The following was published as a letter to the editor in The Times-News of Burlington, NC
The definition of nullify is: “any act, or set of actions that result in a particular law being rendered null, void or just simply unenforceable.” This does not mean erasing it from statute.
The federal government is dependent on state, county and local cooperation. The end result is what matters, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court says. I don’t think too many people would argue that they’re satisfied with Congress since they have about a 15 percent favorability rating. The federal government will never relinquish the power it has granted itself, no matter how many protests, so we need solutions to stop them. The solution is to look closer to home.
Just because one state passes a resolution denouncing a federal law does not mean that they’ve nullified it. When a state passes an act refusing compliance with federal law this may be an attempt to nullify but it still may not be nullified.
Now on the other hand, when 28 states pass laws against a federal law and it changes public opinion to the point that the pressure causes the federal government to withdraw enforcement it has then been nullified. Or for example if 20 states and multiple counties across the country refuse to assist with their resources in the compliance of a federal law causing the feds to have a logistical problem and lack the resources to enforce it then it’s nullified. There also could be a combination of these that stop the law’s effectiveness.
Nullification won’t work for everything but when enough states do it, it works. It has for many issues such as stopping the Real ID Act of 2005 (A national ID System that would include biometric data and RFID chips like used in pets), Marijuana legalization and stopping or slowing the threat of 2nd Amendment violations.
Stopping the federal government is the grand slam that activists want but the feds have so many barriers to hide behind. If you want to make a difference, keep it local and state. The primary problem is the federal government; the solution is local and state.