A good introduction to the Principles of 98 from Keith Broaders at the California Tenth Amendment Center. Here’s an excerpt:
In 1798 when the Federalist Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Act, the Anti-Federalist led by Thomas Jefferson were outraged. The law passed by Congress made in a criminal offense for newspaper editors and onyone else for that matter to criticize the President and/or Congress. There were a number of cases where editors of newspapers were incarcerated merely for speaking out against the policies of President John Adams.
It was Jefferson’s opinion that the laws to limit the freedom of speech and the press clearly violated the First Amendment.
In an effort to support the Constitution and the rights guaranteed by it, Thomas Jefferson decided that when Congress passes unconstitutional bills and the President signs them in to law there needed to be a way for the states to nullify laws that they felt were unconstitutional. He wrote the Kentucky Resolutions in 1798 and James Madison wrote a similiar document for the state of Virginia. In both documents it was asserted that the legislatures of the states have a legitimate right to determine the constitutionality of laws when they believe that the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches have failed to properly interpret the Constitution
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