The Constitution Will Never Enforce Itself


Geoff Broughton
Tenth Amendment Center
January 8, 2010

I want to talk with you about the State Sovereignty movement and Nullification.  Our Founding Fathers secured for us a land of freedom and opportunity that has been the envy of the entire world, and sought to protect those freedoms and that opportunity with our Constitution.  But the Constitution is not in itself the protection, only the means for us to protect ourselves.

It is quite clear the federal government is completely out of touch with those they are supposed to be serving.  Yet the Constitution provides for us, the inheritors of the greatest system of government the world has ever known, a way to defend our rights.  This is the tenth amendment!  And while Amendment Ten has not stopped the power grab from all branches of the federal government, it does provide both the framework and the justification for “we the people” to maintain and defend our share of the power in our political system.

First you have to understand that power is a finite resource, meaning that as one group gains power, it must come from another group.  In this case us.  Make no mistake about it; a lot of laws passed in the last ninety six years have been about power.  More to the point, it is about power that is going from “we the people”, to the political class in Washington D.C

So it is not enough to be against Nationalized Healthcare,

It is not enough to be against Cap and Trade,

It is not enough to be against the bailouts, against TARP, against the Patriot ACT, against No Child Left behind!

It is not enough to oppose activist judges legislating from the bench, or executive orders, or bureaucratic regulations or any other “laws” without the understanding that these “laws” were NOT passed in a legislative branch of Government as laid out in the Constitution.  You must see that it is really about power, and you have to begin to recognize that this power has been taken from “we the people”!

How?  Through apathy, indifference, and willful ignorance, we have let it be taken.

This brings us to the tenth amendment and Nullification.

Nullification is the idea that the people of the several States entered into a contract called the Constitution where the Federal Government was granted specific powers, most of which are found in Article One Section Eight.  And that the states had not only a right, but an obligation to interpose or nullify laws passed by the Federal Government that go beyond those powers, and infringe upon the rights of “we the people”.  This idea is clearly spelled out by the Tenth Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It is common sense that the states must have some recourse available to them should the Federal Government overreach its powers, and infringe upon the liberty of “we the people”.  Does this sound crazy?  Some notes on this idea from the founders before the Constitution was ratified.

“It may safely be received as an axiom in our political system, that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.” Alexander Hamilton Federalist Papers#28

“The local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere.” James Madison Federalist Papers# 39

“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.” James Madison Federalist Papers#45

“Hence, a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other; at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.” James Madison Federalist Papers# 51

“We may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” Alexander Hamilton Federalist Papers#85

The Federalist papers were never meant to define the Constitution; but to sell it to the general public to get it ratified.  You see, the former colonist were not eager to trade a despotic centralized Government across the ocean for one on their own continent.  Proof is self evident by the fact that they had to promise that a bill of rights would be added to get it ratified.

The Doctrine of Nullification was first introduced in 1798 in the Kentucky Resolution, written by Thomas Jefferson, and the Virginia resolution, written by James Madison.  These were in response to the “Alien” and Sedition acts”.  I urge you to read these resolutions, and I brought a few copies of the pocket constitution put out by the Campaign for Liberty which includes both.  And in case you didn’t know, the “Alien and Sedition” acts among other things made it illegal to criticize the Government.  This doctrine was later adopted by Massachusetts and Wisconsin to nullify parts of the “Fugitive Slave ACT”, and by South Carolina to nullify a tariff they believed harmful to their state economy, and by the New England states in response to embargos.

‘What about the “Supremacy clause”?’  The one that states the Federal Government is the Supreme law of the land.

[efoods]1997 “Mack/Printz vs. the US” Where two County Sheriffs sued the Federal Government over the Brady Bill.  This was a law that forced county Sheriffs to run background check on their citizens who bought handguns at the expense of the county, and any sheriff who did not comply with this law would be subject to arrest.  These sheriffs argued that this law violated the tenth amendment. This case was heard and ultimately won before the Supreme Court.

