Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Nullification: Smacking Down Those Who Smackdown The Constitution.

By Publius Huldah.

In response to a recent article in the National Review by Allen C. Guelzo, a nullification denier and history professor at Gettysburg College, and two responding letters to the Editor,1 one “Celticreeler” posted an astute rebuttal you can read here.

The issue in the National Review article and letters is this: Guelzo denies that States have any right to nullify unconstitutional laws made by Congress. He looks at Art. VI, clause 2, U.S. Constitution (the “supremacy clause”) which reads,

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land… [emphasis added]

and concludes that any law made by Congress is the “supreme” law of the land; and everyone must obey, unless & until five (5) judges on the supreme Court say they don’t have to. He claims that only judges have authority to nullify unconstitutional acts of Congress.

In her rebuttal, Celticreeler correctly points out that the phrase, “in Pursuance thereof”, “limit[s] the federal government’s supremacy to laws that were made pursuant to the Constitution…”

She also reprints Guelzo’s reply to her letter to the Editor. And what he says in his reply is so at odds with the words of our Framers,  that I am compelled to respond

We will look at four Founding Principles which Guelzo rejects and reverses.

1. What does “In Pursuance thereof” Really Mean?

Guelzo says in his reply,

“In pursuance thereof ” was intended only to recognize that, at the time of the Constitution’s adoption, no body of legislation had yet been made under the Constitution…

What?   He presents no proof  – though he does throw in the factoid that “The supremacy clause was written by an anti-Federalist, Luther Martin, whom we might presume to have entertained a few anxieties about an overmighty federal government”.

Actually, Luther Martin said the clause he proposed was “very materially different from the [supremacy clause] clause adopted by the Constitution” 2;  but I will not quibble.

In any event, it is The Federalist Papers which are authoritative as to the genuine meaning of the Constitution 3 – not speeches of delegates to the Federal Convention (thou they can shed light). And this is what The Federalist Papers say about Art. VI, clause 2, and “in Pursuance thereof”:

In Federalist No. 33 (6th para), Alexander Hamilton says:

…But it will not follow …that acts of the large society [the federal government] which are NOT PURSUANT to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies [the States], will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such… [T]he clause which declares the supremacy of the laws of the Union … EXPRESSLY confines this supremacy to laws made PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTION … [capitals are Hamilton's]

In the next para, Hamilton says that a law made by Congress which is not authorized by the Constitution,

would not be the supreme law of the land, but a usurpation of power not granted by the Constitution…. [boldface mine]

In Federalist No. 27 (last para), Hamilton says:

the laws of the Confederacy [the federal government], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land; to the observance of which all officers, legislative, executive, and judicial, in each State, will be bound by the sanctity of an oath. Thus the legislatures, courts, and magistrates, of the respective members [the States], will be incorporated into the operations of the national government AS FAR AS ITS JUST AND CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY EXTENDS… [capitals are Hamilton's; other emphasis mine]

And in Federalist No. 78 (10th para),  Hamilton says:

…every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. [emphasis mine]

Do you see?  Federalist No. 33, 27, & 78 are clear:  Acts of  Congress which are not authorized by the Constitution are “void” – they are “mere usurpations and deserve to be treated as such”. They are not made “in Pursuance” of the Constitution and have “supremacy” over nothing. 4

2. Who is Supposed to Look to the U.S. Constitution for Permission: The Federal Government, the Member States, or the People?

Guelzo says (in his reply):

If the Founders had wanted to grant nullifying power-to the states or any other body-they would have had more than sufficient opportunity to include it in the Constitution.  [boldface added]

Guelzo thus asserts that the States [i.e., the Members of the Federation] don’t have any powers unless “the Founders” said they could have them and wrote it into The Constitution!  He demands that the States look to the Constitution to see what they are permitted to do! According to Guelzo, if the Constitution doesn’t give States permission, they can’t do it.

Guelzo has it backwards – our Founding Documents refute his words. The second paragraph of The Declaration of Independence says that Rights come from God and to secure these rights, 5

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -

So, governments have only those powers “the governed” permit them to have!  In our Constitution, WE THE PEOPLE, acting through our Representative States, decided what powers WE would delegate to the federal government.

