Judges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Judges

In response to my latest column I received an e-mail from Bill Walker, co-founder of the Friends of the Article V Convention. The text of the e-mail was also posted as a comment on the original post.

My point with this post isn’t to burn bridges or start some feud between organizations that have similar goals in mind, namely restricting federal power. But I do think it’s important to understand both what we’re up against and where each organization comes from. So, with that in mind, allow me to expand on a few points by addressing Mr. Walker’s comments.

He writes: “[Joel Poindexter] provides no proof where any judge has ever ruled the states have such authority [to use nullification].”

This assumes that the states need approval from the Feds before they can nullify the Feds, and as the title of this post states, “we don’t need no stinking [judges].” And to that point, let me first suggest that if any judge with any clout ever ruled that a state can nullify an unconstitutional “law,” as determined by that state, we’d likely be in far better shape. Any judge who would side with a state on this issue isn’t likely to acquiesce to federal overreach in the first place, and since judges are appointed to the bench by politicians, we’d have to assume this judge had a similar outlook on federalism.

It’s because judges aren’t overturning unlawful “laws” that nullification is even necessary, so who needs them? That’s sort of the point of nullification; it essentially removes the Feds from the equation, since by the time a state has decided to nullify something, the Feds must have failed somewhere in the process. Whether it’s a legislature with an overly broad interpretation of the commerce clause, an executive who decides to write his own laws or a court without the moral fiber to strike down one of the former, nullification is the answer.

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