Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

The George Mason Fabrication

By Publius Huldah 1

“…of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants. Federalist No. 1 (5th para), Alexander Hamilton.

Those who have read Article I, §8, clauses 1-16 of our federal Constitution know that it delegates only a tiny handful of powers (over the Country at large) to the federal government.

They also know that, for the last 100 years, the federal government has violated the Constitution by usurping thousands of powers not delegated.

So what do we do about it?

1. The silly answer of the convention lobby

The convention lobby says that when the federal government violates the Constitution, the solution is to amend the Constitution.

Now think about that: When a spouse violates the marriage vows, is the solution is to change the marriage vows? When people ignore speed limits, is the solution to change the speed limits? When people violate the Ten Commandments, is the solution to change the Ten Commandments?

Of course not! The solution is obedience: to the Constitution, the marriage vows, the speed limits, and God.

But the convention lobby moves from silliness to insidiousness: They say we can only get the amendments we need at an Article V convention.

 2. Why do they want a convention?

From the beginning, the enemies of our Constitution wanted to get rid of it: On Aug. 31, 1787, George Mason said “he would sooner chop off his right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands”; and if it wasn’t changed to suit his views, he wanted another general convention. 2

Such demands for another convention were made throughout the ratification process, and continued after our Constitution was ratified by the ninth State on June 21, 1788. James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, among others, addressed these demands in their writings.

A convention is the vehicle for getting a new Constitution. Today’s enemies of our Constitution are spending vast sums of money to buy an Article V convention. Their hirelings are propagandizing the People and are pushing State Legislatures all over our Country to apply to Congress to call a convention.

Article V of our Constitution provides two methods of amendment:

  • Congress proposes amendments and sends them to the States for ratification; or
  • Congress calls a convention if two thirds of the States apply for it.

Our existing 27 Amendments were obtained under the first method. We’ve never used the convention method because until recently, Americans understood the danger.

James Madison wrote in his Nov. 2, 1788 letter to Turberville that he “trembled” at the prospect of a second convention; and if there were another convention, “the most violent partizans”, and “individuals of insidious views” would strive to be delegates and would have “a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric” of our Country. 3

Alexander Hamilton “dreaded” the consequences of another convention because he knew that enemies of our Constitution wanted to get rid of it: Federalist No. 85. 4

The same goes for today. If there is an Article V convention, our enemies will have the opportunity to get rid of our existing Constitution and impose a new one. 5

Different factions already have new Constitutions in hand or in preparation in anticipation of an Article V convention. 6

The globalist elite [the Bush family, et al] want to move our Country into the North American Union (NAU). Under the NAU, Canada, the United States, and Mexico merge, and a Parliament is set up over them. Until recently, a copy of the Task Force Report on the NAU was posted at the website of the Council on Foreign Relations; now one must purchase a copy. The globalists need a new Constitution for the United States which transforms us from a sovereign nation to a member state of the NAU. To get this new Constitution, they need an Article V convention. See this brief commentary .

Now that you see what’s at stake, let’s return to the claims of the convention lobby.

3. The Revisionist Account of the federal convention of 1787

The convention lobby claims that, at the federal convention of 1787 where our present Constitution was drafted, our Framers gave us the Article V convention as the “solution” to federal usurpations. E.g., Michael Farris wrote: 7

“George Mason demanded that this provision [the convention method of proposing amendments] be included in Article V because he correctly forecast the situation we face today. He predicted that Washington, D.C. would violate its constitutional limitations and the States would need to make adjustments to the constitutional text in order to rein in the abuse of power by the federal government.” [boldface mine]

But Mason didn’t say that. Nor did any other delegates say that. They weren’t silly men; and they understood that amendments have a very different purpose.

4. Our Framers said the purpose of amendments is to remedy defects in the Constitution

James Madison was a delegate to the federal convention of 1787, and kept a Journal. I went through it, collected every reference to what became Article V, and wrote it up – here it is. Madison’s Journal shows what the Framers really said about the purpose of amendments:

♦ Elbridge Gerry said on June 5, 1787, the “novelty & difficulty of the experiment requires periodical revision”.

