With a quip typical of a main stream media talking head, Scott Keyes traversed some well worn turf in the article entitled “Strict Constitutionalist’ Ron Paul Endorses Nullification As A ‘Very Good’ Idea”. In the post, Keyes attempts to justify federal legislative oversteps by referring to any act of congress as “the supreme law of the land” and thus, are good to go. He makes no distinction in this assertion for the sovereigns of the state, or the individual.
It’s sad really…
As the Constitution lays out the framework for our great republic, the first ten amendments guarantee that the government cannot encroach on, or take away our freedom and liberty.
Our natural rights.
You might recall those. We have been losing a lot of them lately.
He comes to this conclusion by referring to the test of the Constitution which “states clearly that acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding”
Keyes interpretation of the constitutional passage show no regard for the Ninth or Tenth Amendments.
Amendment 9 – Construction of Constitution
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People
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.
These two amendments provide the basis, and backbone, of nullification. John Calhoun knew this, as does Ron Paul.
Having notified the reader that the GOP Presidential candidate had “endorsed the idea that states should be able to nullify federal laws they don’t like” Keyes reports a bit of the conversation:
KEYES: We’re holding this conference in front of the statue of John C. Calhoun. What role do you (feel) his beliefs play in politics today, particularly nullification?
PAUL: Well, to tell you the truth, I don’t feel comfortable right now pretending I can analyze everything he believed in and everything I believe in, so I think I’m going to beg off on that. But if he was a strict Constitutionalist and a states’ rights person, I’m sure that I would have a lot of agreement with him.
KEYES: Do you think nullification is still a valid political argument in society today?
PAUL: Certainly I think it is. And the Northeast states were the first ones to talk about nullification and also — I think nullifying laws, even if we never used it, to have it available would be very good. I think nullification would be a way to restrain the federal government. [...] I think nullification would be a very good principle. I think it probably wouldn’t be used that much, but our federal government would be much smaller than it is today had that principle been more clearly embedded in our Constitution.
Mr. Keyes seems to clarify his first question with the second. In response, Dr. Paul relays that the North East states had first thought of nullifying federal abusive legislation through nullification. He imparts that the concept itself could be used by the states today, for the same reason.
Nullification is possible by the sovereign state exercising the power of the Tenth Amendment. This power can be exercised by the state when Congress passes a bill which was constructed outside on its enumerated powers, which are set forth in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.
Based on the bill’s illegitimate beginnings, the state can deem the signed law “null and void from inception”, as Congress had not been granted the power to create it in the first place. It is unconstitutional, and is of no consequence.
So too is Keyes’ assertion that the states believed they could nullify “federal laws they don’t like” In actuality, they can nullify laws that are “unconstitutional”.
Targeting NDAA would be a nice start.