ConfessDid you know I’m a “fool” who wants “to restart the Civil War so that I can reinstate segregation and slavery!”

Yup.  I want my wife relegated to second class citizenship. Or even better, sold off to some southern plantation to pick cotton.

And I “do not know the U.S. Constitution.”

But wait; there’s more!

I “represent a far greater danger to our peace and security than Muslim terrorists.”

Why? Because I believe in nullification.

Frederick Leatherman says so!



Frederick is a former law professor who writes a blog. And like many academics, he suffers from a high level of arrogance and a misplaced sense of superiority, as evidence by his hateful comments. He belittles others to elevate his own tepid arguments. I guess you have to resort to argumentum ad hominem when you don’t know what in the hell you’re talking about.

On July 29, our legal eagle posted some comments by another dude who gets credit for making one of the stupidest arguments against the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798 I’ve ever read (more on that in a minute) and he uses them to bolster his case against the principles of nullification articulated by those dangerous, constitutionally ignorant fools Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Then he sweeps away any remaining objections by copying and pasting the supremacy clause from the Constitution.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

“So much for the nullification doctrine.”

Well, there ya go! No nullification allowed! Whatever the federal government does stands as supreme!

So, Leatherman agrees when the federal government calls an Iraq War veteran smoking medical marijuana prescribed by his doctor and dispensed by a state sanctioned clinic to relieve his pain a criminal.

Arrest that evil law-breaker!

And when the Congress and the president assert the authority to indefinitely detain anybody they want on American soil, Freddy stands by federally sanctioned kidnapping! That means he also gives a nod of approval to locking up Japanese-Americans behind barbed wire fences. The feds stand supreme, and they said it was necessary, after all.

NSA spying on every American without probable cause? No problem!

Targeted execution with no due process? Why yes! In fact, that might prove a handy solution for those dangerous nullifiers. After all, we threaten America far more than Muslim terrorists!

And northern nullification of the fugitive slave acts? Criminal! Black people didn’t deserve due process! The federal government said so. And that stands supreme, after all. (And I’m the racist in this scenario?)

Nobody with an ounce of sense actually believes the supremacy clause says the feds can do whatever they want – and that’s exactly what Leatherman implies. A plain reading of the clause (I realize plain reading can prove difficult for legal scholars, but hang with me here) bears this out.  Three simple words define the extent of federal supremacy. It’s limited to acts “in pursuance of” the Constitution.

Alexander Hamilton expounded on this in Federalist 33.

“If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers intrusted [sic] to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies and the individuals of whom they are composed…But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are  not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. Hence we perceive that the clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union, like the one we have just before considered, only declares a truth, which flows immediately and necessarily from the institution of a federal government. It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution. [Emphasis added]

Despite what our academic Einstein might think – I do know a little something about the Constitution.

So, what do we do when the federal government exercises undelegated power? We resist it. Madison provided the formula in Federalist 46, and expanded on it in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and his Repot of 1800. Jefferson put it succinctly in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.

“Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”

Wow – Jefferson was a dangerous fool indeed.

That brings me to the comments written under the pseudonym TJefferson-1649275. Leatherman posted them to buoy his argument. I address “TJefferson’s” legal points on Marbury v. Madison in an article titled Nullification for Lawyers, but one comment bears some scrutiny here.

It is true that Jefferson and Madison made that argument in their Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, but it is also true those Resolutions never did pass the Congress.  

Umm…they were never brought before Congress. They were proposed in the state legislatures of Kentucky and Virginia where they passed overwhelmingly. Aside from this obvious point, does this brainiac really suggest that the lack of congressional approval somehow invalidates the substance of the argument? Does this mean I can go steal my neighbor’s Jeep? Congress never passed a law saying I can’t! Actually, having read an awful lot of garbage passing out of Congress, I would argue this actually raises the stature of the Principles of ’98.

Seriously, this counts as one of the most vapid, ignorant and incoherent arguments against nullification I’ve come across.


I can understand why this tome appealed to Leatherman. TJefferson-1649275 name-calls just like the former law professor.

The poorly educated, far right wing, extreme, fanatics in the Republican Party today are joining together in an organization called the 10th Amendment Society to demand the states adopt the “nullification doctrine.”

Get the new book today!

Take careful note here: this blowhard who calls me “poorly educated” manages to pack at least two blatant falsehoods into a single sentence.

First off, he doesn’t even get the name of the organization right. It’s the Tenth Amendment Center! This so-called Tenth Amendment Society doesn’t exist. (Unless he’s referencing the obscure Kansas Tenth Amendment Society – which is doubtful.) I suppose legal brilliance precludes using Google.

Secondly, we aren’t right wing and we aren’t Republicans. Minimal research confirms this.

These clowns have zero credibility. I’ve been called a fool plenty of times, but rarely by people so foolish.

Mike Maharrey

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