A common complaint among detractors of nullification is that, as they see it, “James Madison was the author of the Constitution and since he didn’t include nullification in the document, it can’t be done.”
This attitude holds that the feds get to do whatever they want, as long as it’s not specifically prohibited by the Constitution, while the states have to receive their authority from the Constitution or the feds. This argument completely flips the entire structure of the Constitution on its head. It also ignores what Madison later wrote about nullification in the Virginia Resolutions and later in Notes on Nullification.
The federal government is only authorized to exercise those powers delegated to it in the Constitution, not the states. While states are expressly prohibited from doing some things in the Constitution, mostly listed in Article I, Section 10, it’s the federal government that can’t do something if it’s “not included in the document.”
The Constitution was written to define the limited powers of this central government. Meanwhile, the states retained any powers not specifically delegated to the feds. This is exactly what Madison later wrote in Federalist 45:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite (bold emphasis added).
The Tenth Amendment also confirms this relationship between the states and the feds when it speaks of “delegated” powers to the federal government.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people (bold emphasis added).
The argument that nullification is illegal because isn’t in the Constitution falls apart under even the gentlest scrutiny. If the states must specifically receive authority from the U.S. Constitution and not even their own constitutions, then logically it must follow that every law they pass and legal action they take that is not mentioned in the Constitution must be considered illegal. Plain reasoning demonstrates how absurd this is.
The authority to nullify unconstitutional federal laws, on the other hand, is not delegated to the feds, nor is it expressly prohibited to the states. That nullification is not mentioned at all misses the point of the Tenth Amendment, which was to make it clear that the enumerated powers the feds had were the only powers they had. Those who point to the Supremacy Clause as proof of this prohibition also forget that the clause refers to actions taken in pursuance of the Constitution, i.e. it does not give the feds carte blanche to assume any power they want. Nullification pertains to federal actions that go beyond the limitations of the Constitution and serves as an important check and balance when the three federal branches fail to restrain each other as intended.
Thus the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression (bold emphasis added).
His use of the term “natural right” cannot be overlooked. Madison is not calling nullification a mere legal tool, but a natural right along with “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is a right which all people are born with innately and cannot be deprived of them without their consent.
One shouldn’t be surprised about this, because it logically followed from his belief articulated in Federalist 46 that the powers of a government ultimately resided in the people over whom it ruled.
In it he wrote:
The federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers, and designed for different purposes. The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject; and to have viewed these different establishments, not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone, and that it will not depend merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expense of the other (bold emphasis added).
Put differently, the people ultimately get to decide what their government is allowed to do. When they decide that government has gone too far, nullification is a means of exercising their natural right of protecting their liberties without resorting to violent overthrow of that government.
Lastly, it must be pointed out that James Madison was not the author of the Constitution, albeit he helped draft the document along with other convention delegates. He is known today as the “Father of the Constitution,” chiefly due to his Federalist essays promoting its ratification and his work in drafting the Bill of Rights.
When William Cogswell credited him as “the writer of the Constitution of the U. S.” in 1834, Madison replied that Cogswell had given him “a credit to which I have no claim . . . . This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands” (bold emphasis added).
Madison was no doubt being modest in regards to his involvement, but he was still correct in pointing out that no one person had a legitimate claim of authorship of the Constitution, for it was the product of compromise and collaboration by the delegates who attended the Philadelphia Convention in 1787.
Through nullification people are able to exercise their natural right to resist the unjust and illegal actions of their government when it violates the limitations placed upon it by the written Constitution from which it derives its authority. That it is not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution itself is irrelevant because, as we very well know, the Founders believed in the right of revolution, yet there is no clause in the Constitution affirming this right.
Drivers as well as their passengers in Topeka Kansas will soon be subject to a new policy requiring everyone to put their hands up during police stops.
Police say they are implementing this policy because “we all want to go home to our families, and this makes it safer for us to approach vehicles to gain that compliance. It gives us a chance to survive these encounters.”
However, the implications regarding this practice are horrid, and many residents are up in arms about being forced to be up in arms.
