Why Doesn’t the Tenth Amendment Center Endorse Political Candidates?

politicianMany of the liberty-minded and tea party groups in Tennessee and across the country are gearing up for the 2014 elections. Groups and coalitions are forming up to “beat this guy” or “elect that gal.” This is all well and good. Getting good people who understand constitutional principles into office and keeping them there is a noble and important endeavor.

Not surprisingly, the Tenth Amendment Center gets constant requests to endorse candidates, or join coalitions to choose candidates to run for a particular office. A few months ago, a Tennessee state politician offered the Tenth Amendment Center $1,000 to support a campaign for federal office. Needless to say, the offer was flatly refused.

The Tenth Amendment Center does not endorse candidates or politicians, and it never will.

Here’s why.

People aren’t infallible.

First, people disappoint. With rare exceptions, even politicians that start out with the best of intentions and a commitment to their principles become corrupted over time with access to power. It’s a given that no human being is perfect or infallible. That’s why we maintain our allegiance to the ideals and principles of the Constitution – never politicians.

While we work with a elected officials to accomplish our goals, we are adamant about maintaining our objectivity and independence. Suppose a politician runs a good Tenth Amendment bill, then turns around and does something incredibly stupid. An endorsement implies that we support all aspects of a politician’s policy initiatives. But by maintaining our objectivity, we can praise elected officials when they do the right things, and call out politicians when they stray.  Keeping our distance from campaigns keeps us from getting caught in the predicament of having to ignoring bad behavior because of an endorsement.

Chasing every barking dog…


Madison County Tennessee Passes “Internet Sales Tax Opposition Resolution”

MadisonCoCourthouseMadison County Tennessee now has two firsts. The county was the first in Tennessee to pass a 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution against federal gun control schemes, and now it is the first in Tennessee to pass an Internet Sales Tax Opposition Resolution.

The resolution is intended to protest and push back against the federal government’s efforts toward passage of an internet sales tax.

Commissioner Adrian Eddleman told the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center that the resolution passed the Madison County Commission with the support of 15 out of 25 county commissioners.

The full text of the “Internet Sales Tax Opposition Resolution” is below.


Action Alert: Tennessee Bills Moving the Week of April 15

600px-Tennessee_State_Capitol_2009The 2013 legislative session is coming to a close. But we still need your help contacting legislators about the bills that are moving. Important items moving this week include:

  • Stopping the Obamacare Medicaid expansion,
  • Putting major restrictions on the use of drone technology in Tennessee,
  • Two constitutional tender bills, and
  • Asset forfeiture reform.

You can follow our “Legislative Mischief Alerts” to several bills where we know legislators or perhaps even Governor Haslam are engaged in underhanded tactics to block good bills. Be sure to let legislators know you are on to these tactics when you contact them.

Please contact the legislators listed for each bill. Remember to be polite, but firm in your communications with legislators. Remember that on short notice phone calls always count for more than e-mails. We need to flood legislators with support for these bills.


Tennessee Anti-Drone Bill Back in the Senate, Needs Your Help Now

droneSB0796/HB0591, or the “Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act,” has passed both the Senate and the House, but it is going back to the Senate Monday because of an overly vague and dangerous amendment added to the bill in the House.  That amendment should be rejected and the bill passed in its previous form.  (read on for details and action items)

Why is Amendment HA0452 Dangerous?

The House added amendment HA0452 to SB0796/HB0591 which adds a vague provision to the drone bill to allow the use of drones “To protect life and property during crowd monitoring situations.” Of course the amendment does nothing to define what should be considered a “crowd monitoring situation” which opens the bill up to vast misuse. So hypothetically state and local law enforcement could call anything they want “crowd monitoring” and use a drone.

Article 1 Section 7 of the Tennessee constitution doesn’t end with “well, unless you’re amongst a crowd.”

“That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants, whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offences are not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be granted.”

The Importance of the Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act

This drone bill is very important because there has been a great deal of concern in this country over the use of drones to spy on American citizens on U.S. soil with no warrant or other probable cause. The “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” will address this issue. It will require any use of drone technology in the state of Tennessee to do one of the following:


Action Alert: Tennessee Drone Bill Moves to Full Senate Thursday

droneSB0796, sponsored by Sen. Mae Beavers to provide strict regulation for the use of drones in Tennessee will go to the full senate for a vote on Thursday, April 11. Its companion bill HB0591 sponsored by Rep. James Van Huss has made it to the House Calendar and Rules Committee and will be heard on Wednesday, April 10 and is expected to be scheduled for a vote in the House shortly.

