Written by Michael Boldin
The following is based off a speech given at the Palm Desert Tax Day Tea Party on April 15, 2010
There are a few core beliefs that guide me in everything I do as the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center
These seven items are about sovereignty, which is something we hear about quite a bit lately - but few really understand. Sovereignty is defined as "final authority." All through history, this final authority was in the hands of just one or two people - a king, a queen, or even just a small cabal of elites at the top of the food chain.
But the founders and ratifiers gave us something unique in history - a first, really. They created a system where the average people - you and I - held final authority. We the people are sovereign. We the people hold final authority. We the people are in charge. And, they the government work for us!
The Tenth Amendment codifies in law this principle of popular sovereignty - that "We the People" of the several states created the federal government to be our agent for certain, enumerated purposes - and nothing more. But unfortunately, that's not how things have been working, and very little that the government does is actually authorized by the constitution. And, this is a problem that didn't just start in January 2009 - it's been going on a long, long time.
Question - What do we do about it?
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison both warned us that if the federal government ever became the sole and exclusive arbiter of the extent of its own powers - that power would endlessly grow...regardless of elections, separation of powers, courts, or other vaunted parts of our system.
Guess what - they were right. For a hundred years, we the people have been suing, and marching, and lobbying, and voting the bums out - but yet...year in and year out, government continues to grow and your liberty continues to diminish - and it doesn't matter who is the president, or what political party controls congress - the growth of power in the federal government never stops.
The problem we face today is not about personalities or political parties - it's about power. Until we address the absolute fact that the federal government has too much power, things will never change.
Question - What do we do about it?
Jefferson and Madison gave us the answer. In response to the unconstitutional attacks on liberty that were the Alien and Sedition Acts, they secretly authored the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798. Here are a few excerpts that really define exactly how things are supposed to work when two or more branches of the federal government conspire against the constitution and your liberty.
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.
where powers are assumed [by the federal government] which have not been delegated [by the Constitution], a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy
So while it might be important to call, petition, demand, march, sue and vote bums out, because they're all bums, there's much more we're supposed to do. When the federal government violates your rights, you're not supposed to wait four years for new politicians in the hope that they'll fix it. You're not supposed to wait two, or four, or more years for some black-robed judge to pronounce that they've violated your rights. You are supposed to resist those violations of your liberty as they happen - and it is your state's solemn duty to do the same.
While such a task might seem daunting, it's something that's already happening today, and has been growing in recent years too.
In 2007, one state rep in Maine introduced a non-binding resolution opposing the REAL ID Act.
In 2008, one state rep in Oklahoma introduced a simple non-binding resolution reaffirming the Constitution as defined by the 10th amendment,.
In 2009, one state rep in Montana introduced a bill to nullify some federal gun laws and regulations.
In 2009, one state rep in Arizona introduced a state constitutional amendment to effectively ban a national health care plan in that state.
These simple, single acts by courageous people have grown into a state-level resistance to unconstitutional federal acts the likes this country has possibly never seen.
Here at the Tenth Amendment Center we have released model legislation for you to give to your state reps to demand that they stand with you and refuse to comply with unconstitutional acts from Washington D.C. Our latest? The Federal Health Care Nullification Act.
This Act is not over 1000 pages. It's not 500 pages. It's not a dozen, or even two. It's one single page to nullify now.
Here's a majority of what it says:
The Legislature of the State of _______________ declares that the federal law known as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010, is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers, and is hereby declared to be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, is specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
And it adds some much-needed 'teeth' too:
Any official, agent, or employee of the United States government or any employee of a corporation providing services to the United States government that enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States in violation of this act shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), or a term of imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or both.
They want to fine us or put us in jail for not buying insurance from some corporation. What's next - fining us for not buying a Chevy? Well, it's time that we turn this thing around - and in the federal health care nullification act - we fine THEM for violating our rights!
While this may seem difficult to accomplish - or even insurmountable - if we do nothing, or if we even do the same things we've been doing, we're doomed to failure. But if we do what's right, we will succeed! Samuel Adams put it best: "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."
Question: What do we do about it?
Step one is to sign on in support the Federal Health Care Nullification Act. WeRefuse.com is a new website (and the only one that I'm aware of) dedicated solely to nullifying national health care on a state level. Join us in our first goal of 100,000 to stop national health care "laws" today!
Let's make this work and then we can use it as a model for every other constitutional violation coming out of D.C.
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center