Accordingly, WE THE PEOPLE created the federal government when WE, acting through our States, ordained & established the Constitution for the United States of America. In the Constitution, WE itemized the powers WE granted to each branch of the federal government.  No Branch of the federal government may lawfully do ANYTHING unless WE authorized it in the Constitution. WE are the Creators; those in the federal government, are merely our “creatures”.  In Federalist No. 33 (5th para), Hamilton calls the federal government our “creature”; and points out that it is up to THE PEOPLE to smackdown the federal government when it “overpass[es] the just bounds of its authority and make[s] a tyrannical use of its powers”. 6

In Federalist No. 32 (2nd para), Hamilton says,

…the State governments …clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not… EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States. This exclusive delegation …of State sovereignty would only exist in three cases… [caps are Hamilton's, boldface mine]

The Tenth Amendment says:

   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.  [emphasis added]

Do you see? Guelzo reverses & perverts the whole point of Our Declaration of Independence, Our Revolution, & Our Constitution.

It is each of the three branches of the federal government (Legislative, Executive, & Judicial) who must look to the Constitution to see what powers WE THE PEOPLE, acting through our States, allowed them to have. All other powers are reserved to The States or The People.

3. Who Has Authority to Nullify Unconstitutional Laws Made by Congress?

Guelzo says, respecting the power to nullify a law made by Congress,

…That determination lies in the hands of the courts, under the principle of judicial review laid down in McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819…

McCulloch v. Maryland?  In McCulloch v. Maryland, the supreme Court decided [wrongly] that Congress has power under various of the enumerated powers listed at Art. I, Sec. 8, clauses 1-16, and the “necessary & proper clause” (Art. I, Sec. 8, last clause) to incorporate a national bank.  That case is not about “judicial review”.

Perhaps he meant Marbury v. Madison (1803).  Even so, Hamilton had already “laid down” the principle of judicial review in Federalist No. 78 (8th -15th paras) some 15 years earlier.

And in the Constitution, WE did not delegate EXCLUSIVE authority to federal judges to nullify unconstitutional laws! Furthermore, the Oaths of Office at Art. VI, cl. 3 & Art. II, Sec. 1, last clause, impose on all who take them an obligation to uphold the Constitution against usurpations by the federal government.  Thus, nullification is both a Power retained by the States & The People as well as an Obligation imposed by Oath. 

And REMEMBER!  Our Rights pre-date & pre-exist The Constitution. Thus, nullification of usurped powers is a natural right – it is the remedy against insupportable oppression by the federal government. 7

4. In Our American System, WE Do Not Take Oaths To Obey Persons, Institutions, Or Judges.

I have proved elsewhere that nullification of unconstitutional laws, executive orders, supreme Court opinions and treaties is required by the Constitutional Oaths of office. That Oath requires that all who take it swear or affirm that they will support the Constitution.  In our American system, we do not take Oaths to obey persons, institutions, or courts.   Here are two papers explaining the legal & moral imperatives of nullification: Why States Must Nullify Unconstitutional Acts of Congress: Instructions from Hamilton, Madison, & Jefferson   and  The Oath Of Office: The Check On Usurpations By Congress, The Executive Branch, & Federal Judges  8

Guelzo’s Statist Vision.

Guelzo’s vision is this:  Every law made by Congress [the Legislative Branch of the federal government] is “supreme”; and the Member States & WE THE PEOPLE must obey, unless & until five (5) judges on the supreme Court [the Judicial Branch of the federal government] say the law is unconstitutional. In other words, Guelzo holds that only the federal government may question the federal government.

His words are poisonUnder his vision, the federal government created by the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it; and the opinion of five judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers.  It is an evil ideology. And, as I have proved herein, it is antithetical to our Founding Documents and Principles. 9 PH

Endnotes:

1 Celticreeler states that Guelzo’s original article appeared in the February 21, 2011 issue of National Review.  In response, she submitted a letter to the Editor, and Guelzo replied.  Celticreeler reprints Guelzo’s reply in her linked rebuttal.  Guelzo’s original article is available to subscribers only.

