Is Nullification an answer?

14 posts / 0 new
Last post
goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Is Nullification an answer?

Tom Woods (author of Meltdown and several other books) has a new book out called Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century that discusses the history of state nullification of Federal laws that overreach their constitutional bounds.  I have not read it yet but I will soon.  He has started to do media tours for it and from what I have heard, it sounds like it is worth checking out.

Here is a very strange tongue in cheek interview about it called "Tom Woods Is Interviewed by a Zombie".

What do you think?  Is Nullification the wave of the future is will it just be limited to individual victories like California's medical marijuana laws?

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

Looked like just another interview on cable news to me.  Wink

Vanityfox451's picture
Vanityfox451
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

Hi Goes211,

Interesting man, Tom Woods. He's on my books to read list. Thankyou for the heads-up. I'll meet you back here when I've read it for my full take and opinion ...

Wikipedia had this to say about Nullification: -

[quote=]

Nullification is a legal theory that a U.S. State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. The theory is based on a view that the sovereign States formed the Union, and as creators of the compact hold final authority regarding the limits of the power of the central government. Under this, the compact theory, the States and not the Federal Bench are the ultimate interpreters of the extent of the national Government's power. A more extreme assertion of state sovereignty than nullification is the related action of secession, by which a state terminates its political affiliation with the Union.

One of the earliest and most famous examples is to be found in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, a protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts. In these resolutions, authors Thomas Jefferson and James Madison argued that the states are the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution and can "interpose" to protect state citizens from the operation of unconstitutional national laws.

While some interests in northern states occasionally considered the possibility of secession after Jefferson's party gained control of the federal government in the years after 1801, for example at the Hartford Convention, the idea of nullification increasingly became associated with the southern states as a means of protecting the institution of slavery. The most famous statement of the theory of nullification, authored by John C. Calhoun, appeared in the South Carolina Exposition and Protest of 1828. Four years later, during the Nullification Crisis, South Carolina undertook to nullify a federal tariff law and a subsequent federal bill authorizing the use of force against the state.

Northern states in the 1840s and 1850s attempted to block enforcement of the pro-slavery federal Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850. These actions had the effect, in many local situations, of nullifying the effectiveness of these laws, but did not declare that the fugitive slave laws were nullified. The most famous examples of this centered around northern states' personal liberty laws. The U.S. Supreme Court dealt with the validity of these laws in the 1842 case of Prigg v. Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court also dealt with this issue in the 1859 case of Ableman v. Booth.

Nullification and the related doctrine of interposition resurfaced in the 1950s in response to the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which decided that segregated schools were illegal. At least ten southern states passed various measures preserving segregated schools and refusing to follow the Brown decision. The advocates of these measures argued that the Brown decision was unconstitutional and that the states had the inherent power to prevent that decision from being enforced within their borders. However, the Supreme Court rejected this idea in the case of Cooper v. Aaron, finding that the state governments had no power to nullify the Brown decision. The Supreme Court held that the Brown decision "can neither be nullified openly and directly by state legislators or state executive or judicial officers nor nullified indirectly by them through evasive schemes for segregation."

~ VF ~

 

coolhandluke's picture
coolhandluke
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 1 2008
Posts: 41
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

If you look back through the United States history you will see that nullification and the threat of secession have been used many times by states to maintain the system of Federalism that the Ratifiers of the Constitution gave us.  Nullification has been used in the past , as pointed out in the Tom Woods interview, to cover a wide range of issues.  So its really a blast from the past, but I hope it becomes the wave of the future.  If the States were Sovereign again it would be much easier to effect change, since the majority of power would be at the local level and not centrally managed by a few powerful people far away.

Trinity's picture
Trinity
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 30 2009
Posts: 28
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

Thanks for the info, Goes211. Added this book to my 'to read' list. Cool

investorzzo's picture
investorzzo
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 7 2008
Posts: 1182
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

Mark to market accounting. How Enron, Bushes, deregulation all brought risk and the system to the verge of collapse. It permeated the whole "greed is good" attitude on Wall street.

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Is Missouri's Proposition C the first step the Nullification?

Is proposition C the first step to Nullification of Obama Care?

Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama's administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.

 

"The citizens of the Show-Me State don't want Washington involved in their health care decisions," said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.

...

DrKrbyLuv's picture
DrKrbyLuv
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2008
Posts: 1995
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

goes211 wrote:

Is proposition C the first step to Nullification of Obama Care?

