The Founders’ way for states to address unconstitutional federal legislation: nullification

…every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.
Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78

Whensoever the (federal) Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.
Thomas Jefferson, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798

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.
U.S. Constitution, Amendment 10

Nullification is a tool that state legislatures are obligated to employ when federal legislation oversteps the clear boundaries given it by the states and the people. The document by which we created the federal government in the first place is the U.S. Constitution. And it was done with the understanding that no actions the federal government takes outside the powers it was given are legal (see above).

A “theory” only until we make it a fact

Wikipedia calls nullificationa legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional.” The only thing that keeps it a “theory” is enough voters choosing they’ve had enough and supporting their state legislators and elected officials to do their duty. 

The fastest way to get up to speed is with lawyer Publius Huldah’s article (fourth link below). Also excellent is Tom Woods’ explanation in the video at the second link.

Select Articles

Book review: Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century (2014)

Nullification Headquarters (with video of Thomas Woods explanation; 2012)

The Constitution and Nullification: now more than ever (2012)

Why States Must Nullify Unconstitutional Acts of Congress: Instructions from Hamilton, Madison, & Jefferson. (PDF; by Publius Huldah, from the Constitution in Ten Lessons class; 2011)

More About Nullification (2010)


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