Bob Vander Plaats Iowa Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Bob Vander Plaats, said today in my favorite coffee house – Smokey Row Coffee House in Des Moines that if ObamaCare passes he will invoke the Constitution’s 10th Amendment in order to protect Iowans from new federal mandates.

Just a recap, if you aren’t familiar with the 10th Amendment it reads, “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.”

Vander Plaats isn’t the only one to cite problems with ObamaCare on constitutional grounds.  For instance, Minnesota Republican Gubernatorial candidate, Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer, along with Minnesota Senator Julianne Ortman cite a constitutional issue with an insurance mandate.  Virginia’s Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, will sue if the current health care reform bill is passed by Congress.  A state senator in Florida, Carey Baker, pitched a Florida Constitutional amendment that would ensure residents of the state are not compelled to purchase health insurance.

There has been a groundswell in the states with numerous 10th Amendment or State Sovereignty  resolutions and bills being introduced (and a number have been passed).  The Tenth Amendment Center has a model resolution that gives you an idea of what is being discussed in some state legislatures:

A RESOLUTION affirming the sovereignty of the People of the State of _________.

WHEREAS, in the American system, sovereignty is defined as final authority, and the People, not government, are sovereign; and

WHEREAS, the people of the State of __________ are not united with the People of the other forty-nine states that comprise the United States of America on a principle of unlimited submission to their federal government; and

WHEREAS, all power not delegated by the people to government is retained; and

WHEREAS, the People of the several States comprising the United States of America created the federal government to be their agent for certain enumerated purposes only; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “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”; and

WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States, and also that which is necessary and proper to advancing those enumerated powers; with the rest being left to state governments or the people themselves; and

WHEREAS, powers, too numerous to list for the purposes of this resolution, have been exercised, past and present, by federal administrations, under the leadership of both Democrats and Republicans, which infringe on the sovereignty of the people of this state, and may further violate the Constitution of the United States; and

WHEREAS, when powers are assumed by the federal government which have not been delegated to it by the People, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy; that without this remedy, the People of this State would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.


CONCURRING, that we hereby affirm the sovereignty of the People of the State of _______ under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise delegated to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall serve as a Notice and Demand to the federal government to cease and desist any and all activities outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers; and, it be further

RESOLVED, that a committee of conference be appointed by this legislature, which shall have as its charge to recommend and propose legislation which would have the effect of nullifying specific federal laws and regulations which are outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the Constitution; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that a committee of correspondence be appointed, which shall have as its charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States; to assure them that this State continues in the same esteem of their friendship as currently exists;  that it considers union, for specified national purposes, and particularly those enumerated in the Constitution of the United States, to be friendly to the peace, happiness and prosperity of all the States; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of this State’s Congressional delegation with the request that this resolution be officially entered in the Congressional Record as a memorial to the Congress of the United States of America.

Texas Governor Rick Perry backed Texas’ resolution, as did Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal when he signed Wyoming’s resolution.  Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty also said he would invoke the 10th Amendment last fall in order to stop the health care reform bill.  Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also signed her state’s resolution.  Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in her state of the state speech said that health care legislation violates the 10th Amendment…

At last count, 14 Attorneys General, Republican and Democrat are investigating this legislation [federal health care reform] for violating the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

As you know, in the past, I successfully joined the Legislature and Superintendent Tom Horne to represent the State of Arizona against the Arizona Attorney General at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Flores case. Today, if our Attorney General will not join this effort to defend the State of Arizona against this infringement on States rights — I will.

Until then — I have a simple message to every member of our delegation, for the good of our state — just vote “NO”.

Vander Plaats will have a well blazed trail for him if he wins the nomination and then beats Governor Chet Culver in the general election.

He went on to say:

Frankly, there’s no reason for us to just sit here and let the federal government run roughshod over the public’s will. If that legislation passes, I’ll show the federal government that the states still have a say in things…

…much like the Second Amendment is designed to protect the citizen from the encroachments of the government, so stands the 10th Amendment in defense of the states (and their citizens).

In other words, 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. I would argue that a federal take-over of our health care system is not a power delegated to the United States.  I’ll be a governor who reminds Congress and the President that there’s a reason the constitution has a 10th amendment.

He’ll be one of many.  Regardless of who the next Republican Governor of Iowa ends up being this should be an approach that is taken.  Invoke the 10th Amendment and sue because of the unconstitutional nature of the health care bill.  I’m confident that Rod Roberts or Jonathan Narcisse would also go down this path.  Governor Terry Branstad, I’m not.  Governor Chet Culver we can bank on welcoming ObamaCare to our state.

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  1. Okay, I’ll be the first to say this is an excellent idea. But it wouldn’t even be necessary if the 17th Amendment was repealed and the Senate represented the States again.

      1. Shane:

        I understand the point you are making about Vander Plaats and the 10th Amendment. I am all for it. But here is why I think the 17th Amendment applies. You state that this amendment “guarantees representation of the people in the Senate.” That is exactly the problem. This was not the purpose of the Senate in the original Constitution. The Senators were selected by the state legislatures to represent the interests of the states in the federal government. The House represents the people in the federal government. The 17th Amendment made the Senate another people’s house and stripped the states of their say in the federal government.

        Let’s say this amendment was repealed. How many unfunded mandates would pass Congress if the Senators had to answer to their state legislatures about where that money would come from? In the present situation, Vander Plaats would not have to say that he would invoke the 10th Amendment because the Senators from Iowa (and nearly every other state) would be opposing this bill. It would never come up in Congress.

        Now, since the 17th Amendment is in place, I am glad that Vander Plaats understands the Constitution enough to invoke the 10th Amendment. I hope he does. In fact, I hope the various states you mentioned are joined by others and gang up on the federal government and put an end to this kind of crap. But I would love to see the 17th repealed. It would solve many problems.

  2. Not to get off topic here because this post is about the 10th Amendment and not the 17th, but when I was at my county convention I realized the repeal of the 17th Amendment was in the platform. My first thought was “no way” because I want to have a say in who my Senators are but I have changed my opinion mainly because of this. We elect the people to our state legislature and then they in turn pick the Senators for us. Wouldn’t this give greater impact on the state races where the outcome counts the most? Not only for the selection of Senators but of the future of our state. In my opinion, people are not involved enough with our legislature and their races and this is where it counts the most! Also, wouldn’t this get rid of career politicians in the Senate? I think we would see greater emphasis on the states if the 17th was repealed. Just my thinking, anyway…….
    .-= Iowans Rock´s last blog ..Ferentz, the Iowa Farm Bureau and property rights =-.

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