Tag: state’s rights

Nullification is the Cure to Tyranny

By TJ Roberts | United States

The history of the United States has been a history of the growth of the federal government and the degradation of individual and local sovereignty. As government centralizes, the State forces us into a “one size fits all” approach to not just government, but culture. With the death of local sovereignty comes the rise of the superstate, where the only checks on their power are the arbitrary rulings of the elites within their own ranks. To put it quite simply, the federal government will not check itself, and the American Empire will continue to grow so long as no outside force puts the federal government in check.

There is, of course, one way to resist federal tyranny that the government does not want you to know about: nullification. For the sake of this article, nullification will be defined as “any act or set of actions, that result in a particular law being rendered null, void, or even unenforceable within a particular area.” With this definition, we can see that nullification is simply an action that stops a law from taking effect within the geographical confines of a polity. So, if a state government passes a law forbidding the enforcement of a specific federal law in the state, the state is taking part in an act of nullification.

While the establishment wants you to believe that it is the job of the Congress to determine the laws in the US and the Supreme Court’s job to shut down unconstitutional laws, this is far from the case. In truth, any unconstitutional law immediately loses its legal power within the United States, and it is the right and the duty of state and local governments, and also the common individual, to resist these laws to render them null, void, or unenforceable. In other words, it is the right of the people to nullify tyranny.

Whereas state and local governments value their sovereignty, they have an incentive to limit the federal government as much as possible. The state’s right to nullify, however, does not come from the state, it comes from the people and their right to self-defense. As a self-owner, you have the right to defend yourself and your property from aggression; this includes aggression from a government. While the government is inherently unjust, we live in a world where the State does exist. With that in mind, the only role of government should be to preserve the natural rights of the people. In a federal system, this role of government gives local and state governments the duty to stop the federal government’s influence on the people.

Nullification is Constitutional

One of the top objections to the idea that the states should nullify federal laws they deem unjust or unconstitutional is that it is unconstitutional. This could not be more false. The Tenth Amendment reads that “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.” Nowhere in the constitution is the power of nullification given to any federal entity, so clearly that nullification is not an enumerated power of the federal government. Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution outlines powers that the states are not allowed to do, and nullification is not on the list either. So, nullification is not a federal power. Nullification is not prohibited to the states. Therefore, Nullification is a protected power of the states as delegated under the 10th Amendment.

One objection that some will use is that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution gives the federal government the power to stop nullification. The Supremacy Clause reads as such: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

The “constitutionalists” say this settles the argument, but the ignore the true meaning of this clause. To be specific, they completely ignore the phrase “in Pursuance thereof.” This phrase makes it clear that the federal government is only supreme when they are pursuing actions specifically authorized for them to pursue by the Constitution. The Supremacy Clause, when put in modern terminology, essentially says “This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which this Constitution authorizes… shall be the supreme Law of the Land….” In other words, there is no argument that the constitution bans nullification. In fact, the 10th Amendment encourages it.

Kentucky and Virginia

Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions on Nullification
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

In 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison drafted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutionsrespectively. In these resolutions against the Alien and Sedition Acts, the two founders explained why nullification is the path to liberty.

In the Kentucky Resolution, Jefferson declared nullification as “the rightful remedy” to federal tyranny. In fact, he did not see nullification as a power of the states, but as a natural right of the people. In Jefferson’s mind, an unconstitutional law is already null and void (Alexander Hamilton concurred with Jefferson in Federalist 78), it is just the duty of the states to refuse to comply with this law. Jefferson’s justification that Nullification is a natural right stem from his belief in self-defense. Simply put, if a government becomes tyrannical, it is the right of the people to abolish that government.