The “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” will address the specter of unconstitutional drone surveillance. It will require any use of drone technology in the state of Tennessee to do one of the following:

  • Provide credible risk of terrorist attack from the Secretary of Homeland Security,
  • Provide a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone, or
  • Provide evidence of reasonable suspicion that there is an immediate threat such that “swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life.”

There is also provision for aggrieved parties to file suit against done operators for civil damages and the bill also disallows the use in court of any evidence collected in violation of the bill.


Tennessee State Senator Brian Kelsey’s Bait and Switch on Gun Control

1240175316-kelsey-dutch_treat-254x300Senator Brian Kelsey is at it again, trying to deceive Tennesseans on the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. After Kelsey’s circus-worthy constitutional gymnastics in favor of the federal government’s supposed power to take Tennesseans’ firearms away as he worked frantically to kill SB250, he now says he wants to protect Tennesseans’ right to keep and bear arms with his non-binding resolution SR0017.


Something about this doesn’t pass the smell test.

Kelsey’s SB250 Shenanigans

After watching the video of Sen. Brian Kelsey’s antics in two meetings of the Senate Judiciary Committee as he worked to kill SB250 – a bill that would have provided broad protections to Tennesseans against any federal scheme to register, confiscate, or tax firearms, ammunition or accessories – it’s hard to believe that this man cares one whit about the 2nd Amendment or the natural right to defend oneself.

In the second committee meeting, multiple people in attendance told the Tenth Amendment Center that Kelsey even turned off fellow Senator Stacey Campfield’s microphone to try to avoid counting his yea vote in support of SB250. Campfield’s vote led to a tie vote with 4 yeas and 4 nos, keeping the bill alive in the Senate Judiciary Committee. You can hear Sen. Campfield yelling so his vote would be heard even without the microphone in the video (at the end of the second video).

View the videos for yourself here.

We picked apart Brian Kelsey’s constitutional trickery both in an article and in testimony given by the Tenth Amendment Center’s own National Communications Director Mike Maharrey. Strangely enough, Sen. Kelsey even purports to be a constitutional law professor on his legislative bio – just like Pres. Barack Obama.


McNairy County Tennessee 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution Up for Vote April 8

TNMcNairycourthouseThe McNairy County Commission in Tennessee will take up the issue of their pending 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution again on Monday, April 8. The resolution was tabled last month over concern that the resolution was unconstitutional due to a recent attorney general opinion.


This concern is irrelevant, as resolutions are not legally binding and as such there is no conflict.

McNairy County’s resolution is modeled after the resolution passed by Madison County. It states:

“Whereas, the McNairy County Board of Commissioners declares that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules, regulations – past, present or future – in violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States are not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the Founders and Ratifiers; and are hereby declared to be invalid in this county, shall not be recognized by this county, are specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county…”

If you live in McNairy County, contact your commissioners listed below and let them know you want them to support the 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution.


SB0471/HB415: Why Tennessee Needs Legislative Control of Its US Senators

no-amendment-171Here at the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center, we have received questions from a number of people about the SB0471 and its companion bill HB0415, sponsored by Sen. Frank Niceley and Rep. Harry Brooks respectively. Because of the confusion, we at TN-TAC thought it prudent to clarify why we have endorsed the bill.

In a nutshell, the bill would allow the parties represented in the state legislature to choose the nominees for U.S. Senate that would then be placed on the ballot for the general election in November.

Additionally, the bill does provide options for third parties to put candidates on the ballot, stating “A minor party may nominate persons for the United States Senate in any manner authorized pursuant to § 2-13-203(a)(2).”

[Read the full text here: http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/108/Bill/SB0471.pdf]

Back to the Beginning

So why is it important for the state legislature to be able to control U.S. Senators? To start, let’s go back to the method the founding fathers gave us for selecting U.S. Senators. Article I, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states:

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.”

Many people who have never read or hastily skimmed over this section of the U.S. Constitution are often perplexed as to why the founders chose to do this. As you’ll see, the reason they did so has EVERYTHING to do with the Tenth Amendment.

The Federalist Papers were written by the framers and proponents of the Constitution during the ratification process to explain the new Constitution to the people. So, let’s turn there for some clarification.

The Federalist #62 explains that by having the state legislatures appoint U.S. Senators it would serve as a check on federal power by the state governments.