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Constitutional Matters - State Nullification

The Bill of Rights - The Tenth Amendment reads like this:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

State Nullification

  • What Is It?

State nullification is the idea that the states can and must refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws.

  • Says Who?

Says Thomas Jefferson, among other distinguished Americans. His draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 first introduced the word "nullification" into American political life, and follow-up resolutions in 1799 employed Jefferson's formulation that "nullification"is the rightful remedy when the federal government reaches beyond its constitutional powers. In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison said the states were "duty bound to resist" when the federal government violated the Constitution.

But Jefferson didn't invent the idea. Federalist supporters of the Constitution at the Virginia ratifying convention of 1788 assured Virginians that they would be "exonerated" should the federal government attempt to impose "any supplementary condition" upon them - in other words, if it tried to exercise a power over and above the ones the states had delegated to it. Patrick Henry and later Jefferson himself elaborated on these safeguards that Virginians had been assured of at their ratifying convention.

Basic Civics Lesson; Nullification

This webinar takes a look at a key freedom principle that has not been taught for over 100 years. The idea of a lower civil ruler resisting higher civil rulers who are taking for themselves power not delegated to them by a written constitution. For freedom to flourish, It is the duty of the lower civil ruler to protect the people and the people's rights in this way.

Constitutional Studies 07
Vertical Separation -- Resisting the Accumulation of Power

Supremacy - Fed cannot force States to enforce Fed Law

"It's the federal government's own problem that they've set up programs that rely on help to implement.

Refusing to help the federal government is smart strategy - it's constitutional, it's an easy legal argument, and it works."

Nullify! Chapter 19: Supremacy Misapplied



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Contact: marcus@onfreedomroad.info