Nullification: A True Liberty Activity

Libertarians in Florida (and in general) need to start addressing issues that are relevant today instead of spouting off about fantasy “solutions”. Talking today about anarchy or open borders does not resonate nor is it a true path toward liberty. Both ideas represent a refusal to deal with real world problems. Neither is a solution to what faces America.

One of the topics we should be talking about is fighting unconstitutional federal laws that affect us in the state of Florida (or any other state you may reside in). This is a problem of “right now” and needs to be solved. Fortunately for us we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This idea has already been thought about and a solution has been formulated. This is an enumerated principle of Libertarians here in Florida and is a very powerful tool to counter unconstitutional edicts, mandates or “laws” issuing from Washington DC. The process is a simple one to understand and extremely effective in its execution. The simplicity of it is what makes it so elegant.

It is called nullification. It is the idea that a state decides that the federal government is operating outside of it constitutional bounds and is infringing on the rights of its citizens. Its action is to declare the law unconstitutional, the reasons for determining this and stating that no one who works for the state or within the state may aid or in any way help this unlawful expression of power originating from Washington DC. It is an idea espoused by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It is the constitutionally tried and true method to fight unconstitutional tyranny issuing from Washington DC.

Before you scoff and say this can never happen realize it has happened multiple times throughout our history and is currently being revived throughout our United States. Look to Washington and Colorado. How long ago did they nullify unconstitutional federal marijuana laws and say the law shall not be enforced within their state limits? Realize, neither stated that they wanted to nor have they tried to change the federal law. What they have done is affirmed that the federal “law” is unconstitutional and not to be enforced within their borders. State agencies and law enforcement are disallowed in aiding or initiating any actions against those people who grow or sell marijuana. The state is to do NOTHING!!! How Libertarian is THAT?! You fight no one. You see unlawful aggression and say that you will not support nor participate in the activity. Without the manpower and logistic support it is almost impossible for the feds to do anything within a state. This is the power of doing nothing.

Another current trend that is not being reported or being under-reported is the “Right to Try” laws. Thirty one states to date have passed laws nullifying unconstitutional mandates of the FDA concerning human “experimentation”.  These laws allow terminally ill patients to purchase drugs that are not currently approved by the FDA. Imagine that? People who are dying have a chance to save their lives in opposition to unconstitutional laws coming out of Washington DC. Imagine also why this is not widely reported on? Imagine if the people figured out they could actually make decisions for them selves and not rely on Washington DC? Things could change for the better and some in charge would not like that.

Other additions to the modern day nullification movement involve constitutional carry. Twelve states where there is no requirements for people to obtain any type of license to carry a gun. Some states and municipalities have nullified ALPR’s (Automatic License Plate Readers) within their bounds of their jurisdictions. This interposition is of varying degrees of restrictions on their collections. Many states have taken up or passed legislation restricting the monitoring and collection of cell phone data within their states via Stingray technology.

I leave hemp for last because it is a special topic for Floridians. Six states have nullified unconstitutional federal laws in their states and now grow hemp legally. Hemp is a wonder crop that has a multitude of uses and is a great crop to rotate to replenish soil. For those who are concerned about misuse, the THC content of hemp is negligible. The use of it as a drug would not be viable. But it IS very useful for many things and is the stuff that prosperity is built upon. Growing a plant that can make rope, canvas, food, drinks, paper, fabric, clothing, building supplies ( including hemp blocks to build houses), and plastics only makes sense. Hemp is the top plant for producing the most cellulose biomass per acre which makes farmers the most money per acre. This biomass is what paper, plastics and textiles are made of. No chemicals or insecticides are needed . All of this from growing this prolific and easy to grow crop. It is not legal in Florida but the industry would thrive here in the state. Because of our weather hemp could be grown year around and be among if not define the highest cultivation rates in the United States. The industries that would be created around this production would create real business and prosperity for Floridians.  We don’t do this because the federal government says it is illegal and the people in Tallahassee have big donor support who like things the way they are. They do not want to fight. That’s where Libertarians get involved.

So you see that nullification is trending and is definitely a force for liberty. Recognize this is a universal principle that will attract many people. . Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Constitutionalists all would agree that determining our own path is a good thing. We will not agree once we have the power what we want to do but at least we the people of Florida decide how we want to live. That is how our country is supposed to work. Washington DC was never supposed to be tinkering with the inner workings of a state. Their focus was to be a representative of the states for the rest of the world and to make sure the states played fair with each other. The primary function of our Federal Government is to secure our rights. Patents and trademarks, weights and measures, coining money, Post offices, postal roads, raising a Navy and Army, conducting war, protecting us from invasion and guaranteeing a republican form of government round out the majority of their enumerated tasks . The rest was left up to the states and the people. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution describes exactly Congress’ tasks. How far away from this ideal have we wandered? That is what we fight today to realize liberty tomorrow.

