, 3 months ago on Help wanted!
@dmellon Clarify No. 4. You make the case that the health care bill usurps the powers of the states. What are you asking the state legislature to do?
@AndrewStover So, I looked at this again and decided it wasn't really two false premises. More like false premise 1 and false premise 1a. So, I just eliminated that confusion completely!Thanks for your input.
2 years, 3 months ago on Obama, Warren and a false premise
@AndrewStover I tweaked it a bit, hopefully makes it a little more clear.
@AndrewStover You're right, it probably wasn't as clear as it could be.Premise 1 - using the system to justify the systemPremise 2. We "owe" something back because we use "public" resources such as roads. In fact - we already "paid" for them.
@onetenther I can't disagree with you, my friend. It's really just a matter of where we choose to focus our resources at this point. If a strong amendment movement develops, I certainly wouldn't oppose it!
2 years, 3 months ago on Standing on the Moral High Ground
@onetenther But a repeal amendment only applies to the specific object(s) repealed. Nullification is a legitimate and necessary check on federal power in general. My biggest difficulty with those who champion the amendment process as the panacea (while I don't philosophically oppose the idea) is that the federal government ignores the Constitution we have. I'm not convinced adding to it will restrain the feds. Even with amendments limiting federal power, we still need the threat of state nullification to hold them in check. Paper chains won't do the trick.
@onetenther His videos and manifesto are widely available online. I found the quotes on several news sources. He also said this.""David is an adjective, Wynn is an adjective, Miller is a pronoun," he writes. "Two adjectives are a condition of modification, opinion, presumption, which modifies the pronoun, pro means no on noun. So therefore, I'm not a fact. I'm a fiction."Clearly a nut-job
2 years, 3 months ago on Fear Mongering at Huffington Post. Again.
@West Texan You are absolutely right!
2 years, 3 months ago on Dealing with the Federal Bully
@onetenther One more...shorter.
2 years, 3 months ago on "Taxes" are for Revenue. SCOTUS is Wrong.
@onetenther If you're in the mood to do some reading, this is a great scholarly article on the meaning of "commerce." It touches on the tariff/taxation issue toward the end.http://constitution.i2i.org/sources-for-constitutional-scholars/legal-meaning-of-commerce-in-clause/
@onetenther Natelson spends a lot of time in his book explaining the distinction and the historical basis for understanding tariffs and taxes. Quite honestly, I don't have time to get into it here.