State Sovereignty, also known as nullification, is a power that has been granted to State Governments by the tenth amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Tenth 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.”
What this all means
In plain English what this means is the Federal Government can only do the things that the US Constitution specifically says it can do. So all powers not spelled out in the Constitution default back to State governments. So therefore, since the Constitution does not give the power to the Federal Government to run things like the nations health system and write environmental policies, the state governments have the ultimate power in those areas.
There is plenty of precedent of other states taking similar actions against Federal overreach. The state of California passed a law vacating National Defense Authorization Acts’ provision for indefinite detention of suspected terrorists. The state of Kansas negated a federal gun law provision. Colorado essentially negated federal marijuana laws by legalizing recreational dope use. And, the state of Arizona just passed Proposition 122 which places language in their state constitution that would empower the state to pass referendums, bills or use other legal means to end cooperation with an unconstitutional federal act. Supporters of the amendment say the provision allowing the people to vote to refuse to cooperate with federal authorities will prove especially significant.
How can a state legislature negate an unconstitutional federal law or regulation?
1. The states created a contract called the Constitution of the United States. The states created the federal government. And the supreme law of the United States is the Constitution, and any laws made “in pursuance thereof.”
2. The federal government really has only four powers: Declare war, declare peace, negotiate on behalf of the states with foreign powers, and regulate commerce with foreign powers.
3. The rights and powers not specifically mentioned in the Constitution are reserved to the states and to the people.
4. The states, therefore, have the right, and indeed have the responsibility, to negate unconstitutional federal laws and regulations.
5. Ask our Indiana state legislature, Senate President David Long, House Speaker Brian Bosma, and Governor Mike Pence, to write and pass legislation that negates the WOTUS EPA regulation expansion and the Coal Fired Power Plant regulation expansion.
Keep up to date with the latest on State Sovereignty
Visit the Tenth Amendment Center. A website devoted to keeping it’s readers informed on Tenth Amendment movements across the country.