Clinton Executive Order “REVOKES” 10th Amendment

By Tom DeWeese

During his six-year reign of terror, Bill Clinton has signed no less that 254 Executive Orders. To date, not one has been challenged by the United States Congress. Congressional silence has led Clinton to stronger, bolder action in his carefree drive to fulfill his liberal agenda.

But no previous action has come close to that taken with the signing of Executive Order 13083 entitled “Federalism.” On May 14th, with the stroke of a pen, Clinton rescinded Ronald Reagan’s own E.O. 12612 on Federalism. At the same time, Clinton also sliced the Constitution’s 10th Amendment into unrecognizable pieces.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan took a bold step to repair the damage to the Constitution and our political system. From Supreme Court decisions to power-seeking bureaucrats, the federal government was roaming far from its Constitutional borders. Reagan sought to rein it in by producing an Executive Order that would reestablish the power of the 10th Amendment, which gives states sovereignty and power over all but those clearly defined duties of the federal government. That concept is called “Federalism.” Reagan’s E.O. defined Federalism by saying it “is rooted in the knowledge that our political liberties are best assured by limiting the size and scope of the national government.”

But on May 14, 1998, Bill Clinton set out to do away with all of that. Like Reagan’s document, Clinton’s E.O. 13083 begins like a definition of the 10th Amendment. The document lists a host of duties and rights empowered to the States and their individual citizens. But then it goes into a list of nine broad and vague exceptions wherein the federal government might be “justified” in taking federal action because of “matters of national or multi-state scope.” (See the enclosed block for the complete list of “exceptions”).

This incredible grab for power lets federal bureaucrats decide if a state has “adequately protected individual rights and liberties.” It 10th Amendment is about to be thrown out with the bath water. Is anybody listening? Where are the protests from the nation’s fifty state governors who have just had their jobs reduced to ribbon-cutting ceremonies? Where are all the elected members of the fifty state legislatures? When will the United States Congress finally stand up to Bill Clinton, who, in their absence, is busy appointing himself dictator?


Well, finally, there are signs that Congress intends to respond to the blizzard of Clinton’s Executive Orders. Congressman Mac Collins of Georgia has introduced House Concurrent Resolution 299. His bill is designed to stop Executive Order 13083 and, in a sense, reinstate President Reagan’s vital E.O 12612. Congressman Collins’ Resolution will state that it is the “sense of Congress that the constitutional principles of federalism (the division of power between the Federal government and the governments of the States) should be upheld, protecting the rights of the States, localities and individuals.”

At this writing, Congressman Collins’ Resolution has at least twenty-three co-sponsors, with more being rapidly added. In addition, it now appears that House Speaker Newt Gingrich has gotten behind the bill and is helping to move it along. In fact, the plan now is to completely bypass committee consideration of the bill and to move it directly to the house floor for a vote.

However, the bill must then move to the Senate for similar action. If this action is not completed before August 12, 1998, Clinton’s Executive Order will go into effect. The only way to stop it then will be by a veto-proof, two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress. On the Senate side, Senator John Ashcroft (R-Mo.), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on the Constitution, Federalism and Property Rights, is also adamantly opposed to E.O.13083. Perhaps simultaneous action can be taken in both houses, hurrying along the process. These actions mark the very first time that congressional initiative has been so vigorously undertaken in response to a Clinton-signed Executive Order. But time is growing very short.

To succeed, there must be a massive outpouring of protest from across the nation. Along with the protests of enraged citizens, governors and state legislators from all fifty states must also immediately join the protest, through letters, phone calls and even lawsuits against this Clinton power grab. They are the ones who will lose their powers. And they are the ones who will carry the most weight in the battle to persuade reluctant Congressmen to support H. Con. 299 to rescind Executive Order 13083.

Many, including the American Policy Center, have criticized the Congress for capitulating to Bill Clinton’s every whim. But Congress is starting to wake up to the dangers of Clinton’s blizzard of Executive Orders. Now is the time for us all to join forces and help congressional leaders stop this shredding of the 10th Amendment.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.