alabama-flagAlabama Governor Bob Riley has signed Senate Joint Resolution 27 (SJR27), sponsored by State Senator Scott Beason. The resolution claims sovereignty for the state “under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.”

In the past year, seven other states have passed similar resolutions, and Alabama joins Alaska and Tennessee as the third to have such a resolution signed by the Governor. In 2009, Sarah Palin and Phil Bredesen signed sovereignty resolutions for their states.


Passage of this resolution is part of what is now a growing state-level resistance to the federal government on various levels. Similar 10th Amendment resolutions were introduced in 38 states in 2009, and already 18 in 2010. Various states are also taking what’s considered to be the “next step” – legally-binding act to nullify specific federal laws or regulations.

The Arizona Legislature passed a measure for public approval on the 2010 state ballot that would give Arizona voters the opportunity to nullify, or opt out, of any potential national health care legislation. Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that nullify some federal gun laws and regulations. Fourteen states are now defying federal laws which consider marijuana to be illegal in all circumstances. And, since 2007, more than two dozen states have passed legislation refusing to implement the Real ID act of 2005.

Click here to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s legislative tracking page for these and other efforts.


While SJR27 is strongly-worded in support of the principles of limited, constitutional government that the 10th Amendment represents, it is a Joint Resolution and does not carry with it the force of law. But supporters say that this is an important first step to get their message out not only to grassroots supporters, but to the media, and legislators in other states as well.

Thanks to Matthew Givens from Politics Alabama for help in compiling this report.

Click here to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s 10th Amendment resolutions tracking page.

Click here to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s model 10th Amendment resolution

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

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