Robert Healey on the Tenth Amendment

At the Tenth Amendment rally at the Rhode Island statehouse a week ago Saturday, I asked Robert Healey, who has litigated Ninth and Tenth Amendment issues before the courts, about the current legal interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, and whether he believes the goal of Tenth Amendment activists should be to hold the Federal Government to the existing interpretation or to reverse the current precedents. He went through a brief history of the history that has shaped the modern interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, which anyone who is interested in this issue needs to be aware of…

“…Everybody, including the Supreme Court, understood the value of the Tenth Amendment…all during the antebellum period. Once we had the Civil War, that’s where it became kind of interesting…During the period of Reconstruction, the South came back into the union but realized, hey, legally why can’t we utilize this Tenth Amendment kind of concept to do what we wanted to do anyway.” Audio: 45 sec

“Obviously, there were some issues there and it fell into disrepute, because eventually what had to happen in order to being the South back into the unification picture was pretty much a squashing of that Tenth Amendment argument that the Southern states had frequently used based on their own concept of sovereignty, and it became discredited because it was used in that manner…” Audio: 53 sec

“What happens after that is that was we had a period where you could then impose income taxes, we had the constitutional Amendment passed…and once you put that piece to the puzzle, you realize that when the Federal [Government] has the power to tax, it has the power to control. And if it’s power is the strongest power in terms of taxation, it’s the strongest power in terms of control…” Audio: 44 sec

“The Federal Government has, in essence, gone around the Tenth Amendment by saying to people, hey, you want transportation funds, you’ve got to honor our concepts, not your own state concepts…” Audio: 47 sec

“You had FDR imposing programs on a Federal level, because states were unable to balance budgets, and the Federal Government could print money and could tax — they could do both — therefore it became a disaster. Since the 1930s it’s gone it that direction generally, as I see it.” Audio: 20 sec

“…I think that what has to happen is that the people have to assert their Tenth Amendment rights and make it known to the Federal Government that this is going to be it…” Audio: 55 sec

“…there is a strong argument, that’s the one I brought to the Supreme Court, that the Ninth Amendment also applies. The citizen is the sovereign. The citizen gives the power to the state. The citizen gives the power and defines power for the Federal government. The citizen can take it back…” Audio: 48 sec

“There are plenty of legal plays that are going to have to happen, far out into the future, but unless you can get support and unless you can get it started with things like this, a Tenth Amendment rally, it’s never going to happen.”Audio: 13 sec

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13 years ago

“you want transportation funds, you’ve got to honor our concepts, not your own state concepts”
Or, “Hey, you want your own money back where you basically gave us a free loan? Well we just need you to bend over backwards first.”
Maybe I’ll try that with my bank. You want my mortgage payment? Give me free cable first!

Timothy Burchett
Timothy Burchett
13 years ago

I will never give up my sovereignty or more specifically my 9th and as for the 10th..As long as one man believes it lives for one mans courage can and will eventually make a majority when it comes to God given rights! God Bless all for making this Rally a great occassion and please enjoy the video

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