Madison echoes much of the sentiment of Jefferson in the Virginia Resolution. But he also outlines a process of how to nullify a law, which he also elaborated upon in Federalist 46. The way to nullify, according to Madison, follows as such:

  1. Noncompliance with the officers of the Union. If the federal government passes tyrannical legislation, it is the duty of the state governments to treat the feds the way the colonists treated the British. Ensure that they are not able to enforce these laws in the states. Northern states did this in the 1850s by passing Personal Liberty Laws to resist the Fugitive Slave Act.
  2. Mass Protests. When the masses come out against federal tyranny, state-level officials realize that they risk their power if they choose to comply with federal orders. We can see this with the example of Sanctuary Cities in the modern immigration crisis. City and state governments that resist ICE likely have a dissatisfied voter base who believe that Trump’s immigration policies are unjust and are willing to protest these.
  3. Outspoken governors. Voters don’t take their state and local officials seriously anymore. But they should. It is incredibly important that the state officials feel emboldened to speak out against an overbearing federal government.
  4. State legislation. If state governments pass laws saying that a federal law is unenforceable within that jurisdiction, this law is nullified. The states have this right, especially when the federal government is passing unconstitutional laws. We can see this with the state governments passing laws that decriminalize or legalize cannabis, even though it is banned at the federal level.

If All Else Fails

The most extreme act of nullification is, of course, secession. If a central government becomes too overbearing, it is within the rights of a local sovereign to assert their rights to self-defense and separate from their oppressor. In the same way, nullification comes from the right to self-defense, so too does the right of secession. Secession nullifies not just a specific law, but all laws passed by the central government.

We must remember, however, that secession is not just a state right. It is an individual right. If we reject the right of secession, we reject the right of one political unit to dissolve its bands to another. Divorce, for example, is an act of secession. The American Revolution was an act of secession. The right of secession is an individual right that must be revived in order to stop the rise of the total state.

Nullification: A State Right AND an Individual Right

While the states have the ability to nullify federal tyranny, who will nullify state and local tyranny? Individuals, of course! It is the individual right to self-defense from which the right of nullification comes, so why would the individuals not have the right to nullify? One of the most famous examples of individual nullification, though none dare calls it nullification, was the Underground Railroad.

In 1850, former President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act, which made a farce out of due process, into law. The public responded by establishing the Underground Railroad, a system of activists who aided escaped slaves by helping them go to Canada, where slavery was illegal. It was after the Underground Railroad’s establishment that encouraged almost every northern state to pass Personal Liberty Laws, which restored due process for those accused of running from slavery. Some states even went further than that. There are several recorded instances of state law enforcement arresting federal marshals for attempting to enforce this law.

A more recent act of nullification is Cody Wilson’s work toward 3D printing firearms. The rights of all people are being violated by unjust state and federal gun laws. Wilson, however, has made a way for one to bypass all gun laws: print your own! You have every right to bear arms and the government has no right to infringe upon that. Cody Wilson’s innovation has made all gun laws effectively unenforceable. Cody Wilson used nullification to grow freedom.

Answering Objections to Nullification


The people who are against nullification, especially secession, claim this issue was answered in 1865. However, as alluded to before, nullification was used to fight slavery. From Personal Liberty Laws to the Underground Railroad, the states were resisting the adamantly pro-slavery federal government. And they won. Despite the fact that the federal government upheld slavery through the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott decision, slavery was unenforceable in northern states. In fact, one of the main reasons South Carolina seceded from the union was because the northern states so successfully nullified the Fugitive Slave Act. Nullification opposes slavery. Although one should never use the force of the State to decide right and wrong, I guess the naysayers are kind of right. The question was answered in 1865, and the nullifiers won with shining colors.

Civil Rights

Some naysayers point out that state governments used nullification as a means to enforce Jim Crow laws in the mid-20th century. This is a problematic truth, at best. Plessy vs. Ferguson, a federal SCOTUS decision, ruled that Jim Crow laws were constitutional, giving the “separate but equal” doctrine. But the background of this case proves that nullification would have helped. The 1890 Separate Car Act forced racial segregation on train cars in Louisiana. But the train companies opposed this law. This is why a company allowed Homer Plessy to board a “White Only” train car. The private sector was attempting to nullify a tyrannical state law (remember that nullification is an individual right) but failed due to an out of control Supreme Court.

In addition to the Plessy vs. Ferguson case, we can see that the greatest atrocities of human history were committed by governments. From the Holocaust and other instances of genocide, democide committed by the communists, slavery, the eradication of the Native Americans, the Trail of Tears, war, and so on, government has killed and oppressed far more than the private sector could ever dream to.

But even if this was not the case, and that nullification was used to enforce civil rights abuses rather than the federal government (which was the entity that actually enforced these abuses), this does not discredit nullification. Nullification is a principle separate from the policies. It does not matter why one nullifies. It matters that they nullify because that is their right.