"The citizens of the Show-Me State don't want Washington involved in their health care decisions," said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.  With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1.

I sure hope so.  Obama care is an aberration designed for the omnipotent federal government to take control of our health.  And, the governBank will be able to ration the available care to help eliminate the unproductive elderly and retiring boomers eager to collect their entitlements.

Larry 

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

I have been busy lately but I finally got around to finishing this book.  Although I enjoyed it and found it very informative, I did find it less readable than Mr Woods other book Meltdown.  The first half moves along pretty well discussing the issues at a high level.  I felt the book slowed down in the second half as it walked through several historical texts to show that the idea of nullification is not new nor radical.  Although these documents add a lot of weight to Mr Woods scholarly position, the heavy use of historical references and legal documentation, keeps the second half of the book from being lite reading.

What Mr Woods clearly shows is that from the early days of the republic, there were concerns with the balance between Federal and State power.  He goes on to make several important points.

  1. The initial idea of Nullification comes from Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions written in 1798 by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.  At that time it was in reaction to the unconstitutional Alien and Sedition Acts.
  2. Although the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were never passed ( and actually were ridiculed by states that supported the Alien and Sedition Acts at that time ), Mr Woods shows that within 10 years several of the states that ridiculed the principles of 98, found religion when faced with a Federal embargo that they disagreed with.
  3. Shows the absurdity of States ceding sovereignty to the Federal government via the constitution and then placing a branch of that Federal government ( the supreme court ) as the final arbiter of what is constitutional.  Would states have ever agreed to such a silly idea?   Isn't it an obvious conflict of interest when the judge has material relationship to one of the parties in a lawsuit and yet somehow we have been dupped into thinking the Supreme Court should be the final arbiter of what is constitutional and what is not?   Clearly the states themselves, which created the Federal government in the first place, must have some say over how these decisions are made.

All in all I found the book very well researched and a reasonably good read to anyone that is interested in new (or old depending upon how you look at it) ideas on how the current train wreck on the Potomac might be stopped.

Travlin's picture
Travlin
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 15 2010
Posts: 1322
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

That is a very useful book report Goes211.  There are so many books we need to read. It helpa a lot to get advice about which ones are worth our time.  Thank you for doing this. 

coolhandluke's picture
coolhandluke
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 1 2008
Posts: 41
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

I also just finished the book and HIGHLY recomend it.

Interesting how some of our forefathers predicted all this:

"But this bill contains other features, still more alarming and dangerous. It dispenses with the trial by jury; it violates the judicial system; it confounds legislative, executive, and judicial powers; it punishes ...without trial; and it bestows upon the President despotic power over a numerous class of men"

"Measures have already been adopted which may lead to these consequences. They consist:

In fiscal systems and arrangements, which keep a host of commercial and wealthy individuals embodied and obedient to the mandates of the treasury;

In armies and navies, which will, on the one hand, enlist the tendency of man to pay homage to his fellow-creature who can feed or honor him; and on the other, employ the principle of fear, by punishing imaginary insurrections, under the pretext of preventive justice;

In swarms of officers, civil and military, who can inculcate political tenets tending to consolidation and monarchy, both by indulgences and severities, and can act as spies over the free exercise of human reason;

In restraining the freedom of the press, and investing the executive with legislative, executive, and judicial powers, over a numerous body of men."

 

The above quotes are from the Address of the General Assembly to the People of the Commonwealth of Virgina on January 23, 1799. This was the legislatures explanation of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 to the people.  The Virginia Resolutions were in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts put into law by John Adams the Federalists.

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

It looks like Nullification is going more mainstream.  The feds won't let it stand but at least someone is trying...

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110126/ap_on_re_us/us_health_care_nullifica...

 

GOP invokes 1700s doctrine in health care fight

 

By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press John Miller, Associated Press Wed Jan 26, 2:56 pm ET

BOISE, Idaho – Republican lawmakers in nearly a dozen states are reaching into the dusty annals of American history to fight President Obama's health care overhaul.

They are introducing measures that hinge on "nullification," Thomas Jefferson's late 18th-century doctrine that purported to give states the ultimate say in constitutional matters.

GOP lawmakers introduced such a measure Wednesday in the Idaho House, and Alabama, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming are also talking about the idea.