It is my hope that Libertarians can coalesce and figure out as a group how to present their message to the public so we can be a viable force for liberty. The portrayal of libertarians to date has been abysmal and it is up to us to change that. The powers that be like the status quo- i.e. republicans and democrats being the only viable options. Getting behind and promoting an idea such as nullification is a short term and long term winner for libertarians. The true beauty is it is already part of our principles here in Florida. All we need are representatives and candidates who will espouse this policy. Time to get busy.

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The Constitution IS America

THE reason that we have had the most prosperous and free country to ever grace the face of the earth is because of our Constitution. It was a revolutionary document which allowed the people to rule themselves by creating a federal government of specific enumerated powers. It formalized a way for government to be replaced regularly without the use of violence. Many others living outside of America when the Constitution was ratified had running bets as to how long the republic would last. We beat the odds and became the beacon of freedom for the world. The Constitution literally created The United States of America.

When we turn our backs on the Constitution we turn our backs on our country. If we allow the Constitution to be attacked we allow America to be degraded. We have a wildly out of control federal government that ignores the laws with impunity and tells us everything is all right. We the people have become complacent and through ignorance have allowed our creation to be our ruler. Government is a force. It needs to be constrained. It is much like fire. It can do many good things but left unattended it can harm and kill. Washington DC is out of control and unless we shackle the beast we will witness the dissolution of our country. Yes, it can happen here. We are not immune from the ravages of historical fact.

The ignorance about the “Law of the Land” is agonizing to witness. The Constitution is a relatively short document and can easily be read in under an hour. Most have not done so. It becomes apparent when interacting with them. Understand this: The Constitution is indeed the law of the land. NO local ordinance, federal regulation, executive order, treaty, state law, federal law, opinion or any other utterance by elected officials has superiority to what is written in the Constitution.

If anything coming out of any government is in defiance of the clear and precise language of the Constitution of the United States it is by definition unconstitutional and void of relevance. That includes any branch of the federal government including the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court does not make law. They issue opinions. They also are humans and make mistakes and have human failings which make them fallible. The Supreme Court was created by the Constitution and to think they are the final arbiters of what is constitutional is another fallacy that needs to be dispelled if we are to remain a free nation. If you think that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what is constitutional then you give the federal government unlimited power to do what it wants which is exactly what we have been witnessing. It must end.

Realize that there are enemies to our country who live among us. They are working toward a socialist form of government which is diametrically opposed to freedom and what this country was founded upon. They continually push for bigger and more intrusive government in out lives. They dismiss the Constitution as an outdated document that needs to be rewritten, replaced or just ignored.

What is most unfortunate is that through patriot’s inaction we have allowed a whole generation of Americans to be taught of the faults of this country and none of the grandeur we have accomplished. Our country had been reduced to slavery and oppression in the eyes of many. We have to date lost the battle of education. That must also change for us to survive as a free nation.

George Washington said it best :

A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing than communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country? ”

No truer words have been spoken and the enemies of our country HAVE learned this lesson. We need to support the truth and educate our children in this truth. We cannot rely on the schools to do this. We need to take this task to heart and act accordingly.

It is up to YOU to do something. No one else is going to do your job for you. I realize the teachings of history. The majority is not who makes changes. Changes come when a minority of the people with a majority of the will demands and makes the change. The rest of the people just follow along. It is unfortunate but it is the truth. I am talking to a small minority of people, probably in the 3% range. We must make the changes needed for our country to survive. Make no mistake, I am talking about our survival here. We are moving toward a precipice that will engulf us in tyranny and end our nation as we know it.

So what can you do? First get educated. Do not rely on others to tell you what is in the Constitution. Read and study it yourself. There are many resources to get this knowledge. KrisAnne Hall is a person that has never lead me astray and a person whose writings and words I highly recommend. Reject the idea that the Constitution is a “living” document or it is irrelevant in our modern times. Those two arguments are easily dispelled by the educated person.

The Constitution is a compact between sovereign states to create a federal government. Compact means contract. This “contract” is still in force and is still as relevant as when it was written. It has a specific meaning and its interpretation is not subject to modern day ideals.”