Nullification is Happening Right Now, and it is Saving Money and Lives!

Prohibition has been one of the most devastating government policies in the United States. The war on drugs has cost taxpayers $1 trillion dollars in 40 years and has led to the loss of freedom for millions of nonviolent people. State governments, however, are fighting the drug war.

In 1996, California passed Proposition 215, legalizing medical cannabis. California did this in spite of the federal ban on all forms of cannabis. Upon the successful passage of Prop 215, the Bill Clinton Justice Department announced their intentions to still enforce the federal ban. Since Clinton made this statement, 9 states have legalized recreational cannabis, 13 more states have decriminalized it, 30 states have legalized medical cannabis, and ZERO federal cannabis arrests have occurred in states that have legalized pot.

Nullification is the Rightful Remedy to Centralization

Nullification is the path to curbing the federal government. As time goes on, it becomes more and more clear that freedom will not be defended by a central entity. What matters is local sovereignty. At the local level, politicians are more easily held accountable. They are more inclined to align themselves with the values of their constituents. So, in terms of government, smaller is better.

When government localizes, the world sees a greater diversity in policy and culture. The people within each polity are more inclined toward cooperation whereas we know our neighbors, but not the communities that are thousands of miles away from us. In other words, we should let the Californians be Californians, let the Texans be Texans, let the Kentuckians be Kentuckians, and so on.

Imagine a world under one government. Imagine if China became a hegemon to the extent that it could impose its will on Americans. Imagine if China declared itself the world’s policeman. Imagine if China bombed hospitals and schools in the US to impose its will upon you. Would you not rebel?

To deny decentralization is to accept the idea that we should centralize and that one size fits all in terms of culture and politics. But we can objectively observe that this is not the case. So long as we reject world government, we must accept decentralization. If the US has the right to exist independent of a world government, should not the states have the right to exist independent of the US? Should not the cities have the right to exist independent of the states? The neighborhoods independent of the cities? The individual separate from the neighborhoods? In matters of decentralization, logic dictates the importance of consistency. To reject one facet of decentralization is to reject all facets of decentralization.

In other words, nullification is the answer. To resist tyranny, localize. Not only will this stop tyranny, it will also lead to greater harmony among communities, diversity in policy, and a greater power of the people to “vote” with their footprints.

Originally published on freedomandeconomics.org.

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Michigan at a Crossroads – John Tatar for Governor

By John Keller | United States
John Tatar is a libertarian campaigning to be the next governor of Michigan.
Keller: Running for governor is no easy task. What inspired you to run for office and pursue a political career?

Tatar: I am tired of the Democrats and Republicans promising everything and delivering NOTHING!  Each “public functionary” has no clue about our Republic and has no clue about the US Constitution and the MI Constitution.  These “public functionaries” have no idea that their power to govern comes from the people who delegate power to them to rule.  If we don’t delegate it,  they do not that the authority to do it.  Yet their responsibilities to take care of the infrastructure has been seriously neglected,  They claim they have no money so they must raise taxes,  yet they have enough money to purchase a 17 million dollar building for 48 Million, and they get away with it.  The “public functionaries”  are over paid and under worked while the people they represent are over worked and under paid,  This REPUBLIC is upside down.  The Candidates that are presently running are ALL part of the SAME ilk.  I could go on and on about what is wrong, but complaining will not fix the problem RUNNING for governor will..

I have always been involved with politics, I have tried to correct some of the problems as a citizen but educating the masses is very difficult.

Keller: When entering politics, what drew you to the Libertarian Party over the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?
Tatar: The Libertarian party has not been compromised at this time.  If you haven”t been a delegate to either of the other two parties that is a true eye opener,  They are corrupt and compromised as the candidates who are running.  I was a delegate at one time to the Republican party, during the Ron Paul run for president.  When Ron Paul met the criteria for speaking at the convention, that is getting 3 states that supported him, then he would get a chance to speak at the Republican Convention.  Well, at the Republican Convention, in front of everyone that was watching on TV saw the chairman of the republicans change the rules to 10 states.  What a criminal behavior! 
Keller: In Michigan’s history, since 1842, there has been 17 democratic and 28 republican governors – no third party governors. Why is the time for a libertarian governor now
Tatar: I believe that many of the Citizens who are involved with the electoral process is fed up with the present political graft and corruption system.  Many have given up, and so when I was out personally gathering the 18,800 signatures, many people who signed for me signed for me because I am running on the libertarian ticket.  I think it is time for a change,  The candidates presently running are running for an office they have no idea what that office is about.  They trample on the Constitution and the peoples rights without any consequences.  Lansing has become totally cloaked in darkness.  We need to change this.
Keller: Libertarians commonly follow the motto, “Less government is better government.” What is one area in which you think more government would actually be better?

