Kirkpatrick Sale on Nullification

By Mark T. Mitchell for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

TAC has a review by Sale that champions nullification and (perhaps) secession.

Nullification acts have been introduced in state legislatures all across the country, particularly in the last few months: no fewer than 10 states took up proposals in the last week of February. According to one estimate at the Tenth Amendment Center, which tracks such things, there are more than 70 proposed bills to nullify federal laws and practices now in state legislatures, sometimes consciously labeled nullification, sometimes not.

For example, 12 states have introduced proposals for state marijuana laws in defiance of federal regulations under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, joining the 15 states that have already passed various decriminalization provisions, including most recently Washington and Colorado. (Interestingly, they are not confined to blue or red states but stretch across the land: Alaska, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana, Michigan, Arkansas, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Maine.)

State laws against National Defense Authorization Act provisions that allow the president to detain indefinitely anyone, citizen or not, whom he suspects of terrorist ties, have been introduced in almost half the states, again from coast to coast, and passed in Arizona, Utah, Maine, and recently Virginia—the state that first used nullification, in 1798, against the Alien and Sedition Acts.

These state-centered attempts to limit the federal government represent one hopeful sign in a long struggle. Interestingly, there are folks on both the left and the right supporting these measures. Can they succeed? Will they?

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