Use as much original documentation as you can find for this education. The Federalist Papers, historical writings between our founders and the actual document are all you need to be way ahead of most people when it comes to understanding the meaning and relevance of the Constitution. Read about the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jay. Martin, Henry, Adams, Washington, and others of the era depict exactly what our Constitution is all about. I say use original documents because there is plenty out there which is written on the subject and is not accurate of the true meaning of the Constitution. Most Americans have been lied to about what is contained in our founding document. Education is the cornerstone of liberty.

When you do get educated spread the truth far and wide. Liberty lives in the hearts of man and can be rekindled by support of the idea. Speak boldly. Speak the truth. Inspire others to do the same. As things get worse in our country more people start questioning the status quo and want answers. Be able to give them the correct answers. This will lead to a better understanding of the principles this country was founded upon and lead to better results in all things. With a proper education we can identify the true problems in this country and take effective action to combat those problems. Candidates who understand the Constitution will gain more support and we can start to populate our local and state governments with patriots and statesmen once again. The conversation of the day will once more turn to politics and through this dialogue we will find liberty.

Understand what is at stake. We have been left the most precious present ever to be bequeathed to a people-liberty. It was  gained by the blood and suffering of many before us and are obligated to pass that down to future generations. Our country was a true miracle in its birth. So many things were against us yet we pushed through them and became a nation. Miracles do not happen with regularity. That is why they are a miracle. Do not forsake that miracle because you depended on someone else to do the work. YOU are part of the solution. Not anyone else. Do not doom our children and countless millions of others to follow to have to fight and die once again for something that we let slip away.

I will leave you with this thought from Thomas Jefferson:

“In matters of style swim with the current. In matters of principle stand like a rock.”

Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino to get plugged into a website that is all about the education Americans need to move our country back to its proper trajectory. My new book “Patriot Ammo: The Words Behind Our Flag” is also available and teaches of our founding documents and principles. The book would make a great present for anybody 16 and up.

Constitutional Cappuccino Podcast: The Supreme Court

This podcast deals with the Supreme Court. A look at what the Constitution says, the importance of juries and a general idea where the Supreme Court fits in our republic. All in under 10 Minutes 🙂

Constitutional Cappuccino Podcast- The Conservative Vision

This is podcast 5 from Constitutional Cappuccino. Take a look at past mistakes, add some common sense reform, mix n some SCOTUS wisdom and you have the essence of this podcast. It starts off a bit slow but when it hits its stride some great information and thoughts are given. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZQF2RwZPHw

500 Words or Less: Nullification

Nullification is a term that was coined by Thomas Jefferson in his famous Kentucky Resolution against the Alien and Sedition Acts. It refers to the idea that a state has the power to say that a “law” is unconstitutional and has no force within their state boundaries. Madison also penned the Virginia Resolution which said much of the same. I strongly urge you to read these documents. They are very short  and very eloquently expresses the convictions of the author of the Declaration of Independence and the architect of the Constitution. Very powerful words.

Nullification has nothing to do with repealing the federal law. This has everything to do with saying that the sovereignty of the state is being exerted because the “law” (in parenthesis because it is not a true law) is an unauthorized act and is supported by no force of law. The states are the sovereign entity in our constitutional republic. They created the Constitution which in turn created the federal government. They are the final arbiters of what is constitutional because they are the creators of that Constitution.

Nullification is a tried and tested remedy to federal government overreach. One myth to clear up while teaching a lesson in the history of nullification is the idea of state’s rights being used to justify secession in starting the Civil War. States rights was involved in inflaming the passions which led to the Civil war but not like you were probably taught. The northern states exerted their state’s rights with a series of “Personal Liberty” laws which said that the Fugitive Slave act was nullified in these states. A trial by jury was guaranteed by these laws in contradiction to federal law among other provisions struck down. The secession movement was sped up by northern states not complying with the unconstitutional federal law.

Another myth to clear up- any law that the federal government passes is truly law. Only those laws passed in pursuance of the Constitution are truly law. If they violate the Constitution they are by definition unconstitutional. The states created the federal government to perform specific enumerated tasks. When the government does something outside of those bounds then it is up to the states to protect their citizens from any effects of these unconstitutional edicts.

Nullification is known to most, though it is not identified as such. What has happened recently in Colorado and Washington state concerning marijuana is nullification. Both those states told the federal government that the unconstitutional federal laws concerning marijuana are not going to be enforced in these states and that cooperation by any state or local official is forbidden.

And that is the beauty of nullification. It has to do with the state doing NOTHING. They do have to pass a law but the law states that NO help will be forthcoming to support this unconstitutional decree from the federal government. Whether it be ALPR’s , Stingrays or other unconstitutional edicts, nullification is the rightful remedy.

Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino to get plugged into a website that is all about the education Americans need to move our country back to its proper trajectory. My new book “Patriot Ammo: The Words Behind Our Flag” is also available and teaches of our founding documents and principles. The book would make a great present for anybody 16 and up.

Constitutional Cappucccino- The Constitution Podcast 3

Here is my 3rd podcast of Constitutional Cappuccino. It deals with the Constitution and specifically its origins meaning and purpose. I hope you enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7TAQVpqlog

The Sheriff:The First Line in Defense of Liberty

I know that with election time coming up many races are filling the screen of your TV and computer. The Presidential election coming up looks to be one of the more interesting in recent times. But I am here to tell you why I believe that one race that a lot of people overlook is the most important to get involved in- Sheriff of your county.

The history of the Sheriff is many centuries old. The first written record of the Sheriff dates back to the reign of King Alfred in the 9th century. The King restructured the kingdom into “shires” and appointed “reeves” to administer his will on his subjects. These shire reeves eventually became to be known as the Sheriff.

It is interesting to note that when King John of England was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, the document which introduced many concepts that were incorporated into the United States Constitution over 500 years later, that the “Sheriff” is mentioned 27 times (out of 63 clauses) in the document, and the powers of the crown to use him against the people was curtailed and defined.

When the idea of the Sheriff was brought to our shores in America, it was a lot closer to today’s idea of the Sheriff. Gone was the allegiance to the power of the state (or monarchy) but instead the allegiance was to the people who elected them. Thomas Jefferson described a Sheriff as ” the most important executive offices of the country”. High praise from a respected man.

The Sheriff in no uncertain terms is the highest law enforcement authority in his/her county. The Sheriff is elected by the people and charged to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and that of their own state. That is their duty and they are responsible directly to the people to perform that duty. The are the law of the county.

The Sheriff’s responsibility is to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens from wherever that encroachment occurs. Most people rightly attribute crime fighting to the Sheriff. That is a major responsibility. But the Sheriff’s responsibility does not end there. If ever a citizen of a county has their constitutional rights violated by any representative of the government, the first line of defense to this intrusion if the Sheriff. If an arrest is to be made in a county, the Sheriff has the right to be informed before the arrest is made in his/her county. The Sheriff should determine that the arrest is proper, and was properly adjudicated through the courts. Our federal government is having a much higher tendency to skip due process and render judgements which are unconstitutional.

In New Mexico, Sheriff Scott London of Eddy County notified the IRS that the sale of county resident Kent Carter’s property was canceled until he received due process of law and his appeal was heard. Yes, he successfully told the IRS “no”! Sheriff Richard Mack of  Graham County Arizona was instrumental in the ruling Printz vs. United States in which parts of the Brady Bill were ruled unconstitutional. In Indiana, a farmer who produced raw milk was harassed by the FDA. They conducted warrantless searches of his property and even subpoenaed him to produce production records until Sheriff Brad Rogers interposed after inspecting the farm. He wrote the FDA a letter that stated they needed a signed court order and to get his permission before they visited the farm again. After that, a court date was cancelled and the farmer received no more inspections by the FDA. These are just a few cases that the Sheriff was involved in upholding their constituent’s rights.

Looking to the future some in Congress, the judiciary and even in the executive branch would like to get their hands on your guns or curtail your ability to carry them as seen recently in the 9th Circuit judgement that ruled concealed carry is not a constitutional right. A constitutional Sheriff would NOT allow this blatant violation of our right to keep and bear arms. That is within their power. Another flagrant violation of our rights are gun free zones. These criminal hunting grounds are unconstitutional and need to be eliminated. A constitutional Sheriff would simply ignore anyone who was caught exercising their right to carry in those zones and refuse to prosecute. The Sheriff cannot change laws, but they can protect the rights of their citizens from any encroachment from unconstitutional laws in their county. Think of recent actions by the BLM, FDA, IRS and EPA and what they could do to you if you appear on their radar.

