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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Fallacy of Nullification

On, there's a lot of effort promoting Tom Woods' book on Nullification. Tom Woods works for that website. "Nullification" refers to the right of state governments to override bad Federal laws.

"Nullification" should not be confused with "jury nullification". "Jury nullification" refers to the right and obligation for jurors to vote "not guilty", if they think that the law being enforced is immoral. The practice of questioning jurors was invented to prevent jury nullification. If a juror indicates they might vote "not guilty", then the jury selection process eliminates them.

According to Federal government judges, Federal law takes priority over state law. This is an obvious conflict of interest. The decision "Federal law trumps state law!" was made by the Federal government. The Federal government has more resources than state governments, enabling Federal police to violently enforce their will.

The Supreme Court overturned Chicago's handgun ban. If you're a supporter of nullification, then you should oppose this ruling. That is confusing, because the freedom-oriented belief is "There should be no restrictions on gun ownership."

It was amusing to see the reaction of Chicago politicians. They responded to the verdict by passing a new gun control law. The new law is slightly less strict than the one the Supreme Court overturned. It's like they're conducting an experiment to see "What's the strictest law we can pass?"

If you support nullification, then you should support Arizona's anti-immigration law. Federal government lawyers are suing, in a Federal court, to block to law. The freedom-oriented belief on immigration is "There should be no restrictions on immigration. Laws restricting immigration are a symptom of the belief 'People are the property of their government.' Many anti-immigration laws are a type of modern fugitive slave law."

California has attempted to nullify Federal marijuana laws. However, the Federal DEA may still arrest people in California who operate "medical marijuana" stores. In the criminal trial, the defendant is barred from mentioning "I was operating a 'medical marijuana' store, which is legal according to California state law."

The problem with nullification is that it has no teeth, unless politicians and state police are prepared to violently back their declaration of nullification.

Suppose that California's government declares "Marijuana is 100% legal in California. The Federal DEA is blocked from enforcing Federal anti-marijuana laws in California. If a DEA agent arrests someone in California for 'possession of marijuana', then the California police will arrest that DEA agent for trespassing and assault."

California's marijuana law is appealed to Federal court and the Supreme Court. They say "Sorry! This law is invalid!" If California politicians now give up, then what was the point of nullification?

In order for nullification to have teeth, politicians and police in California would have to say "Your authority on this issue isn't valid. We're enforcing this law anyway!" If the DEA attempts to arrest someone in California, the California local police should be prepared to resist, with force if necessary. If California police aren't willing to arrest/kill a DEA agent when enforcing the nullification law, then there's no point of nullification.

Of course, most government bureaucrats and police are cowards. They won't risk their jobs to protect individual freedom. They certainly won't risk their lives to protect individual freedom. If local state police won't protect people from Federal armed thugs, then what's the point of having police?

The Federal government has superior military resources than any individual state. The Federal police will use violence to enforce Federal law. However, if local police had the balls to resist, then public opinion might go against the Federal thugs. That isn't going to happen.

The correct answer is "Anyone enforcing a bad law is guilty of assault/kidnapping/murder." Local state-employed police will not defend individuals from Federal government aggression.

Nullification only has teeth if local governments are prepared to back their order with violence. The Federal government has superior resources. The "nullification" issue is decided the way all political disputes are decided, via violence or threat of violence. Most/all state bureaucrats/police aren't going to use violence to enforce a nullification law. Most government bureaucrats are cowards who won't risk their cushy job.

Nobody is willing to use violence to back nullification. Nullification is a dead-end for people who seek individual freedom.


dionysusal said...

Good post, FSK. I live in Chicago. When the gun ban was overturned, the "mayor" went insane. He physically threatened a reporter who had the temerity to question the effectiveness of the previous gun ban by saying he was going to stick a gun up the reporter's posterior orifice and pull the trigger. State scumbags only know violence.

Oh, and I'm sure you saw the Blago jury was hung on 23 of the 24 counts. The State says they're going to retry of course, The problem for them is everybody knows the previous jury was hung, which they don't like to be mentioned. Ha ha.

Scott said...

The "if you support this you should support that" argument is faulty.

Amendment X
"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."

This means that some federal laws are null because they exceed the powers delegated to the federal government. The Supreme Court even has stated that unconstitutional laws are invalid from the moment they are passed, not from the moment they are overturned.

justino said...

One plan by Jon Roland of the Constitution Society consists of four steps.

The distinct part for me is that once someone is charged with violating an unconstitutional law, a state commission would help to fund the person's defense.

So the nullification supporters are partly acknowledging they plan to take the case to court.

I have my own reasons for believing it would still fail, including that the Feds would just buy off state officials with government funding and that would only enlarge the government.

dionysusal said...


The "Constitution" is just 4 unsigned pieces of paper and binds noone. Don't use constitutional arguments with FSK (or me) since they're irrelevant. The sociopathic predators don't abide by it anyway, so why should you (or anyone)?

FSK said...

The correct answer is "The Constitution is not a valid contract."

When you argue about the right of a state to nullify Federal law, you're making that argument in a Federal court. There's an obvious conflict of interest.

Constitutional issues are an interesting technicality, but irrelevant.

Yes, I have a draft planned on Blagojevich. The key points are:

- After a hung jury, the prosecutor gets a mulligan. A hung jury should be considered as proof of "reasonable doubt".
- The sole conviction was for "lying to an FBI agent", which isn't a real crime. It's amusing how often "lying to the police" is used to nail people. Consider Martha Stewart.
- The sole holdout juror is improperly denounced in the mainstream media as dishonest. For some counts, it wasn't 11-1, with multiple jurors voting "not guilty".
- I can't believe I'm actually sympathizing with Blagojevich. The Federal government is so corrupt that Blagojevich looks like the victim.

Scott said...

"Don't use constitutional arguments with FSK (or me)"

Dear Mr. Dionysusal, I don't know you from Adam but you can safely assume my comments do not address you unless explicitly stated.

As far as telling me what I can and can not say, please go fuck yourself with a rusty stiletto. If you don't like my posts, don't read them.

dionysusal said...


Go ahead and use constitutional arguments on FSK. He will tell you to go fuck YOURSELF. Now piss off, you donkey.

FSK said...

OK, this is getting out of hand. This flamewar is silly.

The correct answer regarding Constitutional issues is "The Constitution is not a valid contract." However, I wouldn't use swear words to emphasize my point.

Nullification is pointless, because you're fighting State thugs on their turf. The Supreme Court gets to resolve any nullification disupte, making it ultimately irrelevant.

Constitutional issues are an interesting trivia game, but ultimately irrelevant. State thugs don't obey their own rules

dionysusal said...

"Scott" started it. I was civil to him at first. I believe in the "Chicago way"-- someone puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue. I will no longer respond to "Scott." The "Constitution" IS just 4 unsigned pieces of paper. That's just a stone cold fact. If "Scott" doesn't like it, getting mad at me will accomplish nothing. Mmm 'kay?

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