♦ George Mason said on June 11, 1787:

The Constitution now being formed “will certainly be defective”, as the Articles of Confederation have been found to be. “Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in an easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl. Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent…” [boldface mine]

♦ Alexander Hamilton said on Sep. 10, 1787 amendments remedy defects in the Constitution.

Other primary source writings of the time show:

♦ useful amendments would address the “organization of the government, not … the mass of its powers” (Federalist No. 85, 13th para).

♦ “amendment of errors” and “useful alterations” would be suggested by experience (Federalist No. 43 at 8.)

♦ If “… the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates …” (Washington’s Farewell Address, page 19) 8

That’s what they really said.

Amendments can’t “rein in” the federal government when it “violates its constitutional limitations” because when it does so, it is ignoring the existing limitations on its powers. We cannot fix federal usurpations of non-delegated powers by amending the Constitution to say the federal government cannot do what the Constitution never gave it the power to do in the first place!

And look at recent history: The 1st Amendment didn’t stop them from banning Christian speech in the public square. The 2nd Amendment didn’t stop them from regulating the sale of firearms. The 4th Amendment didn’t stop them from spying on us without a warrant. The 5th Amendment didn’t stop them from regulatory takings. The 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping thousands of other powers not delegated.

Now let’s look at the words of George Mason which the convention lobby has twisted and taken out of context in an attempt to justify their absurd and ruinous claim.

5. The Dispute over the proper role of Congress in the amendment process

Under the Articles of Confederation (ART. 13), amendments had to be approved by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States.

The dispute at the federal convention of 1787 was whether Congress – under the second Constitution then being drafted – should have any power over the amendment process.

Madison wanted Congress to propose all amendments, either on their own initiative or at the request of two thirds of the States. On Sep. 10, 1787, he proposed this wording for Article V:

“The Legislature of the United States, whenever two-thirds of both houses shall deem necessary, or on the application of two-thirds of the Legislatures of the several States, shall propose amendments to this Constitution …”

But Mason said the States should be able to propose amendments without having to depend on Congress. On Sep. 15, 1787, Mason said, respecting Madison’s proposed wording:

“As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, and in the second ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind, would ever be obtained by the people, if the government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.”

Now remember! Mason agreed with the other delegates that the purpose of amendments is to remedy defects in the Constitution. Mason’s concern was that Congress might not agree to amendments which would be needed to correct defects.

Footnote 8 shows that the 11th Amendment was adopted to correct what the States saw as a defect in the powers delegated to the federal courts. The 11th Amendment removed that delegated power from the federal courts. But what if Congress hadn’t agreed to propose that amendment? That type of scenario is what Mason’s words addressed.

Here are examples of other defects Congress might not agree to fix by amendment:

♦ The Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional – it was authorized by Art. I, §8, clause 1. But it was oppressive because it benefited infant industries in the North at the expense of the Southern States. An amendment could provide that tariffs may be imposed only to raise revenue to carry out the delegated powers of the federal government; and may not be imposed to benefit domestic industries, or to benefit one part of the Country at the expense of another part. But Congress might not agree.

♦  Slavery was permitted under our original Constitution. The federal fugitive slave laws (Art. IV, §2, clause 3) were oppressive. Slavery is a defect to be repaired by amendment. But Congress might not agree.

Do you see? Mason’s words, read together, show that his concern was that Congress might not agree to amendments the States wanted to correct defects in the federal Constitution.

Neither Mason nor anyone else was so silly as to say that when the federal government “violates its constitutional limitations”, the solution is to amend the Constitution.

6. Why was the convention method added to Article V?

That the convention method was added doesn’t mean that all thought it a terrific idea. It was a compromise; and the delegates knew they couldn’t keep future generations from doing what they themselves had already done twice: Invoking the Right, acknowledged in the 2nd para of our Declaration of Independence, to throw off one government and set up a new one. They invoked that Right during 1776 to throw off the British Monarchy; and during 1787, they invoked it again to throw off the Articles of Confederation – and the government it had created – and set up a new Constitution which created a new government.

In Federalist No. 40 (15th para), Madison specifically invoked this Right as justification for what they did at the federal convention of 1787: They ignored the Resolution of February 21, 1787 of the Continental Congress which called the convention “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”; they ignored the instructions from their States; 9 and they drafted a new Constitution with a new mode of ratification (only 9 States needed to ratify our Constitution of 1787).

