State Nullification: A Venerable History

by Kevin Gutzman

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kevin Gutzman will be a featured speaker at Nullify Now! Austin. Get tickets here or by calling 888-71-TICKETS


State nullification of federal policies has a venerable history. Not only is it currently being used by states across the country in opposition to federal policies regarding medical marijuana, Real ID, and Obamacare, and other matters, but its first formulation came from Thomas Jefferson, America’s foremost advocate of liberty, and James Madison, chief author of both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

On June 14, 1798, President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts. One of those laws, the Alien Enemies Act, has been uncontroversial, but the others were highly problematic.

The reason was that they purported to empower Adams to expel aliens whom he adjudged dangerous and to ban American citizens from saying anything that tended to bring the government into ill repute. Under that provision, numerous prominent people, including leading Jeffersonian newspaper editors and even a Vermont congressman, were imprisoned for daring to write or speak against the Adams administration.


Is Hidden Funding in Obamacare Constitutional?

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi March 8, 2010, before the passage of the National Health Care legislation. It turns out that buried deep within the 2,700 page bill there exists funding to the tune of $105 billion dollars built into it to the year 2019, including five billion for this year alone. Is funding beyond the length of time a member is elected to serve constitutional? Definitely not!!

Why would they do this? The planners knew that given the length of the bill (more especially the several hundred pages injected the night before the final vote) that it would not be read. They also knew, given the massive Tea Party rejection of ever more government in our lives, that it was not popular and that they might lose control of the House in the November 2010 elections making possible the defunding of Obamacare. Whether Americans are in support of the Bill or not this has to go down as the most deceitful piece of legislation in American History. Every lawmaker who did not read it fully should be fired in the next election and everyone who did, and let this kind of hidden funding pass, rejected as well.


Maine Town Declares Food Sovereignty, Nullifies Conflicting Laws

The Maine town of Sedgwick took an interesting step that brings a new dynamic to the movement to maintain sovereignty: Town-level nullification. Last Friday, the town passed a proposed ordinance that would empower the local level to grow and sell food amongst themselves without interference from unconstitutional State or Federal regulations. Beyond that, the passed ordinance would make it unlawful for agents of either the State or Federal government to execute laws that interfere with the ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, producers and processors are protected from licensure or inspection in sales that are sold for home consumption between them and a patron, at farmer’s market, or at a roadside stand. The ordinance specifically notes the right of the people to food freedom, as well as citing the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Maine Constitution in defending the rights of the people.


Keep your stinkin’ money

The Florida Supreme Court ruled today that Gov. Rick Scott can reject $2.4 billion in federal money for high speed rail.

“Our taxpayers aren’t going to take the risk of the cost overrun of building it,” Scott said.

He estimates the project will cost $3 billion. And if we examine the history of virtually every other government funded project in the history of humankind, it would be a pretty safe wager to bet that it would cost even more than that.

Sure, the governor received assurances that private money will cover cost overruns. Yeah. Right. After the private entities that will benefit from the project receive a barrel full of tax write-offs, kickbacks and backroom deals to its further benefit.


Texas Takes on the TSA

Joe Pagliarulo (“Joe Pags“) spoke about his experience with the TSA’s invasive security procedures, the 4th Amendment, and what the state of Texas is doing about. Filling in for Glenn Beck, Pagliarulo quoted the following from bill sponsor Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview): Any person who touches another person without probable cause to believe that person…


Going Toe to Toe with Uncle Sam

2010 marked a huge political swing in the Tar Heel State with Republicans gaining control of both houses for the first time since the 1860’s. The Governors mansion is currently controlled by Gov. Beverly Perdue (D)  but is up for grabs in 2012 in a race that is already heating up.

One of the many freshman Republican members of the House is Glen Bradley. Glen is a former Marine, tireless defender of freedom, and someone who gets things done. In his short time of being in Raleigh he has introduced four 10th amendment related bills and is co-sponsoring others as well. One of Mr. Bradley’s latest bills is H240 NC Intrastate Commerce Act. The Act states in part:

All goods grown, manufactured, or made in North Carolina and all services performed in North Carolina, when such goods or services are sold, maintained, or retained in North Carolina, shall not be subject to the authority of the Congress of the United States under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the several states.”

The bill is brief and to the point. It is very much unlike many of the long and superfluous bills we see coming out of Washington these days. Within the bill under the headline “Declarations” Glen takes head on the commonly held beliefs that congress has the power to regulate any and all commerce within North Carolina’s borders. Using the Federal Constitution as the guide for the bill we see that:


Florida Senate Passes Health Care Freedom Act

Florida Senate presidents seldom sponsor legislation. This session, Senate President Mike Haridopolis not only sponsored The Florida Freedom Health Care Act, he delivered it early as promised- on the second day of this years legislative session.

The Health Care Freedom Act when passed by the Florida House will be placed on the ballot in November of 2012. If approved by 60% of the voters this will become an amendment to Florida’s constitution.

The Health Care Freedom Act states A law or rule may not compel, directly or indirectly, any person or employer to purchase, obtain, or otherwise provide for health care coverage.”  Read the entire text at:


Utah Passes Constitutional Tender Act

cross-posted from the Utah Tenth Amendment Center

Today, the Utah Senate passed HB317, a bill which will legalize gold and silver as tender within the state of Utah and exempt the exchange (purchase) of such specie from sales and capital gains taxes. Having already passed the House, the bill will now be sent to Governor Herbert to be signed into law, should he so decide.

This type of bill is one that is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country, with multiple states introducing and considering such legislation. Though Utah is now the first state to have a legislature approve of the idea, the sustained momentum of getting other states to review the proposal demonstrates the resiliency of the campaign for sound money. With the U.S. Dollar plummeting in value, this is an issue that will become more popular as time goes on.

As the author of the bill noted in a Fox News article on the subject, this bill will allow Utahns to better prepare for financial turmoil ahead, more easily diversifying into currency with a long history of stability.


New England Nullification Tradition Marches On

Though many living in New England today might be loathe to admit it, there is a long history of nullification being used in the region to defy unconstitutional federal edicts. This week, the town of Sedgwick, Maine voted to carry on that proud tradition by nullifying certain federal agricultural regulations.

They did so through what might be the most legitimate form of democratic expression left in America: the New England town meeting. (Which have been held in the Sedgwick town hall since 1794.)

According to one report, the residents of Sedgwick voted to enact a law that not only permits

“Sedgwick citizens…to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing,”

but declares that


Abrupt end to Kentucky regular session kills sovereignty bills

The 2011 regular session of the Kentucky State Legislature came to an abrupt end Wednesday, killing any hope of passing one of the several state sovereignty bills still pending.

Senate President David Williams (R-Burkesville) ended the session 12 days early, a political move related to the ongoing budget battle and deadlock over how to resolve Medicare shortfalls.

Gov. Steve Beshear immediately called for a special session to begin next week. But lawmakers can only take up legislation included in the governor’s call during special session, and it appears Beshear will limit the session to the passing the budget and raising the high school dropout age, one of his pet issues.

That leaves several state sovereignty bills dead in the water.