We are lucky here in Orange County Florida for we have such a candidate running for office. His name is Spike Hopkins. He has had a long career as a law enforcement officer and has some great plans to make the Orange County Sheriff’s department more effective once again. He is well respected by his co-workers and others I have talked to. He is a congenial man yet is serious about the work of the Sheriff’s office. More importantly, he is a man who would take his constitutional oath seriously and protect the rights of Orange County citizens from encroachment. He is a member of the CSPOA (Constitutional Sheriff and Police Officers of America)  and Spike is a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment.He has made the pledge to me personally that he would never confiscate guns nor allow it to happen in his county. For those of you who say this could never happen then his actions will not be needed. For the rest of us living in reality having this protection would give each of us a confidence knowing that the Sheriff has our backs when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

I urge you to take a look and support Spike Hopkins. A person who supports the Constitution is a very good thing these days. When they are qualified and do run for Sheriff, they need our support, money and vote. A good man who the residents of Orange County deserve as their next Sheriff is Spike Hopkins. http://www.spikeforsheriff.net/

Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino to get plugged into a website that is all about the education Americans need to move our country back to its proper trajectory. My new book “Patriot Ammo: The Words Behind Our Flag” is also available and teaches of our founding documents and principles. The book would make a great present for anybody 16 and up.

A Time for Conservatives to Unite

With Super Tuesday behind us it is time to face reality. tRump must be stopped. He is no conservative and his presence in the Republican nomination process allows a Hillary victory. It is time for conservatives to unite.

It is now apparent that Ted Cruz is the man to take tRump down and the one to beat Hillary. Rubio’s poor showing (congratulations on Minnesota though) in this election cycle shows he is consistently taking a back seat to Cruz with conservative voters. Cruz has shown he can stand toe to toe with tRump and win. Texas was a big win, but Oklahoma is even bigger by the fact it was the first closed primary state. When tRump cannot rely on democratic voters he is definitely put at a disadvantage.

Rubio has some problems of his own. Florida is around the corner and if he loses to tRump there it could seriously damage his future chances at office. It would definitely harm any future campaign he was looking to enter. Rubio is the last of the establishment’s candidates and even with their backing he is not competitive.

There have been indications that the GOP establishment is biting the bullet and may get behind a Cruz candidacy. Lindsey Graham came out after his now infamous “no help from Senate after Cruz is shot on the Senate floor” remarks and lamenting the fact it may be time to unite behind Ted Cruz to take out tRump. Other indications show that the anti-Cruz establishment stance is softening out of desperation over a tRump candidacy.

This brings me to the point of this article. Cruz must ask Rubio to be his nominee for 2016. Right now if that was done it would cement the anti-tRumpers into one coalition. Carson and Kasich would see the writing on the wall and either have to support tRump or be forced out of their campaigns. Cruz/Rubio would take the tRump campaign to task and they would be the Republican team for 2016.

If Cruz and Rubio act quickly enough, they could win Florida for their efforts. This would really put a crimp in the tRump machinery and more importantly for Rubio preserve his image for future political office. This would be a win-win situation for Cruz and Rubio on all fronts.

Some will say that this will be impossible due to the differences of the candidates. Poppycock is my response. Look to 1980. Reagan picked George Bush who is the one who created the term “voodoo economics” to describe Reagan’s economic policies. They ended up with a successful run together and Bush benefited with becoming President afterwards. Rubio is still young. He has plenty of time for future runs. This would look good on his resume.

Looking back to the founding of our country we witness James Madison firmly on the side of the federalists early on. Through his association with Jefferson however, he soon became a major force in the anti-federalist camp. He had argued against a Bill of Rights during the constitutional convention yet was the one who proposed during the first Congress that a Bill of Rights was necessary. This was due to Jefferson’s influence with Madison. I see something like that happening if Cruz and Rubio team up. Rubio seems to be a smart man who knows the Constitution but has kept some bad company. A little guidance and working with a consistent constitutional conservative will help him for the rest of his years.

I do not know if this is just tilting at windmills but to me it seems like solid logic. Everyone who has a potential to be a winner in this deal has it under their control to make this happen. This allows conservatism to prosper and we can bring the Constitution back to the White House and move toward prosperity again.

Cruz/Rubio 2016. Bring the Constitution back to the White House.cruzrubio2016

The Constitution is a Compact

The Constitution was a creation of the 13 sovereign states of the Confederation. It was an agreement between them to form a federal government to perform specific delegated duties. It is a compact. The term compact in this instance means a contract between sovereign powers. This idea has been relegated to the scrap heap of history and needs to be revived. It is an important idea that needs to be known to properly defend the Constitution from attack.

Because the United States Constitution is a compact then contract law applies. One of the biggest attacks today on constitutional protections has been the United States Supreme Court. The prevailing idea in Washington DC is that the Constitution is an old document and new interpretations need to be read into it. This is exactly opposite what contract law tells us.

Contract law tells us, rightfully and logically so, that when there is a question about a contract that a “meeting of the minds” is evaluated. This “meeting” represents the intent of the original writers of the contract. It has nothing to do with expanding or diminishing the contract. When the Founders created the Supreme Court they envisioned it going back to original principles to make decisions. The ideas of state sovereignty, enumerated powers, the people’s rights and the primary function of government being instituted to protect those rights would be reflected in every decision they make.

