The following post is excerpted from the script for Nullify: Season 1. Watch all the videos from this series at this link – and Become a member here to support the TAC.
Some people want states to nullify by arresting federal agents. But in today’s political and legal climate, there’s no way for this to work in practice.
Under modern legal precedent, any case involving a federal agent acting within the scope of their assigned duties gets “removed” to federal court. On top of it, there currently isn’t a state court or state government in the country that’s willing to tell the federal courts to pound sand when it comes to charging a federal agent with breaking state law.
In other words, the structure of the legal system today makes it nearly impossible to prosecute a federal agent in state court for enforcing a federal law.
So how would this play out in practice?
Let’s say your state passed a law banning the enforcement of federal gun laws, or federal marijuana prohibition, and this state law included felony charges for any federal agent trying to enforce the federal law in question.
In the highly unlikely scenario that your local police or county sheriff actually arrested a DEA agent for raiding a marijuana dispensary, or an ATF agent for enforcing a gun law, Here’s what would happen.
Lawyers for the federal agent would immediately make a motion to remove the case to federal district court and the state judge would comply. Once in federal court, federal agents almost never get convicted for enforcing federal law. In fact, a federal agent once admitted to committing burglary while participating in a sting operation. The judge let the agent go because the agent claimed he committed the crime as part of the undercover operation.
Because of these facts, in almost every legislative committee in every state of the country, any bill with provisions to arrest federal agents will almost always get voted down. In the off chance that such a bill passes an early stage, it’s almost certain to never become law, or come into actual practical effect.
Unless there’s an historic change in the makeup of state governments, these types of measures are a strategic waste of time. Instead, you should focus on different strategies that work.
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