Tenth Amendment Center
September 9, 2010
There are a few core beliefs that guide me in everything I do as the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center
1. Rights are not “granted” to us by the government – they are ours by our very nature, by our birthright.
2. ALL just political authority is derived from the people – and government exists solely with our consent!
3. We the people of the several states created the federal government – not the other way around!
4. The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government in the Constitution – and nothing more.
5. The People of each State have the sole and exclusive right and power to govern themselves in all areas not delegated to their government.
6. A Government without limits IS A TYRANNY!
7. When Congress enacts laws and regulations that are not made in Pursuance of the powers enumerated in the Constitution, the People are not bound to obey them.
These seven items – are what establish the proper role of government under the constitution. But sadly, an honest reading of the constitution as the founders and ratifiers gave it to us makes clear that MOST of what D.C does today is NOT authorized by the constitution.
Question – What do we do about it?
Do we lobby congress and ask federal politicians to limit federal power? Do we go to federal courts and ask federal judges to limit federal power? Do we vote the bums out in the hopes that the new bums will limit their own power?
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…..
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 about power – and 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?
Answer – Jefferson, Madison and others advised us on what we should do when 2 or more branches conspired against the constitution and your liberty….and it’s best described with a few quotes from Jefferson:
“the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government”
But wait – that’s not all. He went on to say that all undelegated powers exercised by the federal government are “unathoritative, void and of no force.” And, that a “nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
In 2007, Maine…one state rep introduced a non-binding resolution opposing the REAL ID Act
In 2008, two state legislators 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 Firearms Freedom Act, to nullify some federal gun laws and regulations
In 2009, one state rep in AZ introduced a Health Care Freedom Act, effectively banning a national health care plan in the state.
And that’s grown into a nullification movement like this country has never seen –
• Already nearly a dozen states have passed 10th amendment resolutions
• 25 states have stopped the real id act dead in its tracks in most of the country.
• 8 states have passed binding laws nullifying some federal gun laws and regulations in their state – including Wyoming, which included a penalty of a fine and imprisonment for fed agents violating the state law
• And 5 states have already passed laws to nullify federal health care mandates – with more on the way.
The reality is this – when enough people say no to the federal government, and enough states pass laws saying no to the federal government – they will not be able to enforce their unconstitutional mandates on us.
During the Great Depression, while millions of people were out of work or starving, the FDR administration required American farmers to restrict production of wheat in order to raise prices.
As a farmer, Roscoe Filburn was told he could plant a little over 10 acres of wheat, which he did grow and sell on the market. He also decided that it was in his best interest – possibly because he had less revenue due to the production limitations – to plant another 10 or so acres. But, the “excess” wheat grown was used at home to feed his livestock, among other things. He never sold it, so he saw this as being outside the scope of Congressional power to regulate “interstate commerce.”
What did the federal government do? The expected – they ordered Roscoe to destroy his crops and pay a fine. Think about that for a moment and you’ll really understand the evil of having too much power in too few hands. At a time when large numbers of people were starving, these thugs in government forced people to reduce production for the sake of raising prices. From this, it seems clear to me that corporate bailouts have been going on a long, long time in America.
Roscoe sued, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. In Wickard v Filburn, the Court ruled against him and the result was that the Federal Government assumed a power that was new in the history of this country. It now had the power to control the growing and consuming of something that never left one’s back yard.
John Adams, In 1775 he wrote, “liberty once lost, is lost forever.” He went on to explain that when the People allow government to gain power and restrict liberty, it will never voluntarily give that power back. Liberty given up to government power will never be returned to the people without a long and difficult struggle.
If we fast forward to present times, we can see this principle at work.
In the 1990s, the People of California voted to legalize consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Angel Raich, who has a huge cancerous tumor in her brain was told by her doctor and California law that using marijuana to relieve some of the pain associated with her cancer was acceptable.
The Feds don’t take too kindly to states passing laws in direct contravention to theirs. Marijuana, for example, is illegal on a federal level in all circumstances, and federal agencies have consistently said they don’t recognize state laws. You can probably guess what happened, right?
Federal agents destroyed Angel’s homegrown marijuana plants without much resistance. Like Roscoe before her, Angel sued. The suit went all the way to the Supreme Court, and in Gonzales v Raich, Angel lost. The 2005 ruling made clear that the federal government did not recognize state laws authorizing the use of marijuana – in any situation.
In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas gave a stark warning:
“If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption…then Congress’ Article I powers…have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to appropria[te] state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”
You might be asking, “What’s the point of this?” Well it’s pretty simple. The constitution is not about political parties. It’s not about political ideologies. It’s about liberty. It’s about limiting the federal government to certain enumerated powers so the most difficult and most divisive issues can be dealt with where they belong – close to home.
Even though she lost the case, Angel indicated she’d continue to use marijuana. At the time of the ruling, there were 10 states that had such laws. Not one of them has been repealed. Since then, another 4 states have passed similar laws, and many others are considering them, including South Dakota, Kansas, and New Hampshire.
This is the lesson, the blueprint – the Supreme Court may have an opinion on Obamacare, but let them come and enforce it! They may have an opinion on the EPA and Cap and Trade, but we don’t have to go along with it. And if Texas does what she should be doing – which is following the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses – she would say no to every federal gun law, she would say no to all the EPA, she would say no to all the Obamacare mandates, and maybe even the marijuana laws too.
The reality is this – we don’t need approval from the federal government to stand up for our rights. We need to stand up for them whether they want us to or not!
Over the past 2 years, I’ve been interviewed by mainstream media sources literally dozens of times. And whether it’s Fox News, or CNN, or the New York Times, the reporters invariably ask the same question, “What political party do you support?” Each time, I give them the same answer, “The Tenth Amendment Center is a non-partisan think tank that supports the principles of strictly limited constitutional government.”
They always have virtually the same follow up question too – “what about you? As the founder of the Center, what’s your political background, what political party do you support?”
“None,” I tell them. I don’t know if they believe me, but it’s true.
I’m no conservative, and I’m no liberal. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. And I’m not a green or a libertarian, or a socialist or an anarchist. I’m not even an independent.
All I am is me, and all I want is to live free. Thank you for joining me…
Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center