States to feds: Take this law and shove it

by Chelsea Schilling

“We don’t need permission from the feds to exercise our rights!”

That’s the message the Tenth Amendment Center and The Foundation for a Free Society will be bringing to the year’s biggest event for conservatives with the premiere of the explosive documentary film, “Nullification: The Rightful Remedy.”

The film will premiere Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. (Scroll down to watch “Nullification” trailer.)

The documentary explores the history of state nullification, the constitutional legitimacy of the idea and how the concept can be used today to fight encroachment of federal power.

Nullification is a states’-rights doctrine written by Thomas Jefferson in 1798 in The Kentucky Resolutions, which were written to protest the Federalist Congress’ passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts. Under the nullification concept, states can refuse to recognize a federal law passed by Congress if the federal government overstepped its constitutional authority in passing the legislation.

“‘Nullification: The Rightful Remedy’ promises to be the most comprehensive documentary on the subject of the Tenth Amendment and nullification, the long-forgotten tool that Jefferson considered our best defense against the federal government’s unconstitutional usurpation of power,” said Jason Rink, executive director of the Foundation for a Free Society and producer and director of the film.

In 1798, Jefferson explained that the states shaped the federal government and ratified the Constitution, so they have the power to determine whether the federal government is abiding by the Constitution. He warned the states to be alert against violation of the Constitution and not to hesitate to strike down unconstitutional legislation by Congress or the president. He wrote:

“Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government … and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. … that the government created by this compact

[the U.S. Constitution] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; … that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; … and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorised by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories.

Likewise, in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, the fourth U.S. president, James Madison, argued that the states are “duty bound to resist” when the federal government violates the Constitution.

“Two dozen American states nullified the REAL ID Act of 2005,” the “Nullification” website explains. “Nullification initiatives of all kinds, involving the recent health care legislation, cap and trade and the Second Amendment are popping up everywhere.”

The following is a “Nullification” trailer:

The Tenth Amendment Center provides a list of current nullification efforts in several states, including:

  • The Health Care Nullification Act declares Obamacare is not authorized by the Constitution and violates its true meaning and intent as given by the founders. According to the act, Obamacare is rejected, declared to be invalid and will be considered null and void.
  • The Food Freedom Act is a response to the Food Safety and Modernization Act and it declares that food grown and produced in a state, when sold in the state, is beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce.
  • Legislation to protect the right of the people to be secure in “their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” It is in response to increased Transportation Security Administration measures forced upon Americans at airports – including naked body scanners, and invasive pat-downs.
  • 10th Amendment bills, or state sovereignty measures and resolutions, introduced around the nation since 2008
  • Federal Tax Funds Act, or laws requiring federal taxes to be paid first to the state department of revenue, where a panel would forward a percentage of the tax dollars that are deemed constitutional to the federal government
  • Legislation resisting Cap and Trade and EPA regulations
  • Firearms Freedom Act, declaring any firearms made and retained in a state are beyond the authority of Congress
  • Constitutional tender laws to authorize payment in gold and silver or a paper note backed 100 percent by gold or silver

For those who cannot attend the “Nullification” premiere at CPAC, the makers of the film offer screenings in various cities.

A complete schedule of CPAC 2012 events is available at the CPAC website.

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