by Michael Boldin
â€œWhy donâ€™t you go spout your mouth off in Iraq with your buddy Saddam, you terrorist!â€
Those were common emails for me to receive while George W. Bush was president. Opposing Bush policies like the Patriot Act, Real ID, and just about everything else back then didnâ€™t win too many conservative friends for the Tenth Amendment Center, of which I am executive director.
These days, taking a stand for the Constitution – every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses – doesnâ€™t win us too many friends from the left. When writing about our Nullify Now! event in Manchester on March 19th (http://www.nullifynow.com/newhampshire), a local â€œblueâ€ blogger proclaimed:
â€œThere ought to be a price paid for this sort of misbehaviorâ€
Montanaâ€™s Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer recently told the AP that state nullification bills were â€œunamerican.â€
Nullification – any act or acts which result in a particular federal law being rendered null and void, or unenforceable, in your state – really seems to get peopleâ€™s blood boiling. On this issue, though, I believe both sides of the political aisle have been guilty of being little more than partisan hacks. They support the idea when â€œthe other sideâ€ is in power, and viciously attack it when their team is in charge.
In my home state of California, medical marijuana has been â€œlegalâ€ for nearly 15 years now. When the idea was first proposed, it was attacked as nearly treasonous, mostly by those on the right. â€œYou canâ€™t just pick and choose what federal laws to obeyâ€ and â€œthe supremacy clause pretty much settles the questionâ€ were the most common attacks on those who believed that the federal government shouldnâ€™t have any say in whether people here could grow and consume a plant as they saw fit.
In 2007, when Governor John Lynch signed House Bill 685 refusing compliance with the Real ID Act, New Hampshire was participating in a nationwide nullification movement championed by the ACLU. The bill stated, in part:
â€œThe general court finds that the public policy established by Congress in the Real ID Act of 2005, Public Law 109-13, is contrary and repugnant to Articles 1 through 10 of the New Hampshire constitution as well as Amendments 4 though 10 of the Constitution for the United States of America. Therefore, the state of New Hampshire shall not participate in any driverâ€™s license program pursuant to the Real ID Act of 2005 or in any national identification card system that may follow therefrom.â€
Didnâ€™t hear too much opposition from the left on either of those issues, did ya? Neither did I.
Today, there are fifteen states actively defying Congress and the Supreme Court on marijuana. And, twenty-five states have joined the fray by refusing to comply with Real ID. The result? Through these state-level efforts, the Feds are being pushed back. Successfully.
The lesson? Nullification works.
These days, the big noise isnâ€™t really about weed or ID cards – itâ€™s pretty much accepted that states reject these things. But, after learning of the success that the left has had in recent years advancing their causes on a state level, many on the right are working to do the same.
In New Hampshire and other states around the country, legislatures are considering bills that will have the practical effect of nullifying federal laws on health care, guns, marijuana and even TSA body scanners.
The beauty of it all rests in the system that the Founders gave us in the Constitution. Whatâ€™s right for New Hampshire might not be right for California, and vice-versa. The bottom line? Our federal system is the only one that allows a huge range of political and economic viewpoints to live under a big defense umbrella in peace.
Have the people of New Hampshire ever violated federal law to the point that it was unenforceable? I donâ€™t know if the people here really live up to their motto, but itâ€™s high time that they started.
And in the end, if medical marijuana or health care nullification takes hold, the People will have spoken loudly â€“ nullification is alive and wellâ€¦in New Hampshire.