Under The Radar: 10th Amendment Movement Picks Up Steam
By Nancy Morgan
July 27, 2009
Millions of Americans watch with horror as the Obama administration continues to implement its own version of 'change.' Change that involves an unprecedented and systematic devolution of power to the federal government, in direct contravention of the Constitution.
From the pending takeover of 17% of economy under the auspices of health care reform, to the government takeover and subsequent ownership of automobile companies, to the unconstitutional interference in the formerly private market under the rubric of stimulating the economy. Not to mention the proposed cap and trade legislation which would give the federal government unlimited powers of taxation and regulation under the guise of saving the planet.
Totally ignored by elected officials of both parties is the tenth amendment of the Constitution, which states very clearly, "The power 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."
Many Americans don't agree with the left's idea of a 'living constitution,' arguing that the intent of the founders should govern the interpretation and application of the Constitution, not the whimsical and politically motivated present day politicians. And, largely unreported by the media, they are starting to stand up to the federal government.
To date, 37 states have introduced sovereignty resolutions, asserting their state's sovereign rights under the tenth amendment.
Earlier this month, Louisiana became the seventh state, joining Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Idaho and Tennessee to officially adopt a resolution affirming their sovereignty. These states are putting the federal government on notice that politicians in Washington do not have the right, under the Constitution, to continue to impose their increasingly onerous federal mandates on sovereign states.
Some states, with Arizona leading the way, are going a step further.
Under Arizona's Health Care Freedom Act, which was passed by the Arizona state legislature this month, a voting initiative will be placed on the 2010 ballot that, if passed, will allow Arizona to opt out of any federal health care plan. Following Arizona's lead, five other states -- Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming -- are considering similar initiatives to opt out of federal health care for their 2010 ballots. This even before Congress has created the program.
Arizona is also preparing for the misnamed 'climate' bill, that passed the House this month (with eight Republican votes). The Arizona state Senate voted 19-10 to approve a bill banning the Department of Environmental Quality from enacting or enforcing measures with language pertaining to climate change.
Other states are stepping up to the plate and asserting their state's sovereign right under the second amendment - a right that guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. On July 6, Florida introduced the Firearms Freedom Act which seeks to provide "that specified firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition for personal use manufactured in state are not subject to federal law or regulation" in the State of Florida.
Increasingly, the representatives 'we the people' have elected to preserve and protect our rights are ignoring the clear, unequivocal language of the Constitution. Our politicians seem unaware of the fact that the Constitution does not include Congressional power to override state laws.
In fact, the power our representatives are now accruing to the federal government was expressly voted down, not once, but several times.
During the Constitutional ratification process, James Madison drafted the 'Virginia Plan' which advocated a strong federal government. It proposed, among other things, giving Congress legislative authority, and a veto over state laws. Each of Madison's proposals was soundly defeated. Our founders' clear intent was vesting all powers in the states, with but a few, listed exceptions.
Ever since 1938, when FDR used the occasion of the Great Depression to drastically expand the scope of federal government (Wickard vs. Filburn) using an absurd reading of the Commerce Clause, this unconstitutional taking of power by the central government has gone virtually unchallenged. Until now.
Though the media have ignored these efforts, 'we the people' are starting to fight back, via our state and local representatives.
Politicians need to be reminded that our Constitution is still in effect. And Americans need to be reminded that just because some believe the trendy notion that our Constitution is a 'living, breathing' document, doesn't make it so.
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com