Blueprint for When States Should Nullify: Jefferson vs. Madison

When considering modern day nullification and interposition of federal laws (NSA spying, drones, gun control, healthcare, etc.), it benefits us to look at the opinions of two important founders.  Although both were advocates of state nullification, each established a slightly different standard for the appropriate time to take this action, as reflected in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798.

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Jefferson and Madison on the Role of the Federal Courts

Today, it is commonly accepted that the U.S. Supreme Court has the sole and final say as to whether or not a federal law is constitutional (after it winds through the lower federal courts).  Recently, for example, the Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional under the auspices that the individual mandate is a tax.  This commonly accepted notion is wrong.

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Unconstitutional acts are not law

Even the “big government” guy of the founding generation – Alexander Hamilton – agreed: “There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the constitution, can be…

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