Answering Objections to Nullification

On May 17th, Arizona Tea Party activist, Steve Weston, was interviewed on a Blog Talk Radio show called,  Crossroads with Van.  I hope you will check out the show and tune in often!

This particular interview introduced the topic of state nullification and addressed the question of whether its use is constitutional or not.

I wanted to appear on the show as the other guest, in order to champion nullification, but unfortunately, my work schedule did not permit it. However, you can listen to the entire interview by clicking HERE. And you can also listen to a previous debate between Steve Weston and Professor Kevin R.C. Gutzman by clicking HERE

Part 1

This is the first in a series of blog posts meant to clarify some of the issues raised in the interview, to correct some of the errors that Mr. Weston made concerning the history of nullification and to share some observations and insights that I gained from listening to the interview.

Who’s the Authority?

At the beginning of the interview, Mr. Weston mentioned that he considered Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to be the two most authoritative writers on the subject, with Madison’s writings carrying the most weight, in his opinion.

While I agree that Jefferson and Madison were two of the most important figures when it came to articulating and clarifying the doctrine of nullification  (what would eventually come to be known as the Principles of ‘98), I would like to point out that arguments in favor of nullification go all the way back to the ratification debates (especially in Virginia), and were instrumental in persuading those opposed to the Constitution’s ratification.

Also, a number of other brilliant, although younger patriots, whose lives overlapped with those of Jefferson and Madison’s, were also important champions of nullification. Their insights and arguments concerning the nature and character of the Union need to be considered as well. The arguments I’ve always made in favor of state nullification have never been based on the ideas or writings of one, or just a few, founders, framers or ratifiers. One has to to look at the big picture, and listen to the many voices that were all part of this long debate, both before, during and after the Constitution’s ratification.

But back to the radio interview…

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Dan Casey Betrays His Ignorance While Ranting About Tenthers’ “Flawed” Arguments

Casey’s central argument against what he views as our misreading of the Constitution, betrays both his ignorance of the history surronding the Constitution and the rules of legal interpretation that were understood very well by the those who framed and ratified it.

Both James Madison (the author of the amendment Casey uses to make his case), and Alexander Hamilton, had serious reservations about a Bill of Rights. Why? Because they argued what Tenthers today understand — that the Constitution created a federal government of strictly limited powers. That’s the reason pro-ratification founders, like Hamilton, expressed concern that the Bill of Rights:

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Splitting Arizona: Support grows for 51st state

Outraged over efforts in the Arizona State Legislature to nullify unconstitutional federal commands and prohibitions, a growing number of Pima County residents and even a few of their state legislators are proposing that they be permitted to break away from the rest of Arizona in order to form their own state. If they are eventually successful, Tucson would almost certainly be it’s capital city.

I’ve been saying that this is what needs to happen for more than a decade. Perhaps a majority of the people who reside in what is known to be the more left-leaning, southern parts of our state, have long been fed up with the north’s social and fiscal conservatism. Now they are completely outraged over our movement to nullify every last federal act that a majority of our state legislators deem to be unconstitutional, but which they consider to be perfectly within the sphere of legitimate federal power.

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Thank a Veteran Today by Introducing Them to Oath Keepers!

Oath Keepers simply recognize that there are certain orders we would NOT obey because we will consider them unconstitutional (and thus unlawful) and immoral violations of the natural rights of the people. Such orders would be acts of war against the American people by their own government, and thus acts of treason. We will not make war against our own people. We will not commit treason. We will defend the Republic.

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