Thursday, October 14, 2010

The gist of the argument

More than half of Thomas E. Woods' book, Nullification:  Resisting Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, consists of historical documents explaining and defending the right of states to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government. One of these documents is "An Exposition of the Virginia Resolutions of 1798" written in 1833 by Judge Abel P. Upshur. He sums up the argument in five points:

1.  The Constitution of the United States is a Compact between the States, as such.

2.  The Government established by that Compact, possesses no power whatever, except what "the plain sense and intention" of that Compact gives to it.

3.  Every act done by that Governement, not plainly within the limits of its powers, is void.

4.  Each State has a right to say whether an act done by that Government is plainly within the limits of its powers or not.

5.  The States are not bound to submit to, but may resist, any act of that Government which it shall so decide to be beyond the limits of its powers. (p. 225)
The notion of states' rights is foreign to most Americans today. Most Americans think of the states as nothing more than administrative districts of the federal government. In reality, it was the states who created the federal government to act as their agent to carry out certain limited functions. The federal government is to be the servant of the states, not their master. When the federal government oversteps its delegated powers, it is the states as states who must resist by nullifying its unconstitutional acts. This means we must elect state representatives and state senators and a governor who understand how the state can and should act as a wall of defense to protect its citizens against the unauthorized use of power by the federal government. It is the health care bill that gotten people to think again about the role of the states; but the right of the states to nullify federal laws ought to be used with respect to a host of other issues as well.

I think Woods is spot on in his treatment of this whole subject and I hope that his book becomes a runaway best seller.

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