Archive by Author

Constitutionally, Trump’s Opinion on Afghanistan Shouldn’t Matter

1280px-Defense.gov_News_Photo_090803-M-6237R-101 small

As a candidate, Pres. Trump called the war in Afghanistan “futile” and pledged to pull the U.S. out of the quagmire. But in a recent speech, the president announced a plan committed to extending and deepening U.S. military involvement in that country. Trump said he was now convinced “a hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum for […]

Feds Are Actually Limited in Using Funding to “Coerce” States

Washington, DC, July 29, 2009 -- NLE'09 in the FEMA Sim Center.  FEMA/Bill Koplitz

Sometimes emailers offer a good opportunity correct widely-held erroneous ideas. In a recent article, I asserted the federal government has very little power to force so-called “sanctuary cities” and states to enforce federal immigration law. Under a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, the courts have long held that the federal government cannot […]

How the Federal Fight Against Sanctuary Cities Undermines the Constitution

us-map-small

We all need to fight the temptation to abandon constitutional principles when they conflict with our policy preferences. I recently appeared on a radio show to talk about the Tenth Amendment and nullification. The conversation moved along marvelously as I explained Madison’s blueprint, and how state and local governments can thwart unwarrantable federal actions (and […]

Maine Governor Wants Feds to Bring the Hammer Down on His Own State

12328031694_7dfe1d1c07_z

Gov. Paul LePage is doing it wrong. Instead of protecting the people of Maine from overreaching and unconstitutional federal overreach, he’s begging the feds to trample on his state’s sovereignty. You see, the Republican governor doesn’t like marijuana. And he doesn’t like the fact that the people of his state voted to legalize weed. He wants […]

Thoughts from Maharrey Head #99: America’s First Immigration Debate

Ellis_Island_arrivals

“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom” In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about America’s first immigration debate and what it reveals about federal power. Immigration ranks among the most contentious political issues in America today. Debates rage about “pathways to citizenship,” building walls and blocking refugees. But Americans often ignore the most […]

Thoughts from Maharrey Head #98: Fourth of July Fireworks and Nullification

fireworks small

“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom” In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about how my Independence Day fireworks experience demonstrates the power of nullification. Despite all of the successes we’ve had at the Tenth Amendment Center over the last few years, whenever I talk about nullification, somebody wants to argue, “It will […]

James Madison and the Necessary and Proper Clause

necessary-and-proper-anything-you-want-2

“Necessary and proper” ranks among the most abused clauses in the Constitution. It has been dubbed the “elastic clause” because of the perception that it allows the scope of federal power to expand. The federal government began abusing this clause within years of ratification. In 1800, James Madison countered these early abuses, forcefully arguing that […]

Constitution 101: The Supremacy Clause and the Bill of Rights

bor

Many Americans believe the Bill of Rights apply to state and local governments. Most who hold this position rely on the 14th Amendment and the “incorporation doctrine” to support their position. But some proponents of using federal power to restrict state and local actions through the Bill of Rights use tortured legal reasoning to argue […]