Justice Scalia writes for the majority, “…the Constitution’s conferral upon Congress of not all governmental powers, but only discreet, enumerated ones.” And in a direct challenge to this interpretation of the Supremacy clause, he writes, “It is incontestable that the Constitution established a system of dual sovereignty” he also states “This separation of the two spheres is one of the constitution’s structural protections of liberty. Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the federal government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front.”

But there is really a supremacy clause, and it states:

“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.”  This clearly states the Constitution and laws that carry out, follow and continue the Constitution are the Supreme Law of the land.

How about the Real ID Act, whereby the States had until May of 2008 to issue everyone of its citizens a national ID card complete with biometrics, resulting in the complete loss of privacy from the state.  States who failed to comply by the deadline would see its citizens loose the ability to board an air plane or enter a federal building.  It has been over a year since that deadline has passed, and I ask you, do any of you have a “real ID”?  How many of you have entered a federal building or boarded an airplane in the last year?  Do you know why?  Because the states said NO!

Is there anyone here tonight, having heard what I have had to say about States Rights, and the Doctrine of Nullification, who believe that this is a real and viable strategy in the fight to, not only secure the freedoms we still enjoy, but to take back the power that has always been our god given natural rights?

For those of you who have answered yes, here is a strategy for how we will win!

First, we must redirect the efforts from the Federal office holders who not only have ignored us, but hold us in contempt! And direct that energy towards the State Legislators.  These people live here in our communities with us and have much less insulation from “we the people”.

We must get them to introduce and pass key laws including: nullifying both a National Healthcare act and Cap and Trade, an honest money act, to protect Coloradoans from the oncoming hyper-inflation that will be the result of this out of control spending.  Furthermore we should follow Tennessee, whose legislators are introducing a bill which creates an escrow account whereby legal federal taxes are collected and held by the states as protection against federal backlash against our nullification efforts.

Next we must have them introduce and pass legislation which will “build and impenetrable wall around the county sheriff and the second amendment” examples include “Sheriff First”  “Extension of the Castle Doctrine” “Prohibition of Gun and Ammunition Tracking” and finally a “Firearms Freedom Act”.  This is laid out in detail in an article I have printed out, and brought with me.

At some point as “we the people” work to make the Constitution relevant again, you will begin to hear the progressives and their puppets use the term “general welfare clause”

The general welfare clause has been interpreted by those favoring a strong central government to mean that as long as the law was meant to be in the “general welfare” of the union, congress has the authority to pass it.  The argument against this is the Virginia plan, which was introduced by Madison at the Constitutional Convention.  This plan would have created a National Government that gave the central government the authority to do anything it wanted.  It is important to remember this plan was rejected by the delegation, and more importantly, it was never ratified by “we the people”.

James Madison, considered the ‘father of the Constitution’ and the author of the defeated Virginia plan, stated the following about this interpretation of the “general welfare clause”.

“Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them.” Think on that a second.  Now let me give you one of my favorite quotes from James Madison. “Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

This should help to explain where we are today and how we got here, and hopefully what we need to do next.

Will it be easy?  No.  Every step of the way not only will enemies of Freedom tells us this wont work, but even our friends, who should be on our side will say it is impossible.  The Central Government is too big to take on!

Will there be risk?  Yes.  We will be taking on the most powerful “empire” in the world today, and you can be sure that they will not give up all this power without a fight.  But I ask you to consider what dangers our founding fathers faced, surely this pales in comparison.

I think Samuel Adams said it best when he said this, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better then the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace.  We ask not your counsel or your arms.  Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.  May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen”

I want to leave you all with a few closing thoughts. Remember;

It is about your future,

It is about your children’s future

It is about your grandchildren’s future,

It is about control,

It is especially about power, and finally

It is about TIME people were willing to stand up for themselves and do more then just complain to our would be masters for better treatment.  And begin to assert the power that is our god given birth right as American Patriots!


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