When the Tenth Amendment Center co-hosted three events at CPAC in DC this month, the number one question we heard from people when talking amongst the crowds was this…

“The 10th amendment.  hmmmm…which one is THAT?”

Seriously?  Yup.  Over and over.  And over.  We heard the same question.  At first, with all the Tenther hype coming from people like Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and other mainstream conservatives, and the fact that at a recent Fox News/YouTube debate, the 10th Amendment was the highest requested question from conservatives around the country, I thought people were joking.  Or, maybe they were testing us to see if we knew what we were talking about.

But no, I was wrong.  A large number of the people we interacted with at the biggest and most mainstream conservative event in the country had no clue what the 10th Amendment even is.

And they wonder how this country could end up with someone like Barack Obama?  Yeah, well, that’s another column altogether.

After being asked that same question about the 10th a dozen or so times, I decided to give a much simpler reply.  Like this – “The 10th Amendment is the one that says that feds are only allowed to do certain stuff.  That stuff is in the Constitution.  Everything else is left to each of the states as we the people decide.”

That got some really positive responses.  Good, because it’s true.


After I got home to Los Angeles, I started to think about that question more and more  And yes, while the basic principle I shared with people in DC is true, I recognize that people want and need to see practical examples of how something like this is actually playing out.

Talking about how things “should be” is one thing.  But sharing examples of how people are taking action on constitutional issues right now is far more powerful – in my opinion.

When it comes to the Constitutional “rule of construction” known as the 10th Amendment, and actions being taken around the country to reject federal laws, regulations and mandates enacted outside the scope of their constitutional limits – there are loads of examples to share.

In a quick one-on-one conversation, I’ll still continue to give my short version answer about the 10th, but in a forum like this, there’s a great opportunity to share a bit more.  Like this….

“The 10th amendment is the one that says the feds can only do the few things allowed to them in the Constitution.  And…that means people like you are empowered to do something about it when federal politicians violate those rules.  In fact, people around the country are doing something about issues all across the political spectrum right now.  They’re standing up and saying something that you and I should be saying to DC every single day…”


That’s right.  A law passed outside the limits of the Constitution is no law at all.  It’s an act of usurpation.  And when the federal government passes “laws,” regulations…and mandates that aren’t authorized by the Constitution, you are not bound to obey them!


Being early in the year, this is the time when state legislatures are working with people to find ways to say NO to Washington DC.  Here are some of what I consider to be the biggest and best examples happening around the country today.

1. Banning Health Insurance Mandates

Last fall, 66% of Ohio voters, and a majority of every single political demographic, approved Issue 3 – the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment.  This state constitutional amendment says that “no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.”

Ohio is the 10th state to pass something along these lines – a Health Care Freedom Act.  And there are six other states considering similar measures already this year.

Keep track of all the activity on this front here:

2. Rejecting Indefinite Detention

Ten years ago, if you would’ve called the Patriot Act “moderate,” I probably would have puked.  But in comparison to what Barack Obama signed into “law” on December 31, 2011 – primarily sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act – that Bush-era tragedy for American liberty is mild.

When due process is eliminated, these so-called “indefinite detentions” are little more than government-sanctioned kidnapping.  And, personally, I believe any person who kidnaps should get some serious ramifications – whether they work for the government or not.

Tennessee is currently considering a bill that would do just that – sanction federal agents with kidnapping charges in that state.  Other states are taking the position that they will provide absolutely zero material support in any way with the federal government on this issue.  The Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill which would make law that no agent of the Commonwealth could participate in supporting the Feds in arrest without due process.  The vote on that bill?  A whopping 96-4.

So far a total of six states are considering similar bills, what we call in our model legislation here at the Tenth Amendment Center, the Liberty Preservation Act.

Harder to tame than a willful statehouse might be a cluster of counties, towns and cities, each one individually working to Nullify these new kidnapping powers through local law. In just days, a number of localities began to consider similar legislation, and already seven have passed – most recently, Northampton, Mass.

Expect many more to join them soon.  Follow the activity here:

3. Advancing Constitutional Money

With the economy coming apart at the seams, a growing number of people would like to see Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution followed.  It states that “No State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.”

Seems pretty straightforward.  But this hasn’t been followed in ages.

Following Utah’s lead from last year, five other states are working on legislation to allow sound money to actually be used without sanction.  And while this is really just scratching the surface, it’s moving faster than waiting for Washington DC to somehow give up its power to inflate and bail their friends out.

Stay informed of progress on Constitutional Tender Acts here:


Rejecting mandates, restoring due process, and supporting sound money.  These are just three important issues that define what’s happening in the Tenther Movement today.  But there’s so much more.  There are states around the country that are considering similar actions on issues like 4th Amendment violations by the TSA, to 2nd Amendment violations by the BATF.

From mandates to milk. From weed to wars without declaration. And everything in between. Very little of what the federal government does today is authorized by the Constitution.

But even though the establishment politicians and establishment media will never tell you this – we don’t have to sit around and take it.  When 25 states refused compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005, that law remained on the books in Congress, was never challenged in Court, but was rendered virtually null, void and unenforceable in most of the country.

Saying NO works.

Become a member and support the TAC!

When enough people stand up and say NO to Washington DC, and enough states follow their lead and pass laws backing them up, the feds are going to have a hell of a time trying to force their unconstitutional “laws,” regulations….and mandates…down our throats.

NOTE: The preceding was recorded at the close of Tenther Radio Episode 36 on February 22, 2012. The show airs live online every Wednesday at 5pm Pacific Time here. Find us on iTunes at this link.

Michael Boldin