This question just came in on our feedback forum, and I thought it was important enough to discuss that I’d share my answer here.

QUESTION: Is the principle of anti-commandeering synonymous with nullification

ANSWER:  It depends on how you define the word “nullification”

Many believe that it is defined only as John Calhoun did in 1830’s South Carolina.

Anti-commandeering is not that process.

What it is, though, is a 100% legal process, backed up by years of Supreme Court precedent, which says that the feds cannot “commandeer” state resources to carry out a federal act or regulatory program. In other words, the states are free to decide if they will participate or not.

Recognizing that many, if not most, federal programs rely heavily on this kind of cooperation, by enacting anti-commandeering laws on various issues around the country, they can have the effect of a practical nullification – rendering federal acts “nearly impossible to enforce”


Michael Boldin

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