Americans for Limited Government might want limited government in theory, but the organization has absolutely no idea how to actually get the job done.

It seems Americans for Limited Government buys into the fantasy that with enough begging and pleading, Washington D.C. will shrink itself. Its own about page brags of the organization’s “aggressive” efforts to “present the limited government perspective” “inside the beltway.” But when it comes to following James Madison’s blueprint to block the expansion of federal power through efforts at the state level, Americans for Limited Government gives the strategy a big thumbs down.

This goes to show that despite the lofty name, Americans for Limited Government appears to be nothing more than another federal supremacist organization enabling the expansion of federal power and cheerleading centralization of authority in Washington D.C.

The organization shows its true colors in a recently released eight page paper denouncing nullification, specifically focusing on efforts in South Carolina to nullify Obamacare. Americans for Limited Government rolled out big gun academician Dr. Bradley Gitz, Arkansas’ Bates College’s William Jefferson Clinton Professor of Political Science (what irony) to make its case.

He proves his utter ignorance on nullification in one sentence.

By resurrecting a discredited concept (“nullification”) historically associated with unsavory goals (including the preservation of slavery in the 19th century and segregated schools in the 20th), South Carolina conservatives run the risk of playing directly into the hands of the Obama Administration and liberals seeking to discredit opposition to the Administration’s signature legislative achievement. [Emphasis added]

Nullification was NEVER used to preserve slavery. It was northern abolitionists who applied the principle to block the draconian fugitive slave acts. South Carolina actually cited northern nullification (using that word) of the fugitive salve act in its declaration of causes for secession. The fact Gitz does not know this most basic nullification history should automatically negate anything else he writes on the subject.

Not that Gitz makes a compelling case. He rolls out the typical bogus arguments against nullification, pretending the supremacy clause gives Congress a blank check to exercise any power it wants, asserting that the ratifiers approved of a system “limiting” federal power by letting part of the federal government define the extent of federal power, and perpetuating the myth the Madison rejected nullification later in life. (He did not. You can understand exactly what he did say later in life by picking up a copy of Smashing Myths: Understanding Madison’s Notes on Nullification.)

So, Gitz rejects nullification. He claims it will actually make things worse in South Carolina by creating uncertainty for insurance companies, and it will make opponents of Obamacare look like extremists. So, what is Gitz’s brilliant solution? What does Americans for Limited Government propose to end Obamacare? Don’t do anything. Let it  “die from its many self-inflicted wounds.”

For months now, as implementation of Obamacare founders before our eyes due to its various inherent defects, the Administration and its supporters have sought to deflect blame by accusing Republicans of “sabotage” or “obstruction” of it; of being “extremists” and “radicals” that oppose government of all kinds. By raising the disreputable doctrine of nullification, conservatives and Tea Party supporters in South Carolina needlessly provide ammunition for such false charges.

Gitz ignores a basic fact: refusal to cooperate with the implementation of the health care plan created many of the implementation problems we see today. “Sabotage” and “obstruction” get a lot of the credit for exposing the “inherent defects.” The plan was predicated on states setting up exchanges. Most refused. The plan depended on states expanding Medicare. Many have not. The feds don’t have the resources to run Obamacare without state cooperation. If enough states simply refuse to lift a finger to implement, it WILL collapse under its own weight. South Carolina proposes the perfect solution – a further commitment to resist implementation. Other states should join it.

When Madison contemplated how to deal with federal overreach, his blueprint in Federalist 46 didn’t include “go along with the feds, complain really loud, and hope it doesn’t work.” Madison advised states resist unwarrantable acts (or even unpopular acts) with “legislative devices” and “refusal to cooperate with officers of the union.” He wrote that in a single state, this type of action would create “serious impediments,” and when several states act together it would “present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

South Carolina lawmakers are working Madison’s blueprint. They hope to create “impediments” and “obstructions.” But apparently Madison is just too “extremist” for Americans for Limited Government. The organization only wants government limited in a respectable manner that preserves the big government, DC-centric system that’s evolved in the U.S. over the last 100 years.

No thanks. We’ll stick with Madison.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.