This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at

Your Ad Here

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What is Nullification?

I've been seeing a lot of articles on nullification lately. It's an interesting subject.

This should not be confused with "jury nullification". Jury nullification is when a jury decides to vote "not guilty" because they disapprove of the law, even though the facts of the case indicate that the law was broken. For example, if you believe "Possession of marijuana is not a crime!", then you should vote "not guilty" in a drug trial, even if you believe that the defendant possessed marijuana.

In the United States, each individual state is legally its own separate government. Each State is like a separate country. Increasing power by the Federal government has usurped the rights of individual State and local governments.

"Nullification" means the right of individual states to nullify Federal laws that they disagree with. The law is nullified by ignoring it and blocking enforcement efforts.

The local sheriff is supposed to have supreme authority in all local law enforcement. If Federal agents attempt to enforce a Federal law without the consent of the local sheriff, then technically the sheriff can arrest them for trespassing. Of course, almost no sheriffs have the balls to try this.

One example of failed nullification is the "medical marijuana" law in California. Possession of marijuana is completely illegal according to Federal law, but legal according to California's "medical marijuana" law. If you operate a "medical marijuana" store in California, you can still be arrested and prosecuted by the DEA.

If California were serious about nullification, they would say to the DEA "You are barred from enforcing marijuana laws in California. If you attempt to enforce these laws, then our local police will arrest you for trespassing."

What happens if the Federal agents insist on enforcing the bad drug laws over the objection of the California state police? Then, it would be settled the only way that all political debates are settled. It would be settled violently.

If a State says "We're nullifying this Federal law!", then that declaration only is meaningful if the local government is prepared to violently resist aggression by Federal armed thugs.

A declaration of "nullification" by a State only has power if it's backed by violence. Local State bureaucrats are unwilling to take such a risk. If you're a State bureaucrat, your goal is to protect your wealth and power. A parasite isn't going to take unnecessary risks like violently challenging Federal armed thugs.

"Nullification" is a nice idea. Saying "States have the right to nullify bad Federal laws!" is only meaningful if that declaration is backed by violence. The Federal government has superior resources to individual states. However, in the right context, the local government would be considered to have the moral high ground.

Before the Federal government got so big in 1913 due to the Federal Reserve and income tax, individual states competed with each other. The offered low taxation rates and advertised this, in order to attract businesses. In the present, this does not occur, because the Federal income tax and Federal inflation tax are the biggest taxes most people pay. If individual states had the power to nullify Federal laws and Federal taxes, then states would start competing with each other, offering more freedom to attract workers. That's one reason there's laws restricting immigration; that prevents different governments from competing with each for workers.

The nullification movement is simultaneously a step in the right direction and pro-State trolling. They are saying "Individual states should nullify bad Federal laws." The correct answer is "No government has legitimacy, both the Federal government and state governments. All taxation is theft!" Complete collapse is much more likely than reform.


Matt said...

I find your blog very interesting. You have much of the same thoughts as I do while having a similar tendency to an ultimate reality.

This entry seems to exemplify that. In our form of Governance, the State's most definitely have both the authority and the duty to nullify bad, and often evil, federal laws. What they lack is the testicular fortitude to do so. Either that or they don't have the desire due to many state leaders having the same tyrannical leanings as the feds.

I believe that the hope of Freedom without bloodshed does indeed lie in the states. They have the power and the duty to shut this b.s. down.

Government is violent. Everything they do is backed with the guarantee of violence if you resist. From speeding tickets, to Income Taxes to welfare - violence is what backs that up. It is also what makes it wholly evil. Unfortunately, I believe that violence is also absolutely necessary to fix the problem. In order to stop a violent oppression, you must be willing to match their force with an even greater amount.

I am not sure that any of that is possible and that total collapse and a return to isolated local communities is almost the inevitable endgame.

Anonymous said...

There is a relatively recent UK law prohibiting unlicensed demonstrations within a certain distance of the Houses of Parliament.

A young female cook tried to get a license for a demonstration. But something went wrong and she didn't get a license. She visited a memorial and read out a list of dead people killed in a war. That's all she did. She just read out a list of names.

The police arrested her. At court, she was given something called a conditional discharge. But I think that means she has a criminal record for reading out a list of names! A criminal record for that! It is appalling.

If she was better advised, should she have held out for a jury trial and asked the jury to nullify the immoral law or at least the law applied in a draconian fashion?

More people should be told about jury nullification. We should be taught about it in schools.

In the UK, we had the Magna Carta law. At the time the King could pass whatever laws he wanted and his employees (judges) could execute whoever they wanted. So the people rebelled and forced King John to sign the Magna Carta which meant they could not be convicted unless a jury of their peers agreed. It is unlikely the drafters of the Magna Carta would not have realised that King John could pass a bad law and then get a jury to convict on the bad law. So obviously jury nullification is meant by the Magna Carta. Otherwise the drafters of it would be implied to be fools.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at