Setting the Record Straight on The Daily Show’s Nullification Bashing

On July 31, the Daily Show did a little piece ridiculing nullification. The sketch centered around a Second Amendment Preservation Act passed by the Kentucky Senate during the last legislative session. (The bill died in the House.) After they make the bill’s sponsor look foolish, they bring in a nullification opponent  to make the principle itself look foolish. LaRue County Judge/Executive Tommy Turner serves that role. I should note that in Kentucky, a judge/executive serves as the chief executive of a county – essentially the mayor of the county. They are not judges, and the job requires no legal training.

The following is a letter I sent to Judge/Executive Turner

Dear Judge Executive Turner,

I saw your little spot on the Daily Show.

I admit it was mildly amusing. A total distortion of nullification, but amusing nonetheless.

I know it’s supposed to be comedy, but the piece was clearly intended to make a political point. Little does the Daily crew realize – the joke is on them.

Did you know that the “nullification” bill passed by the Kentucky Senate was absolutely constitutional  - even according to Supreme Court opinion? The bill was a simple noncompliance bill that would have prohibited state cooperation with any federal attempts to enforce acts violating the Second Amendment. It made no provision for state interference with federal actions.

There is absolutely ZERO serious dispute about the fact that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states (or their political subdivisions, local governments) to carry out its laws. None. Even the Supreme Court has affirmed this multiple times.

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Tom Merchant Fails to Make the Sale

Tom Merchant, for the Sentinel Tribune, wrote an article called, “Between the Lines,” focusing on the recent NSA surveillance revelations. In his effort to defend the NSA’s actions, he listed a few of the amendments from the Bill of Rights and argues that many are now antiquated.

He made cases against the Second and Third Amendments to justify his position. There are elements of his arguments that are clearly debatable.

This kind of thinking is clearly dangerous. If we drop the “original intent” of the Constitution to keep up with “the signs of the times,” then none of our rights are truly protected. And if the Constitution needs to be updated, there is something called the Amendment Process.

Merchant writes:

NSA is not actually listening to peoples conversations, but if the government wants to know where I am going out to eat and other mundane things, I really don’t care. It is probably unfortunate that we must give up some of our privacy, but that is just a sign of the times

I really don’t see anything in the amendments that relates to personal privacy, other than the Fourth Amendment preventing the government from unreasonable search and seizure.

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The Mainstream Media Is Recognizing The Supremacy of Nullification

We at the Tenth Amendment Center have promoted the idea that nullification brings people from both sides of the political equation together. And although we have seen mainstream voices from the establishment left and establishment right come together to denounce nullification, the idea continues to catch on amongst the freedom-starved American people. One recent example of nullification catching on comes from the left as author W.W. Houston wrote a recent article for the Economist on May 9 triumphing the idea of nullification and states rights.

Houston began his article with an interesting anecdote about the founding of the Republic of Texas. According to legend, freedom fighters in Texas held up a flag over their cannon that said ‘COME AND TAKE IT’ in defiance of their Mexican oppressors. Houston brought up a recent bill that had passed the Texas House that declared all federal gun control laws to be null and void, comparing it to their revolutionary ancestors. Usually, you would expect a mainstream media outlet at this point to go on a tyrade against this legislation calling it “crazy”, “racist”, “extreme” and every other derogatory term they could come up with. However, this time the Economist has thrown us a curve ball and is actually running the pro-States Rights point of view.

The article goes on to give a solid description of the arguments and counter-arguments for nullification before closing tremendously with an eloquent defense of states rights. “The discretion of states to decide what federal laws they will enforce strikes me as part of a healthy division and balance of government power. Requiring that states devote its citizens’ resources to the enforcement of laws with which the state legislature disagrees seems to me straightforwardly to deny the democratic sovereignty of the state’s people,” Houston said.

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New Marijuana ‘Controversy’ Being Pushed by Bureaucrats, Newspapers

With the economy struggling and cities going bankrupt left and right, you would think that bureaucrats in the state of California would focus on shoring up the spending problems before expending more precious resources toward a crackdown on medical marijuana. But that is not the case. The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries back in July, a decision that won the ire of voters.

This unanimous 14-0 bipartisan agreement that cut off commerce and jobs at a time when they are so desperately needed was so reviled by voters that signatures were quickly collected in enough time to get a repeal measure on the ballot in November. With marijuana being more widespread and popular than ever, it is very possible that these bureaucrats will have their prohibition overturned and the medical marijuana industry will be allowed to grow without senseless laws stifling them.

But according to a Sept. 23 editorial in the Los Angeles Times, the medical marijuana industry cannot be allowed to

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Nullify Now! Tour Coverage

From The New American (h/t Jamie Davis): On Sunday, 10-10-10, hundreds of freedom-lovers gathered at the Omni Championsgate Resort in Orlando, Florida to celebrate the Tenth Amendment and promote the idea of state nullification of unconstitutional laws. Sponsored by the Tenth Amendment Center and WeRefuse.com, along with organizations such as The John Birch Society, local…

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Worried About Anarcho-Capitalism

Famed liberal journo Joe Conason is worried about the increasing influence of Rothbardian “anarcho-capitalism” and the related “Austrian school of economics.” As well he should be. It is these radical ideas–undistorted by the journos–that enthrall the young, and indeed any thinking person. We all know there is something desperately wrong–morally and economically–with the US empire and its police state, welfare state, and banksterism. We are, after all, living in yet another Federal Reserve depression. The average family’s income has not increased in real terms since the 1970s, the first decade of full Fed power. The state and its related corporations are enriching themselves by making us poorer.

“The Austrian craze is particularly curious because it has displaced a school of economics that ought to be more appealing to the proud and patriotic, especially those who claim to be true to the views of the nation’s founders. That would be the school known as ‘the American system’…[a]s articulated by thinkers from Alexander Hamilton to Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln….” Very funny. Why can’t you people just be government-loving, trade-warring, state-building mercantilists? Then journos could praise you.

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Media Alert: Celebrating the 10th on 10-10-10

Our latest media release – picked up by Forbes this morning – please read and share! http://www.forbes.com/feeds/prnewswire/2010/10/04/prnewswire201010040815PR_NEWS_USPR_____PH75193.html “The states don’t have to obey unconstitutional federal laws,” said Michael Boldin, executive director of the Center. “And that means, for example, no national health care mandates, no department of education, no bank bailouts, and even no federal…

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