2 You can read Martin’s actual comments (March 19, 1788) here: Luther Martin’s Reply to the Landholder.1  

3  The Federalist Papers were written during 1787-88 to explain the proposed Constitution to The People and to induce them (through their States) to ratify it. For this reason, The Federalist Papers are authoritative on the genuine meaning of the Constitution. And at a meeting attended by Thomas Jefferson & James Madison of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia on March 4, 1825, the following resolution selecting texts for the Law school was passed:

…on the distinctive principles of the government of our own state, and of that of the US. the best guides are to be found in 1. the Declaration of Independance, as the fundamental act of union of these states. 2. the book known by the title of `The Federalist’, being an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning…. (page 83)  [emphasis added]

Someone!  Show Professor Guelzo the on-line edition of The Federalist Papers so he can learn the genuine meaning of the Constitution!  Salvage the minds of the young people who the administration of Gettysburg College places in Guelzo’s care.

4  Using The Federalist Papers as Proof, I explain the “Supremacy Clause” here: The Arizona Illegal Alien Law & The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution: Exclusive & Concurrent Jurisdiction Explained.  Guelzo mentions “preemption” [it does sounds "grand, doesn't it?]; but in this paper I  explain the interplay between constitutional federal & Reserved State powers.

5  It is impossible to understand The Constitution without acknowledging the Principle set forth in Our Declaration of  Independence that that our Rights are granted to us by The Creator God;  they thus pre-exist & pre-date The Constitution, and are unalienable by man. WE do not look to The Constitution for our Rights!  I explain our Rights here.

6  Here are Hamilton’s actual words:

If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify. (Federalist No. 33, 5th para) [emphasis added]

7  In his writings on Nullification, our beloved Thomas Jefferson distinguishes between [mere] “abuses of delegated powers” and the assumption of powers “which have not been delegated”:

…in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General [federal] Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them:.. [boldface added]

I.e., if Congress merely abuses a delegated power [e.g., makes silly bankruptcy laws (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 4)], then the proper remedy is to vote the Representatives out of office and replace them with sensible ones who will repeal the silly bankruptcy laws.

But if Congress assumes a power which has not been delegated to it – e.g., control of the Peoples’ medical care – then each State has a natural right to nullify it within their own borders.  It is outside the compact the States made with each other – the States and the People never gave their “creature” (the federal government) power over their medical care!  Without Nullification, the States and the People would be under the absolute & unlimited control of the federal government.

8 Remember! We expect the lowest-ranking soldier to refuse to obey an unlawful order even when given by a commissioned officer. See “A Duty to Disobey: The Forgotten Lessons of My Lai“, by military lawyer Robert S. Rivkin. And do not forget the Nuremberg trials – defendants claimed they were “just following orders”.  The Court properly rejected that defense.

Do we ask less of ourselves and our State & federal officials than we do of 18 year-old soldiers when we are confronted with unconstitutional acts of the federal government?  The three branches of the federal government have connived against us – THE PEOPLE.  So smack them down!  Can we live up to our Framers’ expectations as set forth throughout The Federalist Papers?  See also, What Should States Do When the Federal Government Usurps Power? for advice from James Madison.

9  Does Professor Guelzo understands the poisonous import of his words?  Or did he uncritically accept, and does he unthinkingly recite, what he has been told?  What he says is the prevailing dogma of our time – most lawyers believe it because it is what they were told in law school. Theirs’ are minds which have never been trained to think, and they are ignorant of the concept of “objective meaning”. I address the problem of inability to think and our moral & intellectual corruption here: How Progressive Education & Bad Philosophy Corrupted The People & Undermined The U.S. Constitution  PH.

