Why we must chain down governmental power

Over the weekend, I had an interesting Facebook discussion with a friend on the need for constitutional restraint on federal power.

He doesn’t see the point.

An article I wrote pointing out that James Madison vetoed a public works bill he actually favored, because he understood the federal government lacked the authority to implement the program sparked the debate.

“You’d still have us traveling on two lane local roads. Cut off and behind economically and culturally from the rest of the world and not ever having visited the moon. Glad I don’t live in that country.”

Actually, the point was that IF we agree the federal government should take action in a certain area, we should first amend the constitution to delegate the power. Not simply allow the feds to do whatever they want to do.

My friend disagreed.

He argued that the federal government should go ahead and do “good things,” even lacking constitutional authority. He accused me of living in the past and idolizing the founders when I insisted that we should remain true to our constitutional roots.


Nullification: Obamacare in New Jersey, NDAA in Michigan, Drug War in Colorado. Tenther News 10-08-12

This episode is made possible in part by the new Nullification Movie. Now available for order at tenthamendmentcenter.com/movie


From New Jersey, Benjamin Mankowski, Sr reports that the state are some small sparks of hope when it comes to nullification of Obamacare. Governor Christie vetoed the bill that would have implemented the health insurance exchanges, and there is hope that he will do so again.

Assemblywoman Alison Littel-McHose introduced legislation to nullify the Affordable Care Act, and the bill will be up for consideration in the 2013 legislative session. In other states, grassroots groups are forming to pressure state legislators to introduce the same. Activists are building networks in Texas, Ohio, Idaho and elsewhere, and we’ll be reporting on their progress as news comes in.

In the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman wrote an article that seems to not only get, but support, the basic principles of nullification. He writes, On Nov. 6, residents of Colorado, Oregon and Washington will vote on ballot measures to allow the regulated production, sale, and use of pot.

In Colorado, which already has a large network of medical marijuana dispensaries, familiarity has bred acceptance. One of the most noteworthy headlines of 2011 came on a news release from Public Policy Polling: “Colorado favors gay marriage, marijuana use, loves Tebow.” Affection for the Denver quarterback may have ebbed since he went to the New York Jets, but the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 is leading in the polls.

Weed would remain illegal under federal law, but good luck to the feds trying to enforce that ban if a state abandons it. As the Drug Policy Alliance notes, medical marijuana has gotten established over the objections of Washington.