Here’s a surprise for you – a significant inspiration for the activist methods here at the Tenth Amendment Center came from the American Civil Liberties Union.  Yes, you heard that right – the ACLU.

Back in 2005, the Bush Administration got the REAL ID Act slammed through Congress – and a lot of people from all across the political spectrum were pretty upset about it.  The ACLU was clearly part of that.  In fact, in September of 2005, they registered a domain name which is still active today –

By January of 2006 (or possibly even before), they were already leading the charge nationally to oppose the previously passed federal act.  Their new website was live and offering a LOT of good information about the problems with REAL ID.  One of the most interesting sections of that website was part of their main header navigation – a button called “in the states”   Here’s the text from that page as it stood on January 18, 2006:

The Real ID Act does not directly change driver’s licenses – instead it threatens the states by stating that the federal government will not accept their citizens’ IDs unless the states change their laws.  As a result, the Act cannot enter into effect unless the states change their laws and appropriate funds. This page will monitor and track such legislation, and other developments within the states.

Interesting.  Unless I’m mistaken, it sounds to me like the ACLU was recommending that states refuse to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005.  And, in fact, many states followed that advice over the next few years to some great effect – and the ACLU tracked those actions on that very page.

For those of you who follow our work here at the Tenth Amendment Center this probably sounds quite familiar.  On our legislative tracking page and through our state model legislation – this is pretty much what we do today.  We encourage people to get active locally.  We encourage states to refuse compliance with unconstitutional federal acts.  And we provide model legislation on various issues to help in this process.  Our goals?  To render as many unconstitutional federal acts null and void – or simply unenforceable – in the states.

And whether the issue is mandates, or regulations, or monetary policy, or the TSA – this method has been gaining more and more traction, and even major media attention, over the last few years.

Fast forward to today – in sections 1021 and 1022 of the 2012 NDAA, the US Federal Government has committed one of the worst attacks on your liberty in the history of this country.  I never thought I’d see the day when George Bush, John Ashcroft and the PATRIOT Act seemed “moderate.”  They weren’t, of course – but in comparison to what Barack Obama signed on December 31, 2011, they’re not even close.

Within days of that so-called law being signed by Obama, a number of good people, including Blake at the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition – started working on draft legislation to reject this unconstitutional monstrosity at the state level.

And today, within just a few weeks, already two counties have passed resolutions denouncing the act.  Three states are considering binding laws to help nullify the act – and we have firm commitments from many others around the country to consider the same in the very near future.

So what happened when Rhode Island State Representative Dan Gordon reached out to his state’s ACLU chapter on this?  He tweeted about it on January 30:

Maybe in Rhode Island, the ACLU has got a rogue chapter – or maybe not.  But either way, here’s an important message for the ACLU –

The 10th Amendment IS part of the Bill of Rights!

Look, I get it.  Every one’s got an agenda.  We do too.  The Constitution – every issue, every time. No exceptions and no excuses.  That’s our agenda.

But, that obviously doesn’t fit with what most other political organizations are trying to accomplish.  We know that.  That’s why we’re often a bit of an island here at the Tenth Amendment Center – debating with everyone.    John Adams probably said it best when he wrote:

…”I would quarrel with both parties and with every individual of each, before I would subjugate my understanding, or prostitute my tongue or pen to either.”

So that’s us – principled to a fault, I guess.  But, we are most certainly willing to work with just about anyone and just about any group on single issues.  We don’t have to be in total agreement on everything to push back against the feds on one particular thing – that would be a recipe for disaster.  A recipe that some – just might want it seems?

Bottom line – we want to work with as many different people as possible on various issues.  The more we can find common ground with others, the greater chance we have in winning – for liberty.

On just about every issue, there’s Downsize DC.  On privacy, indefinite detentions, and more, there’s the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.  On mandates and spending, there’s the Tea Party, the Heritage Foundation, CATO Institute and others.  On 8th Amendment violations and habeas corpus issues, there’s World Can’t Wait.  On rejecting corporate bailouts, there’s the Occupy movement.  On local efforts, there’s Oath Keepers and the Free State Project.  On unconstitutional wars, there’s  On the federal reserve, there’s Campaign for Liberty and the Sound Money Center.  On the TSA there’s We Won’t Fly.  And on the NDAA – there’s well – it should be just about everyone.

And that includes you too, American Civil Liberties Union.  You’re entrenched, you’re well-funded, and if George Bush was in office, I’m convinced that you’d be setting up a new website, – and working with people on a local or state level to reject these new federal kidnapping powers.

So – you hate the 10th Amendment.  Fine.  Maybe you don’t want the federal government limited to powers delegated to it in the Constitution. Maybe you incorrectly think the 10th Amendment is only available to certain political persuasions.  I don’t actually care why.   All I care about is this – people who oppose the new NDAA Kidnapping law doing something effective to put it to an end.

In fact, there’s already model legislation to reject the NDAA, and we’re going to see it introduced all around the country.  Some versions are much like what you at the ACLU helped push in response to the REAL ID Act – noncompliance – and those say nothing about the 10th Amendment.

We’ll continue to push versions of that legislation that include the 10th – because the NDAA purports to give the Feds powers that were never delegated to them in the Constitution.  And, you can be safe in activating your supporters to get involved in the non-10th Amendment versions.  We will support those too.  All these efforts will help get people involved in stopping the NDAA, just like you did for years against Real ID.

Become a member and support the TAC!

So let’s work together on this issue – or pretend we’re not.  It doesn’t really matter.  But, if you claim to oppose the NDAA, you’ve got two options.  Stand up and say no.  Or admit you’re lying.

Nothing else will change a thing.

NOTE: The preceding was recorded at the close of Tenther Radio Episode 33. The show airs live online every Wednesday at 5pm Pacific Time here. Find us on iTunes at this link.

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

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