April 17, 2011

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April 17, 2011 - Posted by | Allen C. Guelzo, Article VI, clause 2, Article VI, clause 3, Declaration of Independence, Nullification by States, Nullification of unconstitutional acts, Oath of Office, Reserved Powers, Resistance to tyranny, States Retained Powers, States Rights, Supremacy clause, Supreme Law of the Land, Usurpations of power |

35 Comments »

  1. […] Article VI, cl. 2, the “supremacy clause”, states that only our Constitution, federal laws made “in Pursuance” of the Constitution, and Treaties made “under the Authority of the United States”, shall be the supreme Law of the […]

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  2. […] VI, cl. 2, the “supremacy clause,” states that only our Constitution, federal laws made “in Pursuance” of the Constitution, and Treaties made “under the Authority of the United States”, shall be the supreme Law […]

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  21. I am surprised that Federalist #44 by Madison has not been referenced during this discussion for it specifically addresses the supremacy clause. He does not favor giving States the power to overrule federal legislation. Perhaps some direct quotes will make this point.

    “What is to be the consequence in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part of the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning?” The part he refers to here is the “make all laws necessary and proper” clause, but the answer is informative. “The success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts.” If this fails the people should “elect more faithful representatives”.

    With regard to the supremacy clause itself he postulates a negative, “suppose for a moment that the supremacy of the State Constitution had been left compleat by a saving clause in their favor?” And his answer “the world would have seen for the first time a system of government founded on an inversion of the fundamental principles of all government; it would have seen the authority of the whole society every where subordinate to the authority of the parts; it would have seen a monster in which the head was under the direction of the members.”

    It would be hard to construe this passages to giving the power to individual States to nullify a law they considered unconstitutional or even to leaving the door open to such an interpretation.

    Comment by Donald Mellon | September 9, 2011 | Reply

    • I have been much amused to see critiques of my papers where I am faulted for not addressing issues which are extraneous to the precise topic of my papers. For example, people who are most eager to show that they are “in the know” about the 14th Amendment, fault me for not mentioning it in whatever paper of mine they happened to read.

      Also, one must read all of The Federalist Papers in pari materia with each other, and understand each Paper in light of the whole. And be careful not to take things out of context.

      Of course, State Constitutions must not contradict the Federal Constitution! Of course, State Laws must not contradict the Federal Constitution! THAT is what Madison is saying!

      And yes, electing more faithful representatives is something which the People must always do when their representatives in Congress usurp powers. But that is not the Peoples’ exclusive remedy. [Go to some logic websites and study Venn diagrams - they illustrate in diagrams this particular Principle of Logic.]

      Re nullification: Alas, you along with others who speak on this have missed the point. It is because your (and their) fundamental presupposition on this is Wrong! Examine your preconceptions – see if you can figure out which one is in error. I have express hints on this all throughout this website! People misunderstand Madison’s writings on nullification because their preconceptions are wrong. But I have a paper in the works on this where I will lay it all out.

      And I am sure that in this 4th (and hopefully last) Paper on Nullification, some know-it-all will roundly berate me for not talking about the 14th Amendment!

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | September 10, 2011 | Reply

  22. Great Site! March on!… and God bless our Founders.

    Comment by Bobby | July 14, 2011 | Reply

  23. In the spirit of argument and discussion that generated the Constitution, I must take exception to your statement, “In any event, it is The Federalist Papers which are authoritative as to the genuine meaning of the Constitution – not speeches of delegates to the Federal Convention (thou they can shed light).” The Federalist Papers give the opinions of but THREE men who were arguing IN FAVOR OF ratification of a Constitution not yet in effect. There were persuasive arguments AGAINST ratification, also. As the Constitution was ratified BY THE STATES, we must look to what the STATES thought they were ratifying, as much as to what the DELEGATES to the Constitutional Convention thought they were writing. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay were on the winning side of ratification: but they were neither unbiased nor alone in their understanding of or writing about the meaning of the Constitution.

    As far back as 1798, when Jefferson and Madison helped write the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions opposing the Constitutionality of the Alien and Sedition Acts — what I like to call the Patriot Act of 1798 — we have responses from seven State legislatures putting forth their belief that, “It belongs not to state legislatures to decide on the constitutionality of laws made by the general government; this power being exclusively vested in the judiciary courts of the Union.” (from the response by Vermont; see Elliott, Vol4) It should be clear that the States were divided on the issues of secession and nullification right from the beginning.

