For Immediate Release: Nov. 7, 2012

Americans in 6 states vote to nullify unconstitutional acts

While most pundit and media attention focused on the presidential race Tuesday night, citizens of six states quietly voted to nullify unconstitutional acts.

Voters in Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming all passed measures guaranteeing health care freedom, despite federal mandates in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Massachusetts voters defied federal law and approved a measure to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. And in Washington and Colorado, they took it a step further, decriminalizing pot completely.

“Yesterday, Barack Obama won the presidential election. But, the people of six states voted to exercise their freedom without federal ‘permission,'” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. “Americans on both sides of the political aisle told D.C. to butt the hell out last night.”

In all six cases, the nullifying measures won by comfortable margins.

In Montana, LR-122, an act “prohibiting the state or federal government from mandating the purchase of health insurance,” passed 67-33. Alabama’s Amendment 6 also guarantees health care freedom. It passed 59-41. An amendment to Wyoming’s constitution guaranteeing citizens the right to make their own health care decisions breezed by with 77 percent of the vote. Colorado and Washington both decriminalized marijuana, with voters approving measures in both states by a 55-45 margin. And Massachusetts joined 17 other states legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes, overwhelmingly approving Question Three 63-37.

“For more than a year, Americans fretted over who will occupy the White House for the next four years, and the media and political class have fixated on that race. But these nullification votes at the state level tap into a deeper current,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. “Americans don’t want a king. And they don’t want their lives run by politicians in Washington D.C. shoving one-size fits all mandates down their throats. People in Colorado, Alabama and Washington know what’s best for them, and they just sent a message to D.C. ‘We will not submit to your unconstitutional acts and power grabs any more.'”

In almost every case, opponents of these measures argued that they would prove unenforceable. They insist that states can’t defy the federal government because federal acts always trump state law under  the Constitution’s “supremacy clause.” Maharrey says these people simply don’t understand what the supremacy clause actually means.

“They completely ignore the key phrase ‘in pursuance of.’ Unconstitutional acts aren’t legitimate laws. They are illegal power grabs,” he said. “Sure, the Supreme Court gave us its opinion on the constitutionality of Obamacare and federal marijuana laws. But their opinion is based on about 100 years of unconstitutional precedent. My challenge to folks is to point me to the enumerated power that delegates Congress the authority to create a federal health care system, or to tell every American what kind of plant they can grow in their own back yard. They can’t – because it doesn’t exist.”


The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. A national think tank based in Los Angeles, the Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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