Another important aspect of contract interpretation is to read the document as a whole and not to evaluate specific ideas out of the context of the contract. One example: In our Constitution it states that Congress shall be the originator of all laws and in Article 1 Section 8 their is a specific list of enumerated powers that has been delegated to Congress. To think that a clause such as “general welfare” is an expansion of that delegated power is ludicrous and disingenuous. Why list any enumerated powers at all? It is because the “general welfare” clause has nothing to do with what we consider “welfare” today and was never intended to be an expansion of power, but a direction for the Congress to adhere to when making decisions.

The Founders wrote prolifically. They knew that later generations could benefit from their wisdom and their vision for what they had created. They also knew that these writings could be useful for future courts to interpret the ideas contained in the words of the Constitution. The writings of Madison, Jefferson, and Hamilton are integral to the understanding of the document. They explained the exact meanings found in the Constitution including the “necessary and proper” clause, the “supremacy” clause and what “general welfare” meant. What these ideas have morphed into would have the founders picking up arms again to combat the tyranny on their doorstep.

When interpretations of interpretations of court cases takes us away from the original and clear meaning of the Constitution then they must be fought. Being a creation of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is not the final arbiter of the Constitution. There is a reason they issue “opinions”. The Constitution has a clear and plain meaning. It was written to create a federal government of specific enumerated duties that would help the states collectively to prosper. Whenever the court makes interpretations that expand the powers of the federal government it is doing so in spite of what is written.

Among other things, it is high time that the 9th and 10th Amendment are dusted off and the proper relationship between the states and the federal government is once again realized. This must happen for our republic to survive and for prosperity and liberty to once again be part of our national lexicon.

Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino to get plugged into a website that is all about the education Americans need to move our country back to its proper trajectory. My new book “Patriot Ammo: The Words Behind Our Flag” is also available and teaches of our founding documents and principles. The book would make a great present for anybody 16 and up.

State Sovereignty and Nullification

This is adapted from a pocket pamphlet that I wrote and distribute.

The states are the sovereign entities in these United States. Too many people have believe the notion that the federal government is supreme. That is a dangerous myth that needs to be dispelled. It is also responsible for many of the problems we see here in the United States.

I will start this story with the Lee Resolution. It was the law that made us free of Great Britain. It was passed on July 2, 1776 and stated:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”

It recognized the sovereignty of the states. Notice that the word “state” is different than what we think of today. “State” in this context meant a sovereign country. Notice the term “State of Great Britain”. That is what is meant by “state” in this resolution. So it was resolved that the 13 colonies were free and independent states, what we consider countries in today’s meaning. Also note that at this point there was no federal government.

Move ahead two days. The Declaration of Independence was issued. This document described what our mission was and why the colonies were doing what they were doing. What most miss in this document is the last paragraph. In it the idea of sovereign states was spelled out once again.

“That these united Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.”

At this point the colonies are now the united States of America. The term “united” is not capitalized in the original document and is simply describing the situation of the states in America. They were united against the common threat of Great Britain and that they are free and independent states (countries) that have the power that any other sovereign country has.

Then the revolutionary War was fought. The Colonies triumphed. During the war, the Articles of Confederation were passed. It was agreed to by Congress November 15, 1777 and later ratified on March 1, 1781. The British surrender at Yorktown marked the end of warfare and the Treaty of Paris in 1783 formalized that arrangement.

After the war the Articles of Confederation were still in place. The states were still sovereign. One of the biggest problems faced by the new America was that the Articles of Confederation gave the federal government no real power to coerce states to meet their obligations. A large debt had be accrued during the war and the Treaty of Paris required American citizens , the states and the Confederation to recognize their debts to foreign entities. States were passing laws that protected their own citizens at the detriment to other states or just ignored the treaty provisions. Things were a mess.

So a convention was called for the states to come together to strengthen the Articles. When the Constitutional Convention met in 1783 it was quickly determined that the Articles of Confederation were inadequate to the task and a new Constitution needed to be written. So that was accomplished and on September 17, 1787 the Constitution was approved by the convention.

We had a federal government that would be created when the Constitution was ratified by delegations of the states. It was important to the Founders that the state legislators endorsed the Constitution and that the it was not put to a popular vote. So it proceeded to be ratified in the states until a majority was reached and the Constitution was the law of the land.

