Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC). According to its website: “The Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect Tenth Amendment freedoms through information and education. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power.”
Boldin was raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin, but now lives in Los Angeles. In addition to his duties at TAC, he is a contributing writer for PopulistAmerica.com.
Cold Hard Cashner recently interviewed him via email.
1.What is the 10th Amendment?
Boldin: The 10th is the defining amendment of the Constitution – its exclamation point! It’s a “rule of construction” which makes clear that it was “We the People,” as sovereigns, who created the federal government to be our agent for certain, enumerated purposes..and nothing more.
2. Why should the average American care about it?
Boldin: If there’s anything people should learn from history is that a government without limits is a tyranny.
3. There have been many federal programs, from Social Security to Cash For Clunkers, that are apparently popular but probably wouldn’t survive a literal interpretation of the 10th Amendment and the rest of the Constitution. Why should the American people be willing to support strict adherence to the Constitution if they may potentially lose federal programs they appreciate?
Boldin: For years and years, people have allowed politicians to bend or break “the rules” (that is, the Constitution) for one “emergency” or another. But the bottom line is this – after years and years of allowing politicians to break the rules, eventually you’ll end up with politicians who feel that the rules don’t apply at all. Arbitrary government – government without rules – is another name for despotism.
4.What is the Tenth Amendment Center? What are its goals?
Boldin: I created the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) in mid-2006 and launched the website, TenthAmendmentCenter.com, in January 2007. It was my way of recognizing that it doesn’t matter which political party has the power in D.C. – year in and year out, the power of the federal government continues to grow while your liberties are increasingly lost. It’s essential that people in this country understand the principles that the founders and ratifiers passed on to us – that a government without limits is a tyranny.
Our goals? Oh, they’re pretty small – we just want to empower you – and millions of others – to understand the principles of the Constitution and liberty. That way you can take that knowledge and take action.
5.What motivated you to found T.A.C.?
Bolden: see above
6.Media Matters For America, a “progressive research and information center,” recently castigated T.A.C. for reprinting several articles on its website that mention secession. Are the “Tenthers” (as 10th Amendment supporters are sometimes called) some type of secessionist movement?
Boldin: Yes, they sure did. They were angry that Lou Dobbs would interview the founder of such an awful organization as TAC!
The essential thing here is that this country was founded on the principle of secession, and while the Tenth Amendment Center is advocating adherence to the Constitution – which is the only that this country won’t fall to pieces – we still feel it’s essential to discuss and explore this important part of our American tradition.
I wonder – would Media Matters, if they were around in the 18th century, have castigated Thomas Paine, or Thomas Jefferson, or Patrick Henry for simply talking about breaking away from “The Crown?” Seems to me that the cheerleaders for tyranny never really go away…they just change faces.
7.Here in Iowa we had a “state sovereignty resolution” introduced in the Iowa legislature this year. Similar measures are popping up all over the country. What is the purpose of these resolutions?
Boldin: These non-binding resolutions, often called “state sovereignty resolutions” do not carry the force of law. Instead, they are intended to be a statement of the legislature of the state. They play an important role, however.
If you owned an apartment building and had a tenant not paying rent, you wouldn’t show up with an empty truck to kick them out without first serving notice. That’s how we view these Resolutions – as serving “notice and demand” to the Federal Government to “cease and desist any and all activities outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers.” Follow-up, of course, is a must.
8.What are “interposition” and “nullification?” What are the differences between them?
Boldin: Some would say they are virtually the same in practice – they are the principle that the State governments are to resist unconstitutional laws and regulations emanating from the federal government.
When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as that state is concerned. The state apparatus, then, would “interpose,” or stand between you and the federal government to protect your liberty.
9.Isn’t it up to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether or not a law is unconstitutional?
Boldin: Sure – that’s just what kings and tyrants all through history have always wanted. And that’s probably why most of us who’ve gone through government-schools come out believing that a branch of government filled with unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats would be the one determining how much power the other branches of that same government would have. Absurd, really. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson warned us that if the federal government would ever have the exclusive right to judge the extent of its own powers, its power would continue to grow – regardless of elections, the separation of powers, and other much-touted limits on government power. Sure sounds familiar to me.
10.What can people do to help rescue the 10th Amendment from obscurity?
Boldin: Get informed. Get others informed. Get active – and most of all – recognize that the Constitution isn’t a conservative or a liberal document. It’s there to ensure the powers of the federal government are limited – and the most difficult, the most divisive issues would be handled where they can be handled best … close to home.