Tatar: Less government more liberty.  This government is much too large and too many rules, ordinances, and enforcement officers,  Consequently too many fines, and too many people incarcerated for non violent crime.  Much to much government. Have you been to Lansing lately?  This is a mega city.

Keller: In continuation of the last question, what is one area of government you want to see cut or even erased?

Tatar: Dept of education, Dept of transportation cut, Dept of State cut, Eliminate the Senate, part time legislature on and on.

Keller: What would a libertarian governorship look like in Michigan? In other words, what policies would you want to see enacted?

Tatar: Follow the US Constitution, Follow the Michigan Constitution, re write the oath of office to include if anyone in the legislature, executive or judicial takes a bribe or promises anything that is a felony.

Seriously cut back the size and scope of government. More liberty to the people.  Also eliminate the state income tax and cut back on many other taxes if not eliminate them.  Concentrate on fixing the MI infrastructure.  See my website: johnjtatar.com

Keller: The “Flint, Michigan” story was national news for sometime. How do you view the handling of this issue, and what would you change, if anything?

Tatar: Flint is in the national news because the government was caught “usurping” authority.  All of Michigan water is polluted. That is a sin.  The infrastructure in MI has not been kept up.  All citizens must do house keeping from time to time and so the government needs to do house keeping also.  Instead, the “public functionaries” line their pockets and walk away laughing at the people in MI.

Keller: As Governor, what would be more important to you: following federal mandates from Washington D.C. or serving the state of Michigan?

Tatar: All federal mandates if unconstitutional are “null and void”!!!  Michigan is its own country, we are not a colony of Washington.

Keller: If someone was interested in your campaign, how could they get involved?

Tatar: Go to my website johnjtatar.com and there are ways of contacting me.

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the audience?

Tatar: We are on the very edge of losing our Republic and sliding back to a Democracy where the Oligarchs will become kings and we will become slaves to those in charge.  What way do you want to go?
I would like to thank John Tatar for his time. Be sure to visit his website to learn more.

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Ron Paul is Right: Jeff Sessions Should be Fired

By Benjamin Lemley | USA

Last Thursday with the help of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration took aim at marijuana decriminalization. Specific policy changes repealed a measure, implemented under Obama in 2013, that protected states Marijuana policies from federal intervention. With this change comes an opportunity for the federal government to closely monitor and potentially choose whether or not to enforce laws on a state to state level based on the content of the policy.

Obviously, objections were quick to arise. One of the most notable came from former representative Ron Paul. Paul appeared on CNN Saturday denounces Sessions actions. He said that Sessions represents something that is completely un-American. “To me, the war on drugs is a war on liberty,”. He added that “Jeff Sessions is not a Libertarian, not at all.” Paul justified his pro-choice position by saying that “I think that we overly concentrate on the issue of the drug itself, and I concentrate on the issue of freedom of choice, on doing things that are high risk. We permit high risk all the time. We do overly concentrate on what people put into their body,”. The Trump AG was farther scolded, when Paul called the as to called the war on drugs a “totally illegal system” and adding that is “very questionable constitutionally”.

Beyond the concerns which Paul voices on the violation of civil liberties, many legal weed advocates from all sides of the aisle have been concerned with the potential federal abuse for which this change allows. While the issue and violation of rights and the enforcement of those violations go hand in hand, this example specifically, of federal oversight of state policies, seems to cross a major line.

Paul’s major claim was that Sessions should be fired over his un-American change. With support from democrats in congress, and building public pressure it is uncertain how long Sessions will hold his current role.

