When nullification opponents need some conservative cred to back up their arguments, they turn to the Heritage Foundation.Details
Nullification is based on the federal nature of our government, on the Supremacy Clause, and most strongly, on the compact nature of the Constitution. Americans are not taught their founding history and are certainly not taught the principles that underlie their government. They talk about “checks and balances” but only the simple ones – the president’s veto power and the federal courts. But the most important of checks and balances is indeed this notion of dual sovereignty and the willingness of states to stand up to unconstitutional conduct by the federal government.Details
Every time a state refuses to help the federal government enforce their laws, the feds’ court gets bigger. They simply do not have the players needed to defend the whole playing field and this lack of resources becomes a penalty in itself. Ultimately, there’s no real need to slap a technical foul on a group of players that can’t stop the other team from scoring.Details
Given the vast and secretive nature of the federal government, it’s critical for activists and advocates of personal liberty to be aware of the goings-on in D.C. and elsewhere. As Snowden famously put it, “the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the ‘consent of the governed’ is meaningless.”Details
A few weeks ago I left a note for nullification deniers regarding some of their more frequent errors. A quick perusal of Wikipedia clears most of these up, so there’s no excuse for always being so ignorant of the subject matter. Still, some opponents of nullification seem to know plenty of its history, and yet remain plagued with misunderstanding.
For those intellectually honest enough to address the popular origins of nullification in the United States – the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions – a common rebuttal is to reference those states which opposed the “Principles of ‘98.” This fact seems to be used in order to marginalize the use of nullification and offers a convenient means of confirmation bias for those addressing this point. However, this argument is fraught with a number of problems. It ignores certain relevant historical facts that help explain the motive behind rejecting nullification at the time, it establishes a faulty chain of reasoning, and begs an important ethical question related to politics.Details
From a practical perspective, nullification provides results that other options cannotDetails
Sometimes, support for state action to block unconstitutional acts springs up in the most unlikely of places. Take this gem from a former Washington D.C. prosecutor who admits he “just about always sided with the United States in circumstances in which the states have tried to preempt the federal government.” Jeffery Shapiro agrees that states should not enforce any federal acts violating the Second Amendment.Details