Letter: Nullification – What is that?Thomas Jefferson called nullification the “rightful remedy” to the uncontrollable quest for government power.
By: Leon Moe, Cottage Grove , South Washington County Bulletin
Thomas Jefferson called nullification the “rightful remedy” to the uncontrollable quest for government power.
In an oration in 1772, John Adams declared that, “Liberty, under every conceivable form of government is always in danger.” Twenty-six years later, he personified that very danger when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made criticizing the president and others in the federal government a crime. Adams showed us that government is the greatest threat to liberty because it always tends toward the destruction of the individual’s natural rights.
In 1798 Thomas Jefferson along with James Madison, penned the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, which they felt violated the First Amendment rights of free speech and was therefore unconstitutional. This was the first time that the term “nullification” was used in political discourse.
The primary source for determining if a law is constitutional is in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Here are listed the specific enumerated powers the framers of the Constitution, entrusted to the federal government. Any legislation that cannot be tied to one of these listed powers is, in fact, unconstitutional and with the proper state leadership, the “rightful remedy” would be to make it null and void within the boundaries of a sovereign state.
At a recent event in which the guest speaker was author and historian Dr. Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century,” the question was asked: Why aren’t more people embracing nullification? They simply do not understand what it is. Many people, some knowingly and some unknowingly confuse nullification with secession. Nullification is a check and balance against government power and oppression whereby secession is a sovereign state separating itself from the union of states.