Left wingers, in an attempt to marginalize proponents of the US Constitution’s 10th Amendment, have now begun referring to those who believe States’ rights are protected within the founding document as “Tenthers.”
Birthers, Tea Baggers, and now Tenthers, seem to be a big joke to those who wish to maintain the status quo of continued expansion of the Federal government into every aspect of Americans’ lives.
While mainstream media sources count these fringe protesters in the thousands, the real story is that there are millions of Americans that are unhappy with the direction Washington is taking this country. Similar to the recent Massachusetts’ election of Scott Brown, the election of Barack Obama, in which millions of “independents” cast their vote for a virtually unknown democrat hoping for change should be proof enough that Americans were already fed up with the Fed. The new movements are simply an extension of the 2008 election. Unfortunately, President Obama and his democrat and republican colleagues in Congress have not yet made that realization.
The anti federal government expansion sentiment across the nation is growing, and the “Tenther” movement is yet another example of how Americans will not sit idly by while the government continues to chip away at the very foundation of the United States of America.
The question of nullification recently came up in a debate between Republican candidates for governor in the State of Texas, who were asked which, if any, federal laws they would nullify if they became governor of the State. Deborah Medina, who has since lost her election bid to current Governor Rick Perry, was the only one who did not attempt to circumvent the issue, and hinted that any federal laws that are not clearly outlined within the Constitution itself should come under Tenth Amendment scrutiny.
Mrs. Medina was certainly on the right track. In order to prevent the encroachment of the Federal government into issues which are reserved for the states, then every single law passed by Congress and cleared by the Supreme court should be debated and either approved or nullified by each individual state.
The Tenth Amendment’s purpose, according to founders Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, is to prevent usurpation and oppression from the Federal government. As pointed out in a WorldNetDaily article Health-care mandates could be ‘null and void’, Jefferson and Madison were very clear on their interpretations of what the Tenth Amendment meant, and how it worked in tandem with Article VI of the US Constitution, to protect States’ rights:
When faced with the unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison penned the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, respectively, which asserted that the Acts had infringed on powers reserved “solely and exclusively to the respective states” and were therefore “altogether void and of no force.”
WorldNetDaily discusses the Tenther argument in conjunction with the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, or Article VI, which states in part:
“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.”
WND concludes that, contrary to popular scholarly opinion, this article does not grant the federal government the power to do whatever it likes:
Many scholars today point to the Article VI “Supremacy Clause” as evidence that federal laws (such as the health-care legislation) override state laws (such as any proposed nullification act).
But not so fast, say nullification advocates, pointing to a different interpretation offered by some of America’s Founding Fathers, based on the phrase in Article VI that suggests only federal laws made “in pursuance” of the Constitution are supreme.
In 1788, Alexander Hamilton wrote to the people of the state of New York in Federalist No. 33, arguing that the yet unratified Constitution limited the Supremacy Clause to only constitutional acts, and that federal laws that strayed outside those bounds deserved to be treated by “the smaller societies,” meaning states, as “usurpation.”
“It will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land,” he wrote (all italics in the original). “These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. â€¦ It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution.”
The issue in modern times seems to be boiling down to one of semantics, where one group says that the founders meant that federal law supersedes all other laws, while advocates of the 10th Amendment argue that Article VI does exactly the opposite.
We live in a slightly different world now then when the Constitution was conceived. The only way to understand the original meaning of Article VI, as the founders understood it, is to read their personal interpretations.
Even Alexander Hamilton, a federalist and government centrist (one who supported Federal Reserve central banking, by the way), interpreted Article VI of the Constitution as a clear cut line between what the Federal government can and cannot impose on the states.
The Tenthers, clearly, have a legitimate argument. The way things are going, it is a matter of time before the argument is heard by the Supreme Courts of the United States as well as the States themselves.
There is still “hope” that the US Supreme Court will see the error of past decisions and interpret the meaning of Article VI as it was intended by the founders. Such a ruling would be a paradigm shift in America, probably for the better, and will reinforce the original Constitutional ideas of limited government.
But, if the Supreme Court upholds the Supremacy Clause in favor of the federal government, each individual state will still have the right to move to nullify any Federal laws which they believe to be unjust or an attempted usurpation of a state’s rights protected within the Constitution.
Similar issues lead the country into the Civil War, thus this is not as easy a solution as it may seem. States, as well as the Federal government, must proceed with caution, as the lives of millions of Americans hang in the balance.
Health-care mandates could be ‘null and void’ (WorldNetDaily)