Take the 10th–Please!


Tim Cavanaugh was earlier riffing off the 9th amendment's multiple ideological uses; here's a report from the 10th Amendment Center on some recent action on the notion that the states and the people have some powers reserved to them from the Feds.


In states around the country, there's a growing movement to address and resist two of the most abused parts of the Constitution – the Commerce Clause and the 2nd Amendment.  Already being considered in a number of state legislatures, and passed as law in Montana and Tennessee this year, the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA) is a state law that seeks to do just that.

The latest to join the FFA movement?  Kentucky.  Pre-filed for the 2010 legislative session, HB87 seeks to "Create new sections of KRS Chapter 237, relating to firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition that are made in Kentucky, marked made in Kentucky, and used in Kentucky, to specify that these items are exempt from federal law"….

All across the country, activists and state-legislators are pressing for similar legislation, to nullify specific federal laws within their states.

A proposed Constitutional Amendment to effectively ban national health care will go to a vote in Arizona in 2010.  Fourteen states now have some form of medical marijuana laws—in direct contravention to federal laws which state that the plant is illegal in all circumstances.  And, massive state nullification of the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law nearly void.

This sort of nullification of federal law by the states has some awkward history in America, and indeed a court fight is already on over the Firearms Freedom Act in Montana:

In October, the Montana Shooting Sports Association (MSSA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Missoula, MT to validate the principles and terms of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act (MFFA).

"We feel very strongly that the federal government has gone way too far in attempting to regulate a lot of activity that occurs only in-state," explained MSSA President Gary Marbut. "The Montana Legislature and governor agreed with us by enacting the MFFA.  It's time for Montana and her sister states to take a stand against the bullying federal government, which the Legislature and Governor have done and we are doing with this lawsuit. We welcome the support of many other states that are stepping up to the plate with their own firearms freedom acts."

Radley Balko back in September on liberal horror of modern invocations of the 10th.

NEXT: Dave Bing's Last-Second Shot

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  1. Looks like some lesser laws are getting a work over, like civil service and title V


    1. I watched a municipality (city) do this exact thing. It blew up in the city managers face. Ended in some fairly large legal settlements and cost the citizens quite a bit of money.

      Oh the days of civil service, how I don’t miss the. But I do cherish my fond memories. Like the time a supervisor spelled out “inbeqeen” in writing while trying to tell me what exactly he had screwed up.

  2. If I were running for Congress, I’d run on basically five bullet points, and one would be a massive scaling back of the commerce clause.

    If the constitution meant that the federal government can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants and for whatever reason it wants, it would have said that and not what it actually said.

    1. That’s always been my thought. I mean, the founders were smart guys with full command of the language – if they had wanted Congress to be able to do whatever the fuck it pleased, they would have just hauled off and said so. Especially since they were undoubtedly familiar with the theory of parliamentary supremacy – it would have been straightforward enough to have written that into the constitution if they had wanted it.

    2. Wouldn’t scaling back the commerce clause also negate the idea of allowing unfettered interstate commerce for health care insurance plans though?

      1. no, because thats actually interstate commerce a commericial transaction between individuals/ firms over state borders… the purpose of the clause was remove protectionist barriers between states that had occured under the articles of the confederation.

        1. Gotcha. Thanks for the clarification 🙂

  3. Is it just me, or is everyone else spending their Friday night getting drunk and watching the Reason donation names banner flash by?

  4. At least they still take the Third Amendment seriously, this week.

  5. Mr. Longtorso – no, unfortunately you’re not.

  6. Another great job by Reason, keeping us up to date on their opinions.

    Meanwhile, if Reason were to even the slightest extent interested in, you know, actually doing something, they’d ask things like this.

    And, if they were very smart and wanted to have a devastating impact on the debate about issues, they’d asking things like the question in the second update here. I don’t know *exactly* what Reason is lacking that makes it impossible for them to even suggest doing things like that, but it’s certainly a major flaw.

    Those DC party invites must be printed on solid gold or something.

    1. Shut The Fuck Up Lonewacko the donor!

      1. If Lonewhacko were even the slightest bit interested in, you know, actually doing something,

        Instead of suggesting other people do “this”, (where “this” is a link to an unintelligible website that he is pimping) he might tell people what they should do, and then people would be able to tell him what a dumb idea it is.

        He might also clean up his retarded website so it is readable.

        Or conversely he could just STFU. That would be ideal.

    2. Wait, dude, where’s your postscript?

    3. Does this mean Reason is unreasonable?

  7. hmm – drink? (is anyway)

  8. Doesn’t filing a lawsuit in federal court make it sound like you don’t think your state law holds water? Filing the suit shouldn’t be necessary until the Feds try to stop Montanans from doing what their state law says they can do, or am I mistaken? Did the Feds take some action against Montana yet?

    1. It’s nice to sue preemptively, instead of breaking the law and getting 10 years in slam you in the ass federal prison.

  9. I wanna see Dave Koch’s name up top.

    Unless he’s already given all of his money to Americans for Prosperity, John Cornyn. Then I’ll understand.

  10. You silly campesinos and your “Constitution” are getting in the way of my Final Solution.

  11. I knew Barack Obama was secretly a libertarian!

  12. Tangentally related to the topic, the attorney generals (attorneys general?) of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi filed amicus briefs for Raich in Gonzales vs. Raich.

    1. ‘States’ rights, man! Wooo-eee!’

    2. Attorneys general!

  13. As stated here before. The people out of power are always gung-ho for states rights.

  14. The state pols love this stuff. They want everyone talking about the 10th non-stop. That way no one has time to notice their daily expansions of the welfare/regulatory state right in your backyard.

  15. Stop it, children. The Constitution, like you orange people, was meant to be seen and not heard. And by that I mean ignored completely.

  16. I’m lost. The “orange people”, according to Google, is some sort of religious sect. Is there some code here I’m missing?

  17. I believe the code is up, down, left, right, back, back, high kick.

  18. Well, the Firearms Freedom Act supporters do have a point. The commerce clause allows the regulation of **INTERSTATE** commerce – not intrastate. Preventing export (from States) of Federally banned items is a Federal problem – they have absolutely no legitimate authority over intrastate commerce, and they can’t just ban things they don’t like (not legally, anyway).

    We’re reaching a point where the central government in the US will resemble the central ‘government’ of Afghanistan: ruling in name only, and being completely ignored by the vast majority of people most of the time.

    The disconnect between the Federal government, and its legitimate Constitutional authority, is vast and increasing. It’s probably not going to end well.

    1. Goddamn Wickard v Filburn!!

  19. Rights related. I heard Pfizer will not construct anything in the area given to them in Kelo v. New London. All the homes were razed and no new facilities are going in. No new taxes.
    Way to go New London and Supreme Court!
    Throw people out of their houses for no payback! This case should be the poster child of the dangers of too large a government.

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