    The questions of secession and nullification have never gone away, because they are incapable of being resolved except through either compromise or force. The Constitution is a compromise that rectifies the central weakness of the Articles of Confederation: it gives the Federal government enforcement authority for its legitimate powers. But it cannot by itself prevent that government from using force when it wishes to. The central argument of the Revolution was secessionary: that people have a right to withdraw their consent from a government deemed oppressive. That right had to be defended by armed conflict, and had the colonists lost the war we would not now be discussing the Constitution.

    The central argument of the War between the States was secessionary: that States have a right to withdraw from a “perpetual union” that no longer serves their perceived interests. That right had to be defended by armed conflict, and the slave States lost.

    Nullification is, at heart, an issue of secession. Because Senators no longer represent State power since direct election was adopted, there is no balance between central and distributed authority. It is much harder than the Federalists anticipated to recall our Federal representatives. Nor did the Federalists foresee the rapid rise to dominance of NATIONAL political parties; Madison makes much of the idea that factionalism would prevent the concentration of power in any single majority. Clearly this is not how things developed, even as early as the election of 1800.

    I don’t have an easy answer for you — most easy answers are wrong. It seems clear to me that we have a responsibility as citizens to do some very hard work, educating ourselves and each other not only about the text of the Constitution but also about the history, philosophy, and legal theories that were almost common knowledge for the Founders. We must be able to counter the legal theories of the last century or more, that have produced the judiciary we have today. In short, we have to ask people to be knowledgeable and vigilant instead of lazy, short-sighted, and greedy: we have to ask people to think of family, community, and society, as well as of themselves. It is the vigilance of the whole people, and the willingness to elect people of restraint and virtue EVEN IF WE DISAGREE WITH THEM on some few issues, that we must undertake.

    The Federalist is a guide to but one side of an argument over the proper form and structure of government. Read more.

    Comment by Mark P. Fishman | July 7, 2011 | Reply

    • Mark,
      The authoritative status of The Federalist Papers rests on a basic Principle of Evidence. During the course of Anglo-American jurisprudence, we developed a body of Principles – the “Rules of Evidence” – which we use to guide us in the proper proof of facts. Books are written about it, and courses devoted to it in law schools. I know these Principles & Rules b/c I have been a lawyer for some 40 years. Hamilton, Madison, Jay, Jefferson, etc were all lawyers and they too knew these Rules of Evidence.

      The Federalist Papers are authoritative as to the genuine meaning of the Constitution for the reason that they were written to explain the proposed Constitution to the People and to induce them to ratify it. I’ll illustrate this Principle of Evidence:

      Say you desire to rent space in a commercial shopping center. The landlord’s agent hands you a 200 page printed form lease and tells you that you must sign it. You, not being a lawyer, but being an engineer and hence a most rational person, take the proposed lease to your business lawyer to review. Your lawyer reviews it and has some concerns about the meanings and import of several clauses. Accordingly, your lawyer writes the landlord about these clauses. The landlord gives the letter to his lawyer to handle. The landlord’s lawyer writes back and explains the meaning of the clauses in question.

      Your lawyer and you rely on the landlord’s lawyer’s explanation, and are induced thereby to sign the lease. Some time down the road, there is a dispute between you and the landlord over those same clauses. THE LANDLORD’S LAWYER’S EXPLANATIONS OF THOSE CLAUSES ARE BINDING ON THE LANDLORD for the reason that you and your lawyer relied on them and were induced thereby to sign the lease.

      Do you see the Principle? That is why The Federalist Papers are authoritative. They were written to explain the proposed Constitution to the People and to induce them to ratify it.

      And for a long time, the Federalist Papers were considered authoritative. See, e.g., this link where at a meeting in 1825, Thomas Jefferson & James Madison agreed that the Federalist Papers are authoritative on the genuine meaning of the Constitution, and made them a text in the law School at the Univ. of Virginia: http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=2006_04/uvaGenText/tei/bov_18250304.xml&query=true

      Next point: To say that the Constitution was ratified by the State Legislatures would not be accurate. See, e.g., the last para of Federalist 22 where Hamilton discusses the importance of having the Constitution approved by THE PEOPLE, not by the delegated authority of State Legislatures. Accordingly, the People of the States conducted conventions – separate from the State Legislatures – to examine and vote upon the proposed Constitution.

