Published on Jan 10, 2013 Evan Mulch
This rally took place in front of South Carolina’s state house on the morning of Tuesday, January 8th, 2013.
Nullification is not secession or insurrection, but neither is it unconditional or unlimited submission. Nullification is not something that requires any decision, statement or action from any branch of the federal government. Nullification is not the result of obtaining a favorable court ruling. Nullification is not the petitioning of the federal government to start doing or to stop doing anything. Nullification doesn’t depend on any federal law being repealed. Nullification does not require permission from any person or institution outside of one’s own state.
So just what IS nullification and how does it happen?
Nullification is any act or set of acts, which has as its end result, a particular federal law being rendered null and void, or just plain unenforceable in your area.
Nullification often begins with members of your state legislature declaring a federal act unconstitutional and then committing to resist its implementation. It usually involves a bill, passed by both houses and signed by your governor. In some cases, it might be approved by the voters of your state directly, in a referendum. It may change your state’s statutory law, or it might even amend your state constitution. In this case, it is quite simply a refusal on the part of your state government to cooperate with, or enforce a particular federal law it deems unconstitutional.
The same process can happen on a local level too. Your county board of commissioners or city council might take up a measure that rejects or resists a federal law. Once it gets passed, all local agencies might be required to refuse compliance with any federal agents trying to enforce the federal act in question.
In either case, Nullification carries with it the force of state or local law. It cannot be legally repealed by Congress without amending the U.S .Constitution. It cannot be lawfully abolished by an executive order. It cannot be overruled by the Supreme Court if the people in the state reject the Court’s opinion. It is the people of a state or local commnunity asserting their rights, acting as a political society in its highest sovereign capacity. It is the moderate, middle way that wisely avoids harsh remedies like secession on the one hand, and slavish, unlimited submission on the other.
It is the constitutional remedy for unconstitutional federal laws.
With the exception of a constitutional amendment, the federal government cannot oppose (except perhaps rhetorically), these actions to nullify an unconstitutional federal law without resorting to extra-legal measures or violence. But such measures would more than likely backfire, since most Americans still believe might does not make right.
There is no question as to whether or when such “official” nullification will happen: It has ALREADY HAPPENED.
In fact, not only has it happened recently, it has been a success! Perhaps this is why the federal government hopes you will never hear about it.
Read More: Tenth Amendment Center: Nullification