Writing as if he were James Madison, Pete Spiliakos, in his recent article James Madison Keeps It Real On Nullification, (an excellent article I urge you to read) made an interesting argument stating that nullification and interposition were not legal. But before we get to that, let’s look at the rest of his article where he states as Madison that, “Now I’d say that nullification and interposition are two different things. The first is the alleged legal rights of states to suspend the enforcement of any law a state government feels to be unconstitutional within the borders of that state. The second is the power of the state government to protect their citizens from radical violations of their rights by the federal government. I know they sound similar, but they could hardly be more different.”
This is where he goes on to explain the difference between the two concepts. But when you break it down, it is the difference between turning your back and saying I am not going to do that and getting in the bullies face and saying I’m not going to do that and neither are you!
At the Tenth Amendment Center, we have a Model Legislation tab at the top of the page. We offer model legislative bills on different Tenth Amendment issues, and with some there are as many as three different versions.
First, there is a Resolution, which states what Tenth Amendment issue you are raising, and then asks that the federal government stop doing it, a lot like a First Amendment redress of grievances. Second, Nullification, where the Tenth Amendment issue is stated and you refuse to comply and forbid any state officer from aiding or complying with the federal government. Kind of the state version of civil disobedience. And finally comes Interposition, this one restates Nullification but not only will state officials not comply they will physically block federal officials from enforcing the “law” in the state. That’s were things get a little dicey. This is the last option no state wants to be pushed to, but when all else fails they must be willing to push back.Details