Nullification

Any act or set of acts which results in a particular federal law or program being rendered null and void under the law, or unenforceable in practice.

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison first formalized the principles of nullification in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798. While Jefferson called it “the rightful remedy” to federal overreach, Madison put it a different way, saying a state is “duty bound” to interpose “to arrest the progress of the evil.” Jefferson and Madison were the first to propose nullification specifically, but they didn’t create the idea. In fact, the strategies and principles date back to before the American Revolution. Colonists used nullification strategies to force Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act. And during the Virginia ratifying convention, George Nicholas said that if Congress were to exercise any power not expressly granted to it, the state of Virginia would be “exonerated from it,” implying that the state would have the authority to ignore or block unconstitutional acts. Nullification is a fundamental part of the American political system. But what exactly does it mean? There are two definitions. One is legal. When a court strikes down a law, it literally wipes it off the books. But there is also a practical definition – to make something of no value or consequence. When we talk about nullification happening today, we generally mean it in the practical sense – to end the practical effect of a federal act. Here is a succinct definition of nullification as we apply it: Any act or set of acts which has as its result a particular law being rendered legally null and void, or unenforceable in practice. Madison gave us a blueprint on how to do this in Federalist #46. He suggested four steps to take on counteract and stop federal programs – whether “warrantable” or “unwarrantable,” the most significant being a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.” The federal government involves itself in almost every aspect of life, but depends on state assistance to do almost everything. If states refuse to help, it becomes nearly impossible for the feds to enforce their laws or implement their programs. We can use this strategy to undermine and nullify all kinds of federal acts in practice – from warrantless spying, to gun control, to plant prohibition and more.

l

James Madison

A refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union Federalist #46

Featured Articles

/
Understanding Madison's Notes on Nullification

Understanding Madison’s Notes on Nullification

Even while arguing against South Carolina nullification, Madison continued to affirm Jeffersonian nullification in his Notes ...
Read More
/
Madison, Parsons, Jefferson: States as a Check on Federal Power

Madison, Parsons, Jefferson: States as a Check on Federal Power

James Madison, Theophilus Parsons and Thomas Jefferson all agreed - the states are a powerful and essential check on federal ...
Read More
/
The Establishment Hates Nullification

The Establishment Hates Nullification

Tom Woods lays out another smackdown ...
Read More
/
Nullification: An Overview of its Many Forms

Nullification: An Overview of its Many Forms

There's more than just one hammer - there's an entire toolkit ...
Read More
/
The Jefferson Letters, Vol. 1: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

The Jefferson Letters, Vol. 1: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

Following, you will find the ten letters between these three men reprinted in their entirety ...
Read More
/
Jefferson Davis: Confederate President vs Nullification

Jefferson Davis: Confederate President vs Nullification

Davis went to lengths not only to condemn nullification itself, but also to criticize proponents of nullification within his own ...
Read More
l

Thomas Jefferson

Where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits

Related Videos

[yotuwp type=”videos” id=”-Vr9lBH5EKw,jpODu9bRJZ4,Ow5wVBroBd8,1c0lNS4iU8k,lJDaCe8ZKI0,hFjdgN52cPw,lLVo6qwVTdk,Vn585y9odjg,irV-59KC5lI,Cx5y8lrH0hY,k3L0U9EcP0Y,jy0RnXnTuM0,Qec9dyxie80″ ]


Concordia res parvae crescunt


Small things grow great by concord...

Tenth Amendment Center


"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."


FOLLOW US

Get in Touch

12 + 13 =


MAIL:
PO BOX 13458
Los Angeles, CA 90013


PHONE:
213.935.0553

The 10th Amendment

“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.”

LEARN MORE

01

Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles

02

Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog

03

State of the Nullification Movement

108 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report

01

Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty

02

maharrey minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens.

maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues – history, and application today

TENTHER ESSENTIALS

Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!

JOIN TAC

01

The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose – the “Foundation of the Constitution.”

10th Amendment

03

Nullification

Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history – and today.

nullification