“To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if those limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?”

- Chief Justice John Marshall

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Texas Wins Abortion Law Appeal

On Oct. 31, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed much of Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling blocking sections of a tough Texas abortion law.

This will now allow many of the provisions of the Texas Abortion Law to go into effect immediately.

The appellate  judges ruled that the restrictions on doctors can take effect while the lawsuit challenging the law moves forward, according to the Associated Press.

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“The theory of our government is opposed to the deposit of unlimited power anywhere. The executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of these governments are all of limited and defined powers.”

- Justice Samuel Miller

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“I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time… there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.” – Rosa Parks 1992 NPR interview

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James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Nullification and “Insupportable Oppression”

Some of the so-called “experts” who want you to believe that nullification is invalid because James Madison wrote what seems to be a vehement opposition to it in the 1830s are just uninformed. Others, are just plain liars.

Either way, they’re wrong.

Here’s the deal.

John Calhoun and South Carolina proposed a specific kind of nullification in response to the “Tariff of Abominations,” as it was called. Madison denounced that. He used some serious language to write against it. And he was correct. He repeatedly referred to what he was opposing as “Her” doctrine of Nullification, or South Carolina’s “peculiar doctrine” of nullification.

In other words, he was addressing – specifically – what people were asking him about, and that was the South Carolina proposal that they could invalidate a federal act and the rest of the country would have to assume they were correct unless they held a convention to override the single state.

I’m not going to spend more time on this – because that’s obviously not a federalism ideal. And I agree with Madison’s opposition to that style of nullification – primarily the idea that every other state has to auto-agree with the one nullifying.  That’s just not the case.

But, what’s most important about Madison’s “Notes on nullification” is the fact that he did indeed consider nullification, as Jefferson did, a proper remedy.

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