by Andrew Nappi

The following is based off a speech given at the Citrus County, FL tea party on April 17, 2010

The 10th Amendment, also known as the “states rights” amendment says very simply, “The powers 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.” Very simple words…and these simple words mean just this: If it’s not in the enumerated powers of the Constitution, the US government is not empowered to legislate it.

There is nothing in the US Constitution that authorizes the New Deal, the Great Society, or nationalized health care or any other fiscal or civil dishonesty that is being perpetrated upon the people.

When the revisionist historians talk about the all-encompassing power of the United States, there should be two flags that go up immediately: First, we should remember that after the revolution, the states were as free and independent from each other as they were from the British. And those men that gave us that independence were not about to give it away to a government that would impose its will upon them in all matters. Second, at the first constitutional convention, there was a proposal called the Virginia Plan which would have given the federal government the power to veto the actions of state legislatures. It was soundly defeated. I ask you, does that sound like a historical basis to give the United States Government free and total reign over the states? Absolutely not!

Historically-speaking, all-encompassing power to the federal government has never been in our nation’s DNA.

Our opponents seek to assign hatred to our words. They seek to discredit our attempts to return the states to their proper check and balance position on federal power. But neither history nor current events legitimizes this. The truth is that the demand for state sovereignty was expressed emphatically in both northern and southern state conventions.

On February 6, 1788 Massachusetts, the 6th state to ratify the proposed constitution, was the first state to formally request amendments to the document. And their requests went in part, first “that it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid constitution are reserved to the several states to be by them exercised.”

Rhode Island insisted at its ratification convention that the United States shall “guarantee to each its sovereignty, freedom, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this constitution expressly delegated to the United States.”

In Virginia, they demanded the “powers granted under the constitution being derived from the people of the United States be resumed by them whensoever these same powers shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them at their will.” [emphasis added]

That power remains with who? You, and at your will!

Have we become so comfortable with the illusion of freedom that we will ignore the intolerable act of 16,000 additional armed federal agents enforcing punishment on us for not buying health insurance? Will we rely on their systems, their courts and bureaucrats, to protect our rights?

Throughout its history, the Supreme Court has sided with its co-partners in the federal government more times than it has the states. Relying on the Supreme Court to be an impartial player in intergovernmental disputes is like relying on your ex’s Mother to be your mediator in your divorce settlement. The supreme court has been missing in action for generations – and congress and the executive are only too happy about this.

A better option is nullification. The correct term for nullification is actually state interposition. When the central government legislates outside of its enumerated powers, the state government is obliged to interpose, to place itself in between, its citizens and that unlawful legislation to protect the rights of those citizens.

reclaiming-american-revolutionThe concept was first thought of as the states’ right of self-defense. The idea of states’ rights and the defense of same are as old as our revolution and they are not the sole franchise of any one geographical region. The adherence to states rights and state sovereignty threatens no one except those enemies of individualism and liberty.

In writing the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson asserted that “whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, voide and of no force.” They are illegitimate, and they should not be obeyed!

Andrew Nappi [send him email] is the State Chapter Coordinator for the Florida Tenth Amendment Center.

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