OKLAHOMA CITY (Mar. 3, 2015) – An Oklahoma House committee last week passed a bill that would prohibit the state from helping the federal government implement and/or enforce any federal action that “exceeds the authority of Congress granted in Section 8 of Article I of the Constitution of the United States.”

HB1737 was introduced by Rep. Lewis Moore and Sen. Nathan Dahm and is intended to “endorse and enforce” the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing that any power not delegated to Congress and not prohibited to the states is reserved to the states or the people.

The bill passed the State and Federal Relations Committee by a 5-1 vote.

HB1737 declares that the State of Oklahoma may “intercede on behalf of all Oklahoma citizens and Oklahoma businesses” when Congress exercises powers outside of the Constitution. The legislation specifically prohibits any state agency or political subdivision from “acting  upon any federal request or action of any kind not expressly provided for in the United States Constitution without approval of the State Legislature or appropriate standing committee of the State Legislature and knowledge of the United States Senators representing the State of Oklahoma.”

The bill also prohibits state agencies, political subdivisions or contractors working for the state from taking “federal assistance, legal, regulatory or administrative help, in any form,” including accepting federal funding, outside of the authority of the State of Oklahoma without the approval of the legislature. Any agency already receiving funds would have to deposit them in the state treasury and notify the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, along with the U.S. Senators representing Oklahoma.

HB1737 also includes penalties for violation of the act.

The legislation would create a strong foundation from which Oklahomans could resist federal overreach, but it would require further legislative action if passed. The bill does not include any mechanism for determining what federal actions constitute a violation of the Constitution, leaving that decision to the discretion of each agency or political subdivision. The legislature would need to either creates such a mechanism, or pass additional legislation specifying how an agency determines a federal act lies outside of constitutional bounds.


HB1737 follows the blueprint James Madison gave to stop federal overreach through state action. In Federalist 46, the Father of the Constitution wrote that when the federal government commits an “unwarrantable act,” or even an unpopular “warrantable” act “the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand.” Madison listed “refusal to cooperate with officers of the union” as one of the actions states should take to check federal power. The proposed amendment would create a framework for implementation of Madison’s blueprint.

This strategy has the potential to shut down overreaching federal actions. The feds depend on state cooperation and resources to do almost everything. They need state and local law enforcement to enforce its gun control measures and fight their drug war. They need state resources and personnel to implement their national health care program. They needs state cooperation to spy on us.

In fact, during the federal government shutdown, the National Association of Governors admitted, “States are partners with the federal government in implementing most federal programs.” That means states can create impediments to enforcing and implementing “most federal programs.”


Although the bill seeks to limit the federal government to its constitutional delegated responsibilities, a finding of unconstitutionality is not relevant when denying state material support and resources to the federal government. The Supreme Court has consistently held that the feds cannot force a state to provide assistance or resources to help them enforce or implement any federal act or program. This is a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Scott Landreth

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.