During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s many southern states attempted to pass legislation limiting the freedoms of minorities. There are many things that have been improperly used by factions of people that we do not dismiss, because past abuse does not mean that the concept is not accurate. There is still a Tenth Amendment and the states still have Constitutional rights.
The south did not nullify anything when they left the union. Secession means that the state voids the Constitution and leaves the Union. Secession is not part of the conversation when talking about nullification. I understand that people can equate the two of them together, but they are very different.
Growing up in our educational system we have been taught that the checks and balance of the government is with the judicial, executive, and legislative branches. This is not accurate; the foundation of a dual government republic is that the states have a place at that table too. It is the states that formed the federal government, so it is the states that can police the powers of the federal government. If one state does not like a law, they can erase it, or nullify it. The idea that this must go thru the Supreme Court is twisted and goes against the framework of the Constitution. Just because the federal government agrees that something is Constitutional does not mean that the states or even the people agree. We are not a government of the people and by the people if this government can pass laws where they are the only ones who determine the legality of the law. Remember The Supreme Court is a branch of the federal government. Where is the self-rule in this?
Now, let me address the folks who have never heard the word nullification before now. Nullification is an old concept that was originally written and discussed by the founders of this country. The tenth amendment of the Constitution gives the states the power that is not given to the federal government. The states can look at a federal law, determine that in their understanding it is not constitutional, and then erase that law from the laws of the state. When the states exercise this Constitutional right it is called nullification. Our Founding Fathers understood this process to be without the involvement of The Supreme Court.
Our founders went as far to say that if you do not allow the states to nullify and police the federal government we will not have a union for long. The founders understood what they were doing, and it is time for us to understand too. Nullification is the most Constitutional way to challenge the federal government, so it is the most American thing to do when the acts of the federal government are questioned. So join us in Austin on January 16th and show the state and federal governments that there is no one size fits all legislation, and each state has the right to accept or reject federal law.
John Stacy is a leader in the fight for nullification of federal laws that are unconstitutional. You can learn more by visiting NotInTexas.org.
A Nullification Rally will be held on the steps of the Capitol on January 16th. This rally is NOT sponsored by any group – it is truly a grassroots rally. For more information, click here.