The 10th Amendment to the United States’ Constitution reads like this:
“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.”
To put it simply: If the Constitution doesn’t specifically say the federal government is in charge of something, then they can not be in charge of that thing. That thing is left to the states, to enforce and regulate as they see fit.
Michael Lotfi of TenthAmendmentCenter.com writes that Paul is one of the few elected officials actually looking to roll back some of the policies where the U.S. government has over-stepped its reach, and started meddling in things they have no right to, based on that 10th Amendment.
“Paul is the first modern US Senator to use the term ‘nullification’ in support of reining in the powers of the federal government when it comes to unconstitutional federal legislation…
Paul recently visited South Carolina and spoke to a group of supporters in support of their efforts to nullify the Patient Care Act in the state through a nullification bill, which cites the Tenth Amendment….
Paul has also worked feverishly to bypass federal laws banning hemp in his home state of Kentucky.”
Nullification is the constitutional legal theory that a state has the right to invalidate, or cancel out, any federal law that they decide is unconstitutional. So something like the Patient Care Act – if South Carolina decides it’s unconstitutional, under nullification theory, the state would not have to follow that federal law.
While it isn’t directly nullification, Paul is making progress on the hemp business. As of Sept. 2013, the Kentucky legislature has laws ready to go that lay out the state’s regulations on hemp growing, and unless they get some sort of threat from the federal government (which inexplicably treats hemp like marijuana), they’ll start growing it soon. This decision came after the government said it would not pursue action against states like Colorado and Washington, who have legalized the use of marijuana.
Nullification isn’t a term that’s throw around a lot. But when you look at the 10th Amendment, and then you look at what the federal government says you can and can’t do, it’s hard not to see quite a large list of regulations that don’t fit.
But right now, Paul seems to be the only one who think it’s worth talking about.
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