What the Constitution created was a limited federal government, deriving its powers from the states that created it. Remember, to this point in history the States were recognized as completely sovereign. They had all of the powers of a modern day country. The Constitution DELEGATED certain ENUMERATED powers to the federal government. These powers were mostly “external”, powers that gave each individual sovereign state a common voice to talk to the rest of the world with. Instead of making 13 separate treaties with every country who wanted to deal with us, we had a united voice that spoke for all of the states. James Madison was most eloquent on this point.

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce; with which the last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.

Here is a copy of Article 1 Section 8 where those enumerated powers were described.

The Congress shall have the power

1. to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States:

2. To borrow money on the credit of the United States:

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes:

4. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States:

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures:

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States:

7. To establish post-offices and post-roads:

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries:

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court:

10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations:

11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water:

12. To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years:

13. To provide and maintain a navy:

14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces:

15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions:

16. To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress:

17. To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings: And,

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

This is what powers were DELEGATED to the federal government. This is all they are supposed to concern themselves with. The rest is left to the States and the people.

A very important side note. The Bill of Rights was not part of the original Constitution. It was determined by the majority in the Convention it was not needed. It was argued that the federal government created with its enumerated powers could not infringe on our natural rights. Some argued that by listing those rights that government would be able to interpret them. For instance a freedom of the press. No one would question the validity of this provision but future governments could redefine what “press” meant to circumscribe its protections. Others argued that the sovereignty of the states would insure that the citizens of the states were protected from the federal government trying to usurp the people’s natural rights.

When it came to ratification this argument for a Bill of Rights was one of the strongest that the Anti-Federalists had. The Anti-Federalists believed that too much power was ceded to the federal government. They believed that government tyranny and an erosion of state sovereignty would occur if the Constitution was ratified.

The Constitution was ratified but the debate on a Bill of Rights continued. Some were even calling for an Article 5 Convention to amend the new Constitution. The Federalists had overplayed their hand. James Madison took up the cause of a Bill of Rights and with urging from Thomas Jefferson introduced a Bill of Rights in the newly formed Congress. Many states had the protections of their natural rights spelled out in their State Constitutions. It became apparent that it was needed at the federal level to qualm people’s fears of federal tyranny. In 1791 enough states ratified them to be the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution.

Many people are familiar with the First Amendment, even more with the 2nd, then less is understood as you move down the list. The two that stand out and are the least understood are the 9th and 10th Amendments. The 9th Amendment states:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people “

That meant even though it was not listed didn’t mean that a right was not retained by the people.

The 10th Amendment in my opinion is the Amendment MOST misunderstood or unknown by the American public.

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.”

Its meaning is quite simple. The delegated powers of the federal government are listed and that is all they can do. Anything else that needs to be done is handled by the states or by the people themselves. It reinforces the idea and practice of a limited federal government. It also supports the idea of state sovereignty and the retention of rights by the people.

Some will say that the federal government is supreme. They will even cite the “Supremacy Clause” in the Constitution to back up that erroneous assertion. The Supremacy Clause is located in Article 6 and states:

This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. “

It does NOT state that any law created by the federal government is the law of the land. It states that the Constitution and laws made in PURSUANCE thereof are the law of the land. Unconstitutional law is not recognized as supreme. If our federal government tries to do something that is not in their enumerated duties then it is by definition unconstitutional and need not be followed. No state or person is liable to follow those laws. This is how our republic is supposed to operate. Through ignorance we have moved away from that ideal.

Some of the more desperate will say that the states gave up their sovereignty when they ratified the Constitution. This is a laughable assertion. Realize that the Constitution is a compact, a fancy word for a contract between sovereign powers. Those sovereign powers were the states. The contract was the Constitution. The creation of that contract was the federal government. The federal government was a product of this contract. The States delegated certain powers to the federal government. Nothing was given away.

Understand what “delegated” means. It does not mean to give up or give away. It means to allow someone else to use specific powers in your name. The best example of this is a simple restaurant model. Imagine a restaurant that serves burgers, fries and shakes. The owner of the business hires people to do these tasks. What would happen if the fry guy came in one day and decided not to make fries? Would the owner throw up his hands and say “Sorry folks, no fries today, the fry guy isn’t doing them”. Or would he fire the fry guy, hire a new one or maybe be the fry guy himself until someone else could be hired? Because the fry guy decides not to make fries, does that restrict the owner from doing it himself or finding someone else to do it? Does the fry guy own the right to make fries? Of course not. What happens if the fry guy decides he would rather make onion rings because some people want them? Can he tell the owner that he is now making onion rings? Another ridiculous question whose answer is emphatically NO! This example is no different than what is happening today in our country. Our federal government neglects tasks it is actually supposed to handle and performs tasks it is not allowed to do. The problem is the states allowing it to continue.

