Will 2010 Be the Year of the Tenth Amendment?

Tenth Amendment Center
 
Issue CCXXXI - January 15, 2010
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In 2009, seven states passed sovereignty resolutions under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Two states passed laws nullifying some federal firearms laws and regulations. States with Medical Marijuana laws in direct opposition to federal laws reached thirteen. In 2010, some expect the ante to be raised significantly.

"Already, over a dozen states are considering laws or state constitutional amendments that would effectively ban, or nullify, any proposed national health care plan in their state, and we expect that number to reach at least twenty in 2010," said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center.  "In conjunction with 20+ states that have already said "No" to the Bush-era Real ID act, another dozen or more considering state laws to nullify federal gun laws, and the steady growth of states refusing to comply with federal marijuana laws, some might consider what we see today to be an unprecedented state-level rebellion to the federal government." 

The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state nullifies a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or non-effective, within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.

"Nullification has been used to stand up for free speech, resist the fugitive slave laws, reduce tariffs, and more.  It's a peaceful and effective way to resist the federal government, and might be our only hope for moving towards the Constitution.  Legislators drawing this kind of line in the stand should be commended," said Boldin.

Grassroots activists around the country are looking to the Tenth Amendment and nullification to bolster their efforts too.  Tenth Amendment rallies are planned in at least 10 states before the end of January, including Virginia, Washington, Alabama, and Texas.  "These aren't tea party protests, or tax protests, or any of the other topics that were popular last year," said Boldin.  "These are rallies solely in support of the 10th Amendment, State Sovereignty,  or Nullification - something that indicates a major shift from the grassroots, and shows potential for the growth of a popular mass movement in support of the Tenth."

A recent article in the New York Times included "Tenther" as a top buzzword for 2009. In response, Boldin said, "With people looking to resist D.C. through state laws on everything from national health care to medical marijuana, the 10th Amendment appears ready to be front and center in the national debate once again this year."


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