California Shooting Proves the Futility and Tyranny of State’s Rights

By Ryan Lau | USA

Just this Tuesday, as many have most likely already heard, 43-year-old Kevin Neal went on a rampage in Tehama County, California, slaughtering four people and injuring at least ten others. These horrific events in Northern California early Tuesday morning have once again called the issue of gun control to the front lines of political dispute between Democrats and Republicans. It is with great sorrow and regret that I feel it necessary to write about this event today, however, as once again, both parties are succeeding at infringing upon the rights of the people. Already, several California lawmakers have called for a tightening of existing gun laws. Despite this, if their intended policy measures were to pass, their cries would only be met with more tears following the next preventable death from gun violence.  

The simple fact of the matter is, Neal committed these murders using a semi-automatic rifle. Authorities are also still trying to determine whether or not the shooter was further armed with an AR-15 assault rifle. But wait, aren’t those two of the weapons that fell under California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent ban on all automatic and semiautomatic rifles? Or, seeing as Neal injured an elementary school child while on the school’s grounds, is it contradictory of California Assembly Bill 424, which Brown signed just one month ago, that prohibits a school superintendent from allowing any guns to be carried or concealed on school property? Both actions were clearly illegal, and yet Neal still decided to carry these weapons in a prohibited location. Perhaps, as the name would suggest, a criminal is not apt to follow further laws against his illicit activity. Thus, a lack of adequate firearm restrictions cannot be blamed for the events.

If inadequate laws are not the culprit, is there one in addition to Neal? Though many critics of gun restrictions will point out that Neal chose to break the law, and thus Neal is the only one responsible, they, in fact, are missing a clear piece of information. Upon a simple analysis, it becomes apparent that the very laws put into effect to stop tragedies such as these have adverse effects, worsening them by raising the death and injury toll.

Take, for example, AB 424, which as previously stated, prevents teachers from carrying guns on school grounds in the interest of students’ safety. What this bill does not do, however, is disarm the security guards and other safety personnel, such as police officers permanently or temporarily stationed within the building. Why is it that Governor Brown permits those wearing one uniform to hold a weapon, but not those in another? Of course, the safety personnel have gone through a higher degree of training, but in an active shooter situation, seconds can make the difference between life and death, and if a teacher is unarmed, and a security guard in another wing of the school, Governor Brown may have additional lives on his hands, as the teacher was unable to protect his or herself and students due to his ill-fated policy. A recommendation that teachers be fully trained and armed, or at the very minimum, not legally prohibited from doing so, ironically under the ultimate threat of gunpoint, will absolutely ensure the safety of more individuals and may have reduced the death and/or injury count Neal was able to cause.

Needless to say, Governor Brown is not the only source of such abysmal and life-threatening policy. Any governor or other member of state legislation is entirely capable of infringing upon the rights of the people and equally capable of causing deaths due to these infringements. Quite ironically, the very system that permits this method of oppression is often revered by those who claim to preach in favor of small government. Yes, you may have guessed it, I’m referring to State’s Rights.

Originally, the concept of State’s Rights was of course granted by the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, which many consider to be an infallible document. Nevertheless, it is a dated document that by no means could have ever predicted the size and scope of today’s federal government. Though written to restrict it, the Bill of Rights has either permitted or been powerless to prevent mass government expansion into its current bloated form. Given the number of laws that exist today, it is simply incomprehensible how advocates for a more limited government can possibly argue for a state to have the right to create more.

Our federal government currently protects the individual right to bear arms, a rare case in which the federal government’s policy coincides with the Natural Rights of the individual. Why on earth should we give the states the power to interfere with this, just because they occupy a smaller total land area and contain fewer people? No individual or collective of individuals is authorized to infringe upon the Natural Rights of another, and whether that collective has domain over land in the shape of America, California, or Tehama country is entirely irrelevant. Reduction in land size does not escape the inherent tyranny of a government deciding what a peaceful individual may or may not do.

We as Americans face many clear issues, from gun violence to the restriction of rights. However, the solutions can never be to further limit the actions of peaceful individuals. Doing so is futile, as it will never fully restrict the actions of those who are a true threat to society, and in doing so, the rights of the innocent and further robbed, and the government racket only continues to grow. We already have a strong federal government that tightly controls American lives. Rather than trying to strengthen another layer of statism, it is absolutely imperative that we weaken the power of the federal government and allow individuals the freedom to act as they please. No state, however small, is justified in robbing this freedom. There is no alternative to a free society, and the recent California shooting proves exactly this notion.