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  • Beware the Nullification Temptation

    With state legislatures back in session, legislators are looking for options to reassert their legitimate role in the constitutional structure of federalism. Sadly, a few otherwise well-intentioned legislators are once again turning to the discredited and unconstitutional doctrine of nullification—the claim that an individual state legislature has the authority to veto federal laws.

    Nullification may appear to offer a tempting “silver bullet” solution to the overexpansion of the federal government, but it is imperative that legislators reject this unconstitutional and unlawful doctrine.

    Heritage recently released a factsheet distilling the core arguments against nullification and an essay by Christian Fritz entitled Interposition and the Heresy of Nullification: James Madison and the Exercise of Sovereign Constitutional Powers. Fritz’s essay provides an in-depth historical explanation of why Madison, the Father of the Constitution, emphatically rejected the attempt by a single state to nullify national laws. Equally important, Fritz explains in detail Madison’s theory of “interposition”—a constitutional method for states to resist federal encroachment.

    In 2011, nullification bills were successfully defeated in each state in which they were introduced. Defenders of the Constitution should continue to resist the allure of nullification and seek other constitutional means of defending federalism, limited constitutional government, and the cause of liberty.

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Beware the Nullification Temptation

    1. John Lambert says:

      I would love to see Christian Fritz debate Kevin Gutzman on this topic. BTW, Fritz ought to read Gutzman's new book, "James Madison and the Making of America" which is up for a Pulitzer. Fritz might actually learn something on this topic.

    2. Bobbie says:

      the intentional incoherency and disrespect to govern within the constitution- make enough to remove anyone from their seat immediately since their actions prove an agenda of their own as their disregard and disqualifications to fulfill the job required and expected within the peoples' constitution continues…

      We need American leadership that respects the power of the people and the only defense of the power of the people is the American Constitution! This American leadership is intimidated by the peoples' constitution, that's why they're doing everything they can in as short a period of time as they can to sneak in all they can to destroy our individual empowerment. FREEDOM!

    3. Are you people neocons?

    4. The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798

      1. Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes — delegated to that governm
      ent certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral part, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

      Thomas Jefferson The First Kentucky Resolution or 1798

      It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts, that, where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges, in the last resort, whether the bargain made has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United Sta
      tes was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority, of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.

      James Madison, Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1798-1799)

      Do States Actually Have The Right To Secede? – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fegDJuLqo0&f

      State by State, A Nullification Domino Effect – Tenth Amendment Center http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2012/11/16/state-

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