“Every day somebody’s getting shot by a police officer, and it’s like ‘oh my goodness, will I be next?’, or will I be okay?” said one resident.
Local officers are citing the three tragic shooting deaths of officers in a two year period as the reasoning behind this policy.
“As we all know, we’ve lost three officers in less than 2 years and as a result of that we’ve had to take a hard look at the way we’re conducting business, particularly as it relates to car stops.” said TPD School Resource Officer Matt McClimans.
While this policy may seem like it has good intentions, nearly every aspect associated with it is tyrannical.
First of all, this “policy” was not approved by the taxpayers. No citizens got to vote on its implementation, and it is going to be enforced with potentially deadly force.
Secondly, it treats ALL parties stopped by police as criminals.
One resident summed it up perfectly by saying, “Make us feel safe, not automatically make us feel like criminals.”
“To put my hands up, I mean, I just can’t see how people are not offended by that,” said one resident.
“I think that is too aggressive, and unnecessary, and I don’t agree with it,” said another.
“Police and community interactions are tough enough as it is and the more demands, the tougher it’s going to be, and the more problems you’re going to have,” explained a resident.
Besides treating everyone they come in contact with as a criminal, forcing people to put their hands up creates a slew of other problems as well.
How would someone hold the police accountable by filming their own interactions if they are forced to raise their hands? All too often innocent people are vindicated after being beaten and assaulted by police, only because a cell phone was recording. This would end that.
Imagine a situation in which someone tries to point their phone out of the windows while they attempt to raise their hands, the end result would not be pretty if officers mistook the phone for a gun.
What if a passenger in the vehicle is paralyzed, or temporarily disabled and they cannot raise their hands? Is this an immediate death sentence?
“There is nothing left but the light fixtures; we burned everything from the carpets to any personal effects left behind,” a Hudson Savings Bank senior vice president said. “We didn’t want anything from that house showing up for sale on eBay two years from now.”
The home, valued at $360,000, is said to be the place where Lanza shot his mother Nancy shortly before proceeding to the Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012 to allegedly commit mass murder.
Residents of Newtown clamored for the property’s demolition.
“Not only is the property a constant reminder of the evil that resided there – those of us who walk, run, drive, ride or otherwise must pass it multiple times a day, are having a hard time moving on,” resident Dave Ackert wrote.
Ackert is the founder of the Newtown Action Alliance, another gun control group set up in the wake of Sandy Hook which ostensibly aims to aid victims of “gun violence.”
The home’s demolition followed the destruction of the Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2013, where contractors were “required to sign confidentiality agreements intended to keep descriptions of the inside of the school from circulating on the Internet,” according to the New York Times.
Five months after the massacre took place, the Connecticut General Assembly also secretly drafted a bill to withhold records from the public regarding the police investigation of the event.
“Do exactly what I say, and we’ll get along fine. Do not question me or talk back in any way. You do not have the right to object to anything I may say or ask you to do, or ask for clarification if my demands are unclear or contradictory. You must obey me under all circumstances without hesitation, no matter how arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or blatantly racist my commands may be. Anything other than immediate perfect servile compliance will be labeled as resisting arrest, and expose you to the possibility of a violent reaction from me. That reaction could cause you severe injury or even death. And I will suffer no consequences. It’s your choice: Comply, or die.”— “‘Comply or Die’ policing must stop,” Daily KOS
And Americans of every age and skin color are being taught the painful lesson that the only truly compliant, submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one.
It doesn’t matter where you live—big city or small town—it’s the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents, hyped up on their own authority and the power of their uniform, ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry. In turn, Americans are being brainwashed into believing that anyone who wears a government uniform—soldier, police officer, prison guard—must be obeyed without question.
Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information, and religion destroys spirituality.
The United States has been declared under martial law. All constitutional rights have been suspended. Anyone interfering with the collection of urine samples will be shot. Anyone failing to attend morning school prayer will be shot. The number one enemy of progress is questions. National security is more important than individual rights. Sports broadcasts will proceed as scheduled. Shut up, be happy, obey all orders without question. At last everything is done for you.