The Return of Nullification
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Today is the official release date for my new book, Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. Nullification, as many readers of this site already know, refers to the power of a state to refuse to enforce an unconstitutional federal law. Most Americans have never heard of the idea, or know of it only in caricature – which is pretty much the way the New York Times likes it.
When he memorably laid out the case for nullification in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson argued that if the federal government were allowed to hold a monopoly on determining what its powers were, we would have no right to be surprised when it kept discovering new ones. I’ve elaborated on all this in previous articles.
This important – if routinely distorted or even forgotten – history takes on unexpected relevance today, with a resurgence of interest in nullification growing all over the country, and no shortage of unconstitutional laws to which to apply it. The Tenth Amendment Center’s Legislative Tracking Page gives you some idea of the extent of a movement that is only just getting started. The purpose of my book Nullification is to make the strongest, most solidly referenced case I can in support of one of the healthiest developments in American political life in decades, and to serve as a kind of handbook for those who are serious about pursuing it.