Nullification is Constitutional

by Tom Mullen

The near-showdown in Texas did not break any new ground in the nullification debate. The Texas House of Representatives passed a law that made the touching of genitals or breasts by TSA personnel illegal and punishable by fines and imprisonment. The federal government responded by citing the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, together with a threat to cancel all air travel to and from Texas if the law were passed by the Senate and signed by the governor. The Texas Senate backed down. The crisis was averted – for the moment.

For most, attention was probably focused on the threat to close down air travel. Indeed, this would have been a huge crisis, with economic ramifications far beyond Texas. However, the more important issue here is the constitutional one. The federal government states as if it were fact that under the Supremacy Clause “Texas has no authority to regulate federal agents and employees in the performance of their federal duties or to pass a statute that conflicts with federal law.” Does the Supremacy Clause really say this? Let’s take a look. It says,

“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.”

For those not familiar with the Constitution, that’s it. There are no further provisions explaining what is meant. There is no list of definitions of the various words, as one might expect to find in a contract today. Whatever “supremacy” the federal government claims to have must be found in this one sentence.

Perhaps a fast read might lead one to believe that the last section of this clause settles the question definitively. It says that the judges in every state shall be bound be federal laws “any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” End of debate, right? The Texas law conflicts with the federal law, so the federal law trumps it. This is what the federal government would like you to accept - without question.

There is only one problem for the Feds. Their interpretation of the “Supremacy Clause” is based completely on the last section of this one-sentence provision and entirely ignores the first. One would think that if they were going to cite this clause, then reading the entire sentence would be a reasonable expectation.

So what exactly is “the Supreme Law of the Land?” Any law passed by the federal government? That’s not what the Supremacy Clause says. It says that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof” shall be the supreme law of the land.

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The United States as a Confederation

by Rick Montes, New York Tenth Amendment Center In order to understand the true relationship between the Federal government and the States, we need to understand that we are a Confederation of Sovereign, Independent States who created the Federal government. The United States as a Confederation, and the relevance of the Tenth Amendment

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Senate Vote on Rand Paul’s Budget

Last week, a motion to proceed on a budget resolution introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was decisively defeated in the Senate (7 in favor, 90 opposed). Paul’s proposal would have balanced the budget in five years (fiscal year 2016) through spending cuts and no tax increases. Social Security and Medicare would not have been altered. Instead, the proposal merely instructed relevant congressional committees to enact reforms that would achieve “solvency” over a 75-year window.

That’s hardly radical.

Paul’s proposed spending cuts were certainly bold by Washington’s standards, but they weren’t radical either. For example, military spending would have been cut, in part, by reducing the government’s bootprint abroad. From the Paul proposal:

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Kansas governor signs health care freedom act

TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2011) – In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give in, remaining seated when told to move to the back of the bus.

The state of Kansas joined Parks in spirit this morning, refusing to give in and allow the federal government to trample on its sovereignty over health care – an issue left to the states and the people under the Tenth Amendment.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a health care freedom act into law Wednesday morning.

Provisions in HB2182 target the individual insurance mandate in the federal health care act passed by Congress last year, and prohibit any law from forcing Kansans citizens to purchase health insurance.

A resident of this state has the right to purchase health insurance or refuse purchase health insurance. The government shall not interfere with a resident’s right to purchase health insurance or with a resident’s right to refuse to purchase health insurance.

The bill also provides that Kansas residents can pay directly for health care and prohibits punishment for failure to participate in any health care program.

The government shall not enact a law that would restrict these rights or that would impose a form of punishment for exercising these rights. No provision of this section shall render a resident of this state liable for any punishment, penalty, assessment, fee or fine as a result of such resident’s failure to procure or obtain health insurance coverage or participate in any health care system or plan.

The legislation overwhelmingly passed the Kansas Senate 38-1, and the amended version passed the House 107-14.

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Utah’s Upcoming Opportunity to Uphold the Fourth and Oppose the TSA

Texas has shown leadership in standing up to the TSA and protecting the right of innocent individuals to travel without being molested by a government agent. As was documented in an article on the national TAC site a couple of days ago, the state has unfortunately capitulated as a result of a direct threat from the…

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