"For the people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. For the people, in the delegation of the authority, do not give their servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. For the people insist they retain control over the instruments they have created." ~California Government Codes Sections 11120 and
At least 35 states have introduced legislation this year asserting their power under the Tenth Amendment to regulate all matters not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer recently signed into law a bill authorizing the state's gun manufacturers to produce "Made in Montana" firearms, without seeking licensing from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Similar laws are being considered in Utah, Alaska, Texas and Tennessee.
The Montana law is expected to end up in the courts, where states' rights activists hope judges will uphold their constitutional right to regulate firearms.
That would reverse a longstanding trend, said Martin Flaherty, a professor of constitutional law at Fordham Law School.
"From 1937 to 1995 there is not one instance of the Supreme Court knocking back Congress," he said.
"In the Constitution the interstate commerce clause gives Congress the right to regulate commerce between the states. That gives them a lot of power. In 2010 you are now commerce. There were questions of how far they can reach, but then comes the New Deal, and Roosevelt gets all these picks on the [Supreme] Court, and they come upon a theory whereupon congressional power is almost infinite."
That 1930s understanding of the Constitution is now the norm, with advocates for the federal government arguing that issues of a certain size and scope can be addressed only by an institution with the resources of the federal government.
As an example, federal authority is necessary in the economic crisis, said U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, whose home state of Oklahoma recently passed a sovereignty resolution.
"The economic situation in our nation over the past year has not been contained in any one community or state. The industries and institutions affected by the recent economic crisis touch multiple layers of our economy and are not confined to any one state or region," he said in a statement. "I feel there was Constitutional justification for Congress's recent efforts to stabilize our economy."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently when he made a passing reference to the possibility of the Lone Star State seceding from the U.S., saying, "if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that?"
In Utah, 67 percent of the state's land is controlled by the federal government through wilderness preserves, limiting state leaders in their bid to fill government coffers through oil and natural gas drilling after Interior Secretary Ken Salazar cancelled 103,000 acres of leases this year.
In Idaho, ranchers are furious that federal endangered species law prevents them from shooting the wolves that prey on their cattle.
"The balance of power between the states and the federal government is way out of whack," said Georgia state Senator Chip Pearson." The effect here is incalculable. Everything you do from the moment you wake up until you get to bed, there is some federal law or restriction."
Up until recently, the state sovereignty movement has remained almost entirely Republican, drawing supporters from the ranks that voted against President Obama and attended tea parties last month to protest federal tax hikes.
But the movement's rank and file are just as likely now to criticize Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, as they are the new president, pointing to what they believe were Bush's overreaching policies on education and homeland security.
Many are becoming frequent visitors to a Web site, TenthAmendmentCenter.com, which was founded in early 2007 and has become a community bulletin board for states rights activists and politicians. Up to 20,000 viewers log on to the site every day.
The site's founder, Michael Boldin, a 36-year-old Web marketer in Los Angeles who says he has no political affiliation, says he decided to launch the site after watching the Maine State Legislature fight the Department of Homeland Security on the Real ID act, a controversial Bush-era law that will require states to issue federally regulated identification cards, complete with biometric data and stringent address checks.
"Maine resisted, and the government backed off, and soon all these other states were doing the same thing," Boldin said. "The bottom line is, if there's widespread support, people can resist the federal government at the state level."
The deadline for states to comply with Real ID has now been pushed back until 2011.
The Tenth Amendment movement is not without controversy. In Georgia, a columnist for The Atlanta Journal Constitution called a sovereignty resolution in the state Senate a threat "to secede from and even disband the United States."
The resolution, which was passed as part of a group of bills that were banded together, affirmed the state's powers under the Tenth Amendment, taking its inspiration and language from Thomas Jefferson's 1798 resolution opposing the Alien and Sedition Acts -- laws enacted by the federal government during wartime to quiet protest against the government.
The resolution asserts that any instance of the federal government taking action beyond its enumerated powers "shall constitute a nullification of the Constitution for the United States of America by the government of the United States of America."
"It's been taken out of context by some editors," said Pearson, who sponsored the bill. "It certainly never meant secession. The intent was to communicate that the actions of the federal government are an infringement on states' rights."
Robert Natelson, a law professor at the University of Montana who was involved in drawing up that state's sovereignty resolution over a decade ago, argues that states up until now have been unwilling to take action of any real consequence in checking federal power.
"Back then they passed the resolution, but they didn't turn down any federal dollars," he said.
Contemptible police tactics - Cops raid the home of a licensed medical marijuana provider in Washington, handcuff the fourteen year old son and put a gun to his head, and search the nineteen year old daughter and take the contents of her mickey-mouse wallet.
How To Survive Traffic Stops in America, Submit, Instantly! - What the cops want is immediate obedience and submission. Many cops are ex-military and view the civilian motorists of America about like they viewed the hapless peasants of Iraq and Afghanistan, that is, with contempt, not as fellow citizens deserving of civility and respect. It is a possibly lethal mistake to do anything other than submit, instantly and obey! Or be ready to shoot first. But aim high.