This month marks the Tenth Amendment Center’s eighth anniversary.
Looking back, it’s pretty clear that we’ve come a long way baby! And to celebrate, we’ve published a comprehensive report outlining the state of the nullification movement.
The Tenth Amendment Center started as a little blog pointing out unconstitutional federal overreach. From its humble beginnings, the organization grew to become the leader of dynamic nullification movement pushing back against unwarranted federal power.
We believe the movement is revolutionary.
The motives behind the various actors in the modern nullification movement vary as much as any group of people when it comes to their political goals. Some issues draw people from the right, others from the left. Political philosopher Murray Rothbard considered this “dynamism” one of the “major characteristics” of a revolution, as it creates an “unfreezing of the political and social order” for people, whatever their motivations may be.
Of course, when we call the nullification a revolution, or revolutionary, we don’t mean one characterized by a physical upheaval against the established order. Instead, we see a deeper, more philosophical revolution developing – a revolution in thought.
Today’s nullification movement offers hope of smashing the established political order; one of “voting the bums out” only to see new “bums” violate the Constitution in more costly and dangerous ways each year, or relying on federal courts to limit federal power, or simply begging federal officials to give us back our freedom.
This past legislative session saw some type of nullification bill introduced in nearly every state, addressing issues from NSA spying to preserving the Second Amendment. To highlight just how far the movement has come, the Tenth Amendment Center recently published a comprehensive State of the Nullification Movement Handbook.
The story begins with California’s efforts to nullify the unconstitutional federal prohibition on marijuana in the mid-1990s. As the vote to legalize marijuana for medical use neared, three separate presidents came to the California to campaign against it. Beyond the philosophical opposition to the proposition, the constitutional claim was that the supremacy clause of the Constitution didn’t allow the people of California to defy federal policy on marijuana.
But defy they did.
After voters approved Prop 215, the feds ratcheted up enforcement efforts. That didn’t stop California from moving forward to implement its policy. In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled against the state. That didn’t stop California from moving forward to implement its policy. In fact, despite a concerted federal effort to thwart California’s medical marijuana legalization at every turn, it grew and other states joined.
As of today, 22 states have legalized medical use of cannabis, and Washington and Colorado took the next step last year and legalized recreational use by popular vote.
State defiance on weed created a template now being used to fight Obamacare, federal violations of the right to keep and bear arms, NSA spying and other federal overreaches.
The State of the Nullification Movement Handbook provides a complete look at the nullification movement today and provides direction for moving into the future.
The booklet starts by making sure we all understand the terms, examining the legal and popular definitions of nullification. It goes on to outline James Madison’s nullification blueprint in Federalist 46 and the legal doctrine known as anti-commandeering that reflects the “Father of the Constitution’s” strategy.
After laying out a foundation for the nullification movement, the handbook delves into specific issues, detailing the various efforts and strategies employed, and making recommendations for future action. For each issue, you will learn what has and has not worked, and find specific recommendations for the next step forward, depending on the political climate of your state. The major issues covered include Second Amendment preservation, NSA spying, hemp, healthcare, drones and marijuana. The handbook also covers other issues in less depth, including NDAA indefinite detention, Common Core, constitutional tender and right to try.
Finally, the handbook will provide insight into just what it takes to get a nullification bill passed.
It requires much more effort than you might think. The average bill goes through 13 steps to passage. An effective campaign takes many as eight action steps at each phase. That means 13 blogs to report on what’s happening. Thirteen action alerts so the public knows what to do and who to call to get the bill passed. Thirteen social media reports. Thirteen email campaigns, and so on.
The TAC can claim success in getting nullification bills introduced and passed with extremely limited resources. Our success rate has been high when those resources are dedicated to specific bills and low when resources we lack resources and support.
The nullification report wraps up by providing a specific breakdown of the Tenth Amendment Center’s financial position and provides information on how you can get involved with the movement.
We are extremely excited about the future of nullification as a way to rein in overreaching power and increase liberty. We believe the revolution will continue to swell. And we’re thrilled that we can offer this high quality, comprehensive report on the movement as a way of celebrating our eighth anniversary.
Please take some time and check it out.
And thanks for all of your support. Without you, the TAC simply wouldn’t exist.