The federal government is usurping state powers by doing at lot of what it is doing. The Affordable Care Act, the E.P.A. and B.L.M. are some of the higher profile examples of these usurpations. These are functions performed by the federal government with no constitutional relevancy. Refer to Section 1 Article 8 as to the true responsibilities of our federal government. These others are functions that the states or the people rightfully should be in charge of. We have moved past that paradigm quite a while ago.

This brings us to nullification. Nullification is a state protecting its citizens ( interposition) from unconstitutional federal laws. We have seen states of late flexing their constitutional muscle. Colorado and Washington are two of the highest profile states in this category. They have made marijuana legal in their state in opposition to unconstitutional federal laws. This is what nullification looks like. Other states have jumped on the bandwagon. Kansas has The Second Amendment Protection Act which states

Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.”

The 18th Amendment (Prohibition of alcohol) was finally repealed because of nullification efforts. Some states refused to enforce the laws. It was common in areas to have the juries nullify cases by voting not guilty when these offenses came before them. It could not be enforced without the help of the people and the states.

Northern abolitionist states before the Civil War passed “personal liberty” laws with thwarted the federal fugitive slave act. Those people were not going to be party to slavery and they had their states supporting them. They didn’t repeal the fugitive slave act, they just didn’t participate or support it.

James Madison chimed in on this. (from the Virginia Resolution):

That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and appertaining liberties to them.”

Thomas Jefferson had something to say also (contained in the Kentucky Resolution):

Resolved, that the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

Nullification IS the constitutionally tried and true method to reign in government overreach. Realize that in every day terms how nullification works. The federal government requires assistance to further its attacks on American’s rights. The states up to this point have been their accomplices. In the states where nullification is taking hold, the local law and government forces are forbidden to aid and abet federal intrusion on the affairs of a state. Without this help the feds do not have the resources or manpower to support these operations. The other aspect is if the federal government is not doing a duty it is supposed to then the state is obligated to perform that duty until the federal government starts. It is that simple.

Nullification is the avenue to curb the federal government. Electing new officials to the juggernaut in Washington hasn’t helped reduce the size nor unconstitutional actions in government, no matter the party in power. Federal officials are hard to influence. They are distant and in most cases hardly seen by their constituents. State officials, however, are MUCH more accessible and influenced. I know where my state representative lives. My Representative also works in the area. He is very much part of the community and is accessible to the public. They invariably live among the people that they represent. More importantly, they are easier to influence and if need be replace than those at the federal level if they are part of the problem. An effort by a relatively small group of people can determine the outcome of a state election much more readily than a federal one. The bonus is the states do hold the power in our republican equation.

This is not a new idea. It is just one that hasn’t been taught in America for quite a while.

So the question naturally comes up, “What can I do?”. It is up to the people to right their own government. The government is not going to do it themselves.

Education. Learn about the Constitution. There are many places to get good information on the Constitution. Some of my favorites that I suggest are

1) KrisAnne Hall ( http://krisannehall.com/ ), a lawyer turned constitutional advocate. She travels the country talking to groups of people and state legislatures informing them to the truth behind our Constitution. She has a few books out and does a radio show.

2) The 10th Amendment Center ( http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/) is another great resource for all things nullification.

3) I also recommend Hillsdale College (http://online.hillsdale.edu/dashboard/courses) and their Constitution 101 and 201 courses. Very much like a college course, it is structured and filled with abundant amounts of information.

4) Read books. Research and find good books on the subjects of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and read them. Nothing like a good book for information.

Remember, true education takes time. Lots of time. Don’t forgo this step or your further efforts will be reduced in effectiveness.

Remember, education is a tool to be used to inform people so they can DO something. Simply learning something and doing nothing with the information is useless and simply a waste of time. While the more informed person is taking action to support the Constitution, state’s rights and nullification, newer members must be found and educated so they can take their place on the front lines to bolster their numbers. This process should be a basic model for activism. New people must always be added to keep groups vibrant and successful.

Social media is a good avenue to disseminate information. Find like minded people and make connections. Facebook and twitter are great avenues to use to get the message of liberty out.

Find groups in your area where like minded people meet. Go to meetings. Make connections and see what people are DOING. Lots of people talk but unfortunately do little more than talk. If you can’t find any effective groups then start your own. I recommend attaching yourself to other established groups to further the cause of liberty but sometimes they simply don’t exist in your area.

Most importantly, don’t be silent. Speak up whenever appropriate to support the ideals found in the Constitution.

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”