The following post is excerpted from the script for Nullify: Season 1. Watch all the videos from this series at this link – and Become a member here to support the TAC.

Nullification does NOT rely on federal courts overturning a federal law. And sometimes states win even when federal courts are against them.

In the 1850s, Northern States passed a series of what were known as “personal liberty laws” intended to thwart federal efforts to return escaped slaves to the South under the Fugitive Slave Act. President Fillmore even threatened to use the army against Vermont to force the issue.

In the days following secession, the state of South Carolina pointed out the results by noting that Northern states “rendered useless any attempt to execute” the federal law.

In 2005, the Supreme Court held in Gonzalez v Raich that federal laws banning marijuana use and possession were in full effect even in states that permitted it. At the time of that opinion, there were ten states that authorized marijuana for medical use. Instead of repealing those laws in the face of a federal court opinion, all ten states moved forward with their programs anyway.  

In the years since, that number of states has more than doubled, with four states going even further to allow the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, like alcohol. As more states take these actions in the years to come, it’s likely that the feds will have to give up on marijuana prohibition completely.

What’s the point?

People worked for years in the legal system to stop both federal laws, and when congress and the courts wouldn’t do the right thing, they made strategic moves to stop them anyway.

That’s why we define nullification like this: Any act or set of acts which renders a law null, void or unenforceable.

The end result is this: when enough people say no to the federal government and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to force their so-called laws, regulations, or mandates down our throats.

Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin and Facebook.

Concordia res parvae crescunt
Small things grow great by concord...

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