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.
Some people are fond of saying that nullification can’t be done – in any form – because “it’s not in the constitution.” But, this view flips the entire system upside down.
One of the most basic principles of the Constitution is that it is based on delegated and reserved powers.
Here’s the introductory version: the federal government is only authorized to exercise those powers which have been delegated to it in the Constitution. And states are not allowed to exercise powers expressly prohibited to them, mostly found in Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution.
As James Madison put it in Federalist #45, The powers delegated to the federal government “are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
If someone says a state can’t do something because it’s not listed in the federal constitution, they’ve got the system totally backwards.
The next time someone tells you this, don’t debate them about the supremacy clause, or whether the nullification effort is based on anti-commandeering strategy. Or anything else for that matter.
Instead, start with these basics. It’s the federal government that can only do what’s delegated to it in the Constitution, not the states. People need to learn this fact before they can ever understand anything else.
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