Practical Nullification

On June 11, 2015, in Dr. Dan Updates, Nullification, by FreedomForum

Any legislation, rule, regulation, or executive action implemented by any branch of the federal government that is contrary to, in violation of, or disallowed by The Constitution is, by its very essence, null and void. Our Constitution guarantees sovereignty to each citizen and to each of the sovereign states, past and future, that voluntarily agrees to be part of the federation created by that legal document. By design, the federal government is not a party to this legal contract. Its delegated powers are strictly limited by that contract, with the states retaining ultimate authority over the federal government protected by the Tenth Amendment.

That was both theory and reality to those who wrote our Constitution and to the delegates to the state ratifying conventions who agreed to join the constitutional republic, the federation of sovereign states that was created thereby.

All that remains today is an historical account of that theory. The rights “guaranteed” to the states and their citizens have been stolen by constitutional amendments (14, 16, and 17) and the Federal Reserve Bank which, by institutionalized blackmail, has forced the states into economic submission to the federal leviathan.

Thomas JeffersonThe concept of “Defiant Nullification,” both used and accepted by our founders, is easily defeated by the withholding of the federal funds that, after having been taken by force from individuals by the IRS, is needed to fulfill the mandates of the federal government.

In 1997, however, one Supreme Court decision produced a powerful tool for state and local governments to nullify unconstitutional federal actions. Printz vs. The United States clearly affirmed that the federal government cannot force state and local governments to assist or perform tasks necessary to enforce federal law. The case involved a demand by the federal government that Texas sheriffs perform background checks required by the Brady gun control legislation. They refused, and after the lengthy legal process their decision was upheld.

The concept is simple. The federal government does not have the personnel and resources to enforce its laws, rules, and regulations without the cooperation of local authority. While the feds may target a single state or county to coerce compliance, it becomes a numbers game when multiple local entities, acting in concert, refuse to assist and comply.

As the current administration continues to act through executive fiat in so many unconstitutional endeavors, we must make a concerted effort to support practical nullification by state and local government officials. We are living in times not at all unlike the decades that preceded America’s War of Independence. The specific government offenses and techniques may differ, but the actions of the elitist tyranny that sparked that conflagration in 1776 are not that different than those imposed by the professional political class that constitutes the oligarchy that rules America today. Rights and Freedoms, taken so slowly that few notice their absence, can only be retained and, hopefully regained, if the states and their citizens act with the sovereign force they are entitled to wield in defense of the Constitution and Liberty.

Practical Nullification is our best hope to begin the battle.


Join Dr. Dan as he welcomes back noted author Michael Maharrey. Part one of this interview airs this weekend, June 13-14, on WJRB 95.1 FM and streamed live over the Internet. Part two airs June 20-21 and part three airs June 27-28. All programs are available by podcast following air time here.

Michael MaharreyMichael Maharrey serves as the national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center and the executive director for OffNow.

Michael Maharrey earned a B.A. in Mass Communications and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Mike has covered local and state politics for several publications in both Kentucky and Florida, and won two Kentucky Press Association awards as a sports writer in 2009.Tenth Amendment Center

Mike currently produces web content for a Lexington television station and is author of Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the lost path to liberty, a book about the concept of constitutional nullification as a means to rein in out of control big government and usurpation of states’ rights and liberty.

A native Kentuckian and an adopted Floridian, Mike currently lives in Lexington with his wife and three children. A long time hockey player, he is equally passionate about protecting and preserving the Constitution and keeping pucks out of his net on the ice.

3 Responses to “Practical Nullification”

  1. Tom Wise says:

    Overwhelming their system is a good strategy if a large number of people participate. You must overcome (1) who will go first (the Jesus/pioneer dilemma), (2) how you will spread the word with a media that smears anyone who has a dissenting way, (3) how to overcome the consistent fear that you will be singled out as an example. Just the beginning, of course.

    This is public revolt. This also has been slurred as “mob rule.” Majority rule is good. But if the majority is silent, it cannot be termed so.

    Constitutional Convention, out of the public’s hands, is still constitutionally available, even if many fear its outcome.

  2. George E Danz says:

    As Tom Wise so wisely points out, “a large number of people must participate.” Jesus was, is and will be first and last… the Alpha and the Omega. Spreading the word in this modern era is easier than one might think. In fact, Dr Dan’s Freedom Forum is just one of the many methods we have.

    In my opinion it is more scary to think what will happen if we don’t dissent in a powerful and significant way. Public revolt? Maybe, but we’ve been down that road before, many survived, and we have the potential to be much better off as a result. But we must begin to take action. It isn’t going to get any easier by waiting.

    The attraction of nullification is that that mode of solution is not out of the public’s hands although it requires a strong state legislature in the several states to make it happen. That’s why it is so important that we put our strongest, best people in local and state government. There are only 16 to 18 powers enumerated in Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution.

    Citizens in the several states should be excited to know that everything else, not enumerated in Article 1, Sec. 8 is the purvey of the states and the people. Knowing this, I mean really knowing this, should make us all very excited.

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