“Nullification: The Rightful Remedy” Print
Commentary/Politics - Editorials
Written by Kathleen McCarthy   
Tuesday, 14 August 2012 13:43

Decades of indoctrination have caused most Americans to believe the federal government is the boss of them. In March 2011, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees, told students at a conference at Augustana College that “people who don’t believe the United States government has any control over their lives” are domestic terrorists (RCReader.com/y/dees at the 38-minute, 50-second point). Rather than such extremist, wrong-headed rhetoric, Dees should explain to students that we the people are the bosses of not only the federal government, but of state, county, and city governments, as well. This is American Civics 101.

However, because we have so completely failed in our individual responsibilities as civic bosses, the federal government is indeed methodically taking control of every aspect of our lives – from the kinds of light bulbs we are permitted to use in our homes to spying on us with unseen drones to violating our persons at every airport checkpoint to granting the executive branch the unlawful ability to arbitrarily deny us due process via the recently enacted National Defense Authorization Act.

Frederick Douglass, an American orator, writer, and statesman who escaped from slavery in the mid-1800s to become a leader in the abolitionist movement, wrote: “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to, and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong that will be imposed upon them.”

Despite what Dees would have young, impressionable students believe, the government does not give us our rights. Our rights exist whether there is a government or not. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights mandates that the federal government’s primary directive is to protect all our individual rights. It does this through the Constitution’s limiting principles, declaring throughout that “government shall not ... .”

So what do Americans do when the national government exceeds its authority and violates our rights? Thomas Jefferson wrote: “A nullification is the rightful remedy whenever the government violates the Constitution.” Nullification is the ability of the people within the various states to reject federal laws and mandates that violate the U.S. Constitution. In fact, states are duty-bound to resist such overreach and to disallow any unlawful enactments.

The Foundation for a Free Society (F4FS.org) and the Tenth Amendment Center (TenthAmendmentCenter.com) have co-produced an illuminating documentary by filmmaker Jason Rink called Nullification: The Rightful Remedy (NullificationMovie.com). This film clarifies the pecking order of governing authority that was established with America’s founding documents and represents the basis for America’s republic under the rule of law: bottom-up governance, beginning with each individual as the principal arbiter, and flowing up to local, state, and federal agencies.

The most rudimentary wisdom tells us that the federal government is not going to limit itself; therefore, the role for holding it to its lawful purpose belongs to its boss – the American people, whose sovereign status is ours from birth as distinct and free human beings. Each of us resides in one of 50 states, whose elected and appointed representatives are equally responsible for the protection of our individual rights, as spelled out in every state constitution.

At the time of our founding, the states agreed to apportion certain redundant chores to the federal government for expediency. The federal government is nothing more than an agency for the states and, by design, for the people who reside in those 50 states. But like any organization, labor (the federal government) cannot respect absentee management (the American people) and will devise means to replace it. This appropriately describes conditions in America today.

Nullification: The Rightful Remedy is an amalgamation of various speakers on the subject of nullification, including its origins, justification, and viability as a peaceful and enforceable solution to regain the people’s control of a federal government run amok. The film correctly asserts that it’s completely unrealistic to expect that politicians currently in office will ever give up power, nor should we expect that any new politicians we elect to replace them will give such power back once it’s handed to them. This explains in large part why it doesn’t matter which party controls the federal government. All political roads lead to the same end – growing the federal government to increase its authority over Americans.

This documentary does not go into why politicians, in cahoots with elite global cartels, want to control the universe, including its populations and resources; it assumes viewers accept this agenda as real, bipartisan, and advancing at an alarming rate. Instead, the film proposes a serious path to restoring governance back to the states in large measure, and holding the federal government to the limits specifically expressed in the founding documents that provide the basis for the law of our land.

The Articles, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence are not complex, yet they have been summarily perverted over time, thanks to the federal branches of government that refuse to stay within the limits of their respective authorities. And thanks to their bosses – the American people, who refuse to do their job of holding them to it.

Below is a recap of Nullification: The Rightful Remedy. As such, it is also a brief reminder of American Civics sprinkled with some history – important information that is sadly missing from modern curricula, whether in K-12, college, or even many law schools, where constitutional law is only an elective.

1) Government does not grant us our rights; we have them naturally, endowed by our creator.

2) We the people of the several states created the federal government, not the other way around.

3) We created government to protect our rights, using limiting principles “expressly delegated” in America’s founding documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the United States Constitution, which includes the Articles of Confederation.

4) The U.S. Constitution specifically lists what the federal government can and cannot do, referred to as “enumerated powers” in Article 1, Section 8.

5) The federal government’s authority is granted solely by our consent. Moreover, the federal government is forbidden to delegate any authority to itself without our consent. No legislation, executive order, or U.S. Supreme Court ruling can delegate additional authority to the federal government. Only a constitutional amendment can add or subtract to the delegated powers of the federal government.

6) If the federal government violates the Constitution with unlawful acts, especially acts that increase its own powers, we the people via the states are obliged to nullify them.

7) Holding the federal government to only the powers enumerated in the Constitution does not happen by itself. It requires the constant vigilance and enforcement by the people. There is no incentive for the federal government to limit itself, so it will always strive to extend its authority by any means it can – by any means the people allow by ignoring and/or leaving unchallenged such occurrences. Model state legislation to nullify such overreaches is online at TenthAmendmentCenter.com/legislation.

8) The federal courts are part of the federal government and cannot be trusted to limit any of the federal branches. The courts will interpret the Constitution to the federal government’s advantage at the expense of the people. A perfect example of this is the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Wickard V. Filburn. The court determined that even though a product (wheat) was grown but not sold, its lack of being sold impacted commerce in other states. This absurdity has since provided cover for all manner of federal-government overreach.

9) Nullification is the rightful remedy for holding the federal government to the Constitution. The 10th Amendment affirms that every state has the right to reject federal laws and mandates that are unconstitutional. Any federal law that violates the Constitution is an unlawful act, and the states are obliged to nullify, refusing to enact such acts in their respective states. Each state’s law-enforcement personnel, all of whom take oaths of office to uphold both their state’s and the United States’ constitutions, are obliged to protect their state’s residents’ rights, and therefore must enforce nullification when imposed.

Solutions for America’s socioeconomic problems will eventually force us to determine once and for all whether the federal government works for we the people, or whether we the people are subservient to the federal government. Many of us are too frightened to stand up to the federal government’s increasing usurpation, while others genuinely want a centralized government in charge of our lives. And many among the younger generations don’t even know they have a choice.

It is time for Americans to reject once and for all the same tired, albeit familiar, patterns of political thought governing American elections, thanks in large part to politicians’ unholy alliance with the media cartel to administer a strict policy of divide and conquer.

Stop watching, listening to, and reading news that is mostly emotionally charged with little substance. If you do not learn something new, or at least something relevant, then you are likely being polarized, not informed. But most importantly, if actual solutions aren’t being proffered, reject it as a source of information. The glaring absence of anything resembling solutions in all of news, punditry, talk radio, and election speeches should serve as a crystal-clear indicator that the message is all hat and no cattle – in other words, pure manipulation.

As Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, says in Nullification: The Rightful Remedy: “The Constitution is not about political parties. It’s not about political ideologies. It’s not about political candidates. It’s not about politics at all. The Constitution is about liberty. It’s about limiting the federal government to certain enumerated powers, so we can deal with the most difficult, the most divisive, the most problematic issues where they belong – close to home, in our states.”


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