The efforts are completely unconstitutional in the eyes of most legal scholars because the U.S. Constitution deems federal laws "the supreme law of the land." The Idaho attorney general has weighed in as well, branding nullification unconstitutional.

"There is no right to pick and choose which federal laws a state will follow," wrote Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane.

Regardless of the very dubious constitutional nature of the efforts, the nullification push has become a rallying cry in conservative states at a time when anti-government angst is running high and "state's rights" are a popular belief among the tea party crowd.

Delegates at Idaho's Republican convention last year urged seizure of federal lands and resurrection of the gold standard. Conservatives in Montana lined up the out the door of a legislative committee room last week to speak in favor of a bill that would make sheriffs the supreme local authorities, another measure widely believed to be unconstitutional.

In Texas, a nullification proposal threatens state officials who don't comply with jail time and fines. Last year in Austin, an insurance salesman led a Texas State Capitol rally as protesters hoisted signs urging not just nullification, but "secession."

In Alabama, a version of nullification sponsored last year by Republican Sen. Scott Beason passed the Senate, but died in a Democrat-led House committee. He'll resurrect it this year.

"A lot people say, if the Supreme Court decides that it is constitutional, you have to live with it. My feeling is, the people should have the final say," Beason told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Frankly, the only recourse people have is for the states to try to flex some sovereignty muscle."

Idaho is already one of 27 states suing over health care reform and its provision to eventually require people to buy insurance, but Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter hinted in a Jan. 10 speech he may go further by pursuing nullification.

For philosophical guidance, many proponents look to Jefferson's words 211 years ago in which he fought against the expansion of federal power during an undeclared naval war against France.

In 1799, Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolutions that "nullification ... is the rightful remedy." Jefferson created the doctrine to express his disgust with the Alien and Sedition Acts that were enacted by then-President John Adams during the war with France.

Idaho Republican Sen. Monty Pearce said the then-future president's words underpin nullification advocates' chief contention: States never relinquished final say over federal matters.

"He was at the Constitutional Convention," Pearce said. "He understood how this whole thing was going to be set up."

Actually, Jefferson was far away, in France, as the framers met in 1787 in Philadelphia to replace the Articles of Confederation.

And his beliefs on nullification were nothing more than his opinions — there's no such mention in the Constitution, said David Gray Adler, a constitutional scholar who directs the University of Idaho's McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

"There's nothing in the Constitution to suggest that the states are superior to the federal government," Adler said. "We have a long string of Supreme Court decisions that reject their theory."

Nullification has been invoked several times over the years — to no avail.

South Carolina wielded it in the 1830s to fight federal tariffs — and nearly provoked armed conflict. Historians see that state's "Nullification Crisis" in 1832 as a prelude to the Civil War.

In the 1950s, Arkansas defied the federal government on desegregation, prompting a 9-0 Supreme Court ruling that states were bound by federal law. Abolitionist Wisconsin's efforts to nullify the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act also were shot down.

And in a landmark 1819 case in Maryland, the Supreme Court underscored that states are subordinate to federal action.

At the Idaho Legislature, however, GOP lawmakers brandish a 306-page book by Kansas-based author Thomas Woods Jr., promoting nullification that tells them otherwise.

As a college student in 1994, Woods helped found the League of the South, an Alabama group the Southern Poverty Law Center says has become a "neo-Confederate group" seeking a second Southern secession. Woods told the AP last week he thinks states have a right of secession, but he doesn't support the Confederacy's return. He's no longer a member.

He argues in "Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century" that Jefferson was right: States created the federal government, and remain the final check-and-balance should the president, Congress and Supreme Court all get it wrong.

"I don't believe the Supreme Court or any body of fallible men are demigods," Woods said.

Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Coeur d'Alene, is a sponsor of the measure introduced in the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday. He doesn't share the view of constitutional scholars that "nullification" is a non-starter.

"If we decide it is settled law — that the federal government can do anything it wants against state priorities — we might as well just get rubber stamps," he said.

earthwise's picture
earthwise
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 10 2009
Posts: 846
Re: Nullification: Answering the Objections by Tom Woods

 

The author of the book on nullification responds to some of the objections to the concept of nullification. http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods162.html

 

goes211's picture
goes211
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 18 2008
Posts: 1114
Re: Is Nullification an answer?

earthwise,

Thanks for adding that link to the thread.  I saw that artiicle when it came out but did not add it because I was starting to worry that I was the only one interested.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments