By Douglas V. Gibbs
Nullification is the States' ability to ignore unconstitutional federal law. Despite the misnomer that all federal law trumps all state laws, Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is very clear that only federal laws that are within the authorities of the Constitution are the supreme law of the land.
If the federal government is the only arbiter of the Constitution, then the limits of the growth of the federal government are non-existent. The federal government could do anything it wanted by declaring it Constitutional, regardless of what the people, or the States, proclaimed.
In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison stated is was the duty of the State to interpose between and federal government and the citizens of the state.
The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798-99 were triggered by Kentucky's need to nullify unconstitutional federal laws, and in those resolutions Jefferson pointed out, “… that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism – since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the Constitution, would be the measure of their powers. That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and, That a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under color of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.”
Thomas Jefferson also wrote, ”whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
Madison's Report of 1800 reaffirms The Virginia Resolutions of 1798; wherein the states must Interpose themselves between the citizens of the states and the federal government.
The establishment sees it otherwise, believing as Joe Klein wrote in Time Magazine in February of 2012, that the "Constitution was a stitching device, written to unify and control the States." The continued concept that the federal government rules over the States has forced the States to reconsider asserting their sovereignty. However, because of two hundred years of conditioning, the willingness to act has been met with reluctance, and the failure to understand the rights of the States.
One wonders if the day comes that a State does act upon its right of nullification, will it fold like a chair when the federal government sues the State through their own federal court system?
State sovereignty, and the right for a State to nullify an unconstitutional law, serves as an impediment to the growth of an oppressive national central government. The separation of powers were not just among the branches of the federal government, but between the States and Washington, as well. James Madison stated that the most ardent opponents of a central government considered the state legislatures the “sure guardians of the people’s liberties” against violations from the federal government.
Our system of a divided government only functions properly when each part of that system works in line with the authorities afforded to that part of government. By the States refusing to stand up for themselves, and challenge the rapidly growing federal government, the States have relinquished their Constitutionally protected powers of restraining the federal government's quest for more power. The people, through their States, are allowing Washington to silence the States. Without the States being willing to stand up to the federal government, Washington will continue to grow unchecked, and the States will eventually become no more than powerless provinces subject to the powerful ruling authority of a central, all powerful, and tyrannical federal government.
We are not powerless. A free people who fear an ever growing centralized government has the ability to stop it through their States. Nullification is the key. Without it, we become nothing more than subjects submitting to the dictates of a powerful central government. Without nullification, we will become enslaved by the federal government, squandering away the rights and freedoms of the future citizens of this nation.
In line with the final sentence of the Declaration of Independence, are we willing to mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor?
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary