Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Map of Tenth Amendment activity across the United States
“These days, the United States government rarely follows its founding document,” said Michael Boldin, founder of the center, which is launching a campaign to publicize the influence of the federal government, the issue at the core of most arguments over government actions and individual rights.
Constitution Day, the anniversary of the adoption of the document, is today.
When the Constitution was being considered for ratification, Boldin noted, there was opposition from famous figures, including Patrick Henry.
“One major reason for this was a fear of too much power,” said Boldin. “The founding generation spent their lives toiling under a tyranny – a government without limits. When the Constitution was written, it was done to limit the power of government. It was created under the principle of popular sovereignty – that ‘We the People’ created the government, and all powers not delegated to it, were retained.”
The Constitution specifically gives the federal government about 35 powers. But not included are national health care, the imposition of free speech zones, federal gun regulations, the war on drugs and many more that now are part of the federal code, he said.
In response, just in the last year dozens of states have considered and seven states have passed sovereignty resolutions under the 10th Amendment. Two states have passed laws nullifying some federal firearms regulations and have faced threats from the federal government. Thirteen states now have medical marijuana provisions that directly conflict with federal laws. And several states – at least three so far – are working on constitutional amendments that would allow residents to opt-out of any future national health care plan.
“The Constitution of the United States was a revolutionary document,” Boldin said. “Before it, no government in history had seen its duties and restrictions so clearly and carefully defined.”
The center reports that among the states working on various push-backs to the federal government are Massachusetts, Louisiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Nevada, Oregon, Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri, Montana, Michigan, Arizona, Washington and Oklahoma.
“The Constitution is not exclusively for either the left or the right. It established rules for limiting government power so your liberty would have a better chance of success,” continued Boldin. “The founders created a system of government where the most important and most difficult issues would be kept close to home, and that’s just the opposite of how things are today.”
He said his group has organized a 10-4 pledge, a set of 10 affirmations and 10 promises for lawmakers and candidates. Included is an affirmation that, “All just political authority is derived from the People,” and another where elected officials promise to vote “in favor of the Constitution of the United States. Every issue. Every time. No exceptions. No excuses.”
Among those who already have signed on are Okahoma governor candidate Randy Brogdon, New Mexico House candidate Adam Kokesh and Brandon Creighton, who authored the Texas Sovereignty Resolution.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
WND reported when outgoing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate, signed a joint resolution declaring Alaska’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Palin signed House Joint Resolution 27, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Kelly on July 10, according to a Tenth Amendment Center report. The resolution “claims sovereignty for the state under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.”
Alaska’s House passed HJR 27 by a vote of 37-0, and the Senate passed it by a vote of 40-0.
According to the report, the joint resolution does not carry with it the force of law, but supporters say it is a significant move toward getting their message out to other lawmakers, the media and grass-roots movements.
Be it resolved that the Alaska State Legislature hereby claims sovereignty for the state under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.
Be it further resolved that this resolution serves as Notice and Demand to the federal government to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.
In May, Rep. M.J. “Manny” Steele, a Republican in South Dakota, wrote he believes up to $11 trillion is being wasted in the coming years by Washington’s efforts “to duplicate and micromanage our states’ affairs.”
He said states should manage their own affairs and not be dependent on a federal cash cow to make ends meet.
Steele told WND his dollar estimate was based on what President Obama himself has allocated in the coming years to spend on stimulus packages, industry bailouts and the like.