Cato Chairman On Nullification: An Amalgamation of Revisionist History Covered in Judicial Fairy Dust

Cato Institute chairman Robert Levy’s recent article, “The Limits of Nullification” is nothing less than an amalgamation of revisionist history covered in judicial fairy dust.  His assertions are premised upon a flawed understanding of certain fundamental principles and constitutional history.  Levy conveniently ignores them and, consequently, drawn inaccurate conclusions.

Let’s dissect this piece by piece.

Levy implies the Constitution was ratified by the people acting in their aggregate political capacity – a single unitary body politic.  In fact, many people believe this falsehood because they rely on the words “We the People of the United States” in the Preamble.  The initial drafts of the Constitution named each and every state.  They said, We the people of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, etc.  But, Article VII of the Constitution states, “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same”.

Each state is independent, free, and sovereign.  The ratification happened within each State by the people acting in their highest political capacity.  Each state voted up or down on the ratification.  There was no popular vote across all thirteen states.  There was no majority of people (50%, 75%, or 95%) of the people that could ratify the Constitution.  The people of each free, independent, and sovereign State ratified the Constitution independent form every other state.

Details