      If I have failed to address all of your concerns, feel free to let me know. PH

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 7, 2011 | Reply

      • Thank you for your explanation. I shall address your last point first, as it is shorter: I did not say that the State legislatures ratified the Constitution. I said the States ratified it. Ratification was not handled through a national vote, nor through open referenda in the States. There were, in fact, some objections raised among the populations of many States as to the precipitate haste with which the various State conventions were expected to debate, and to act; and some of those conventions chose to act without much publicity or public discussion. It was not possible for the mass of the People to decide the issue in the time allowed.

        As to the authoritative or evidentiary nature of the Federalist: are you suggesting that, any time a lawyer — especially a politician-lawyer — offers an argument to support his point of view about the proper interpretation of a law, we should accept his or her argument as not only persuasive but also unarguably correct and complete?

        In the case of the Federalist, we have, for example, Madison and Hamilton claiming that there is no need for a Bill of Rights because the whole of the Constitution, through the limits on delegated powers, is a Bill of Rights. Yet ratification would not have succeeded without the the various State conventions that voted on condition of a Bill of Rights being added — do we accept those conditional votes as authoritative also? They represent what the People — through their delegates — thought they were accepting.

        You seem to be placing the ratification of the Constitution on the same level as the signing of a Lease. A Lease is governed by other law, and disputes over the meaning of a lease are referred to that law; a lawyer’s interpretation of the lease that is used to induce a lessee to sign becomes part of the lease because the law says it does. What is the law that tells us what to include when interpreting the text of the Constitution?

        The Constitution was not accepted in nine States based solely on the arguments of the Federalist. There were other people writing and arguing persuasively, whose arguments also influenced the votes of delegates to the State conventions. Should their interpretations also be considered authoritative evidence of the true meaning of the Constitution? That they were not collected and reprinted from their original newspapers — as the Federalist papers were, for political and polemical purposes — should not make them lesser in the historical record.

        If government derives its just powers from the consent of the People, we MUST look at what the People thought they were consenting to. The arguments of one side, concerning how the government would operate, what the wording of the document allowed or required, are not sufficient. The arguments of both ratification opponents and of those who interpreted details of the wording differently from Publius are also part of what people relied on in giving their consent. Many individuals — delegates to the Federal convention and to the State conventions — wrote persuasively. Most, if not all, were lawyers, like Hamilton, Madison, & Jay. Jefferson was not involved in writing the Constitution, nor in the ongoing debates over ratification (he was in Paris) — should we discount his opinions on what it means because he differs from Hamilton on central points (e.g., nullification)?

        The Constitution is a compromise. To accept the view of one side of that compromise as authoritative does not require that we accept it as AUTHORITY, even though it is the view of the winning side of the vote. I say again, take it in context of its time; ultimate authority rests with the People; to what did they think they were consenting? The Federalist alone is not sufficient.

        Again, thanks. Your writing is thought-provoking.

        Comment by Mark P. Fishman | July 7, 2011 | Reply

        • Thank you. People who do not approach my writings with the attitude that they already know it all, have learned much from them. There is a great deal of misinformation out there disseminated by people who are hostile to the Constitution; think they know all about it; but don’t know anything at all. I often wonder what makes such people think qualifies them to speak as experts on the subject. Reading secondary sources by authors who are hostile to the Constitution and the Framers most manifestly does not qualify them as experts.

          And then, there are those who are determined to demonstrate that they are smarter than I. Some who are determined to misunderstand what I so clearly explain. Imagine! Such ploys, games and petty vanities. As if they matter – when the well-being of Our Posterity hangs in the balance. So much is at stake. I always though it noble when one is willing to see Truth and reject error. As you can imagine, I consider it a point in my favor that I am willing to turn on a dime when I am proven to be wrong. I have met some others like me – and that is a comfort. The ones who are willing to learn. If we are to recover what we have lost, it will be due to them.

          Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 7, 2011 | Reply

  24. This should be right up your alley of Constitutional expertise, Publius. “Smacking Down Those Who Smack Down The Constitution”. It’s bad enough that we have the UN Agenda 21 to battle now they are giving the shots to our military?

    “Earlier this week Speaker Boehner sent a letter to the President warning Obama that he will clearly will be in violation of the 1973 War Powers Act as of this weekend as the POTUS did not seek congressional consent for the operation within 60 days of the March 19 U.S. air strikes against Moammar Gadhafi’s forces.”
    “Yesterday the President gave his response. He sent a 30+ page report (embedded below) justifying continued military involvement U.S. military involvement is “legitimated” by the UN Security Council – saying that therefore no congressional authorization is needed.”
    “A major problem with that argument is that the Constitution’s provisions regarding the United States use of
    military force mentions Congress, but it doesn’t mention the United Nations as having the right to legitimize the use of American forces.”

    “Most importantly are we a sovereign nation or a vassal state of the UN?”

    You can see the President’s entire response by clicking the link below.
    scribd.com/doc/58047625/United-States-Activities-in-Libya-6-15-11

    Source:
    Obama Claims The UN Can Usurp Congressional War Authority
    by Jeff Dunetz
    biggovernment.com obama-claims-the-un-can-usurp-congressional-war-authority/

    Comment by bonfiresblog | June 17, 2011 | Reply

  25. [...] Nullification: Smacking Down Those Who Smackdown The Constitution [...]

    Pingback by Don’t Get Mad—Nullify | Be Sure You're RIGHT, Then Go Ahead | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  26. I’ve learned more from this web site than anywhere else on the internet/media. It’s scarey that the majority of Americans don’t realize the Feds work for us and not the other way around.

    Keep up the good work and I will continue to spread the word of this web site.

    God Bless,

    Bob

    Comment by Bob | May 25, 2011 | Reply

  27. Hi Publius
    Outstanding report on Nullification and The Federalist Papers. I believe I am finally subscribed to your blog. I hope you do not mind that I linked it to mine … bonfiresblog.wordpress.com/
    ~Bonfire

    Comment by bonfiresblog | April 18, 2011 | Reply

    • I’m happy that you did!

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | April 18, 2011 | Reply

  28. Without any doubt our governing officials think of themselves of having supremacy over the people, and the states. This attitude likely solidified itself with the passage of the horrendous 17th Amendment which severed the more direct accountability Senators were bound to from the the state legislators.
    The latest confirmed US Supreme Justice (also of the academia world) indicated that even considering the Declaration of Independence was unnecessary in interpreting the meaning of constitutional questions.
    A US Senator at the Judicial Committee confirmation hearings indicated that abrogating his “advice and consent” duties was merely acknowledging the results of a electoral win by the president who was free to name anyone he wanted.
    Clearly the officials entrusted with upholding our Constitution are lacking in both truly understanding the kind of country We the People founded, and what the intent and meaning of the world most masterful governing document implies throughout its entirety.
    If they cannot understand it, then morally they have no claim to hold their positions, and must be replaced at the earliest possible moment by the people, who are supreme in our government!
    Our professors that are teaching others these interpretive fallacies are betraying their fellow man.

    I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education.

    Thomas Jefferson, Chief Author of the Declaration of Independence and U.S. President

    In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate-look to his character…When a citizen gives his suffrage (vote) to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.

    Noah Webster, Founding Father

    Comment by liberty4usa | April 17, 2011 | Reply

  29. Has that professor actually read the Constitution or the Federalist Papers? I doubt it.

    I do have a question for you, P-H. How do issues of nullification get resolved? For example, the Congress says a law is constitutional and some or all of the states say the law is not constitutional. Can we trust the Supreme Court to be unbiased? And even if the Court rule that the law is constitutional, where does that leave us? Certainly not state militia against the US military. so how dose it get resolved?

    Comment by Conservatives on Fire | April 17, 2011 | Reply

  30. [...] Nullification: Smacking Down Those Who Smack Down The Constitution by Publius Huldah [...]

    Pingback by Never, EVER, Mess With P/H! , An Ol' Broad's Ramblings | April 17, 2011 | Reply


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