There is nothing which can stop the delegates to an Article V convention from doing the same thing. And remember: New Constitutions are already prepared or in the works.

7. What’s our real problem? Let’s man-up and address that

Our problem today is not a defective Constitution. Our problem is ignorance, loss of virtue, and disobedience. Our Framers expected us to be virtuous and informed; and the States to resist federal usurpations. 10

Are we no longer worthy of the Constitution our Framers gave us? If not, the globalists have plans for us, and they need an Article V convention to impose them.

Don’t fall into the trap they have set for us. Open your eyes.

Endnotes:

1 My friend Don Fotheringham and I discussed this issue; this paper reflects his valuable insights. His paper, “Article V is Deliberately Vague”, is HERE; and his excellent book, “The President Makers: How Billionaires Control U.S. and Foreign Policy”, is HERE.

2 Mason didn’t chop off his right hand. He, along with Edmund Randolph and Elbridge Gerry, refused to sign the Constitution: see Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention for Sep. 17, 1787. Randolph wanted the States to be able to propose amendments to the proposed Constitution, and then all would be submitted to and finally decided on by another general convention: Aug. 31, Sep. 10, and Sep. 15, 1787. Gerry’s objections to the proposed Constitution were such that “the best that could be done…was to provide for a second general Convention”: Sep. 15, 1787.

Note well: The federal convention of 1787 was called “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and all referred to it as a “general convention” [search HERE for “general convention”, and you will see]. And in Madison’s Nov. 2, 1788 letter to Turberville, he writes,

“…3. If a General Convention were to take place for the avowed and sole purpose of revising the Constitution it would naturally consider itself as having a greater latitude than the Congress appointed …” [boldface mine]

An Article V convention is a “general convention”.

3 Madison opposed the convention method: Federalist No. 49 (Feb. 1788); his letter to Turberville of Nov. 2, 1788; his letter to George Eve of Jan. 2, 1789; and on June 8, 1789, he circumvented the application previously submitted by Virginia on May 5, 1789 for an Article V convention, by introducing into Congress a proposed “bill of rights”. That is the procedure we have followed ever since: When States want amendments, they instruct their congressional delegation to propose them.

4 In Federalist No. 85 (Aug. 1788), Hamilton addressed the arguments of antifederalists who wanted another convention so they could get rid of our newly ratified Constitution. The “excellent little pamphlet” he refers to (9th para) was written during April 1788 by John Jay (first Chief Justice of the United States) and shows:

“the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded.”

Jay warned in his Pamphlet that a new convention would run “extravagant risques” [risks].

5 Even though Article V speaks of “a Convention for proposing Amendments”, the delegates will have the “self-evident” power, recognized in the 2nd para of our Declaration of Independence, to throw off our existing Form of Government and set up a new Constitution which creates a new government. And since the new Constitution drafted at an Article V convention will also have its own new mode of ratification, it is sure to be approved.

6 The proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a national referendum [Art 12, § 1]. Here’s the proposed Constitution for “The New Socialist Republic in North America”.

The Constitution 2020 movement is backed by George Soros, Eric Holder, Cass Sunstein, and Marxist law professors. They want a progressive Constitution in place by the year 2020.

7 Farris’ paper, “Answering the John Birch Society Questions about Article V”, is HERE on the COS website; the copy I preserved is HERE.

8 Our Constitution originally delegated to federal courts the power to hear cases “between a State and Citizens of another State” (Art. III, §2, cl. 1). But when a Citizen of South Carolina sued the State of Georgia, the States were outraged! See Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 419 (1793). So the 11th Amendment was ratified to take away from the federal courts the power to hear such cases.

9 ART. 13 of the Articles of Confederation required amendments to be agreed to by Congress and all of the States. HERE are the instructions the States gave delegates to the federal convention of 1787:

♦  “alterations to the Federal Constitution which, when agreed to by Congress and the several States, would become effective”: Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Georgia, S. Carolina, Maryland, & New Hampshire.

♦  “for the purpose of revising the Federal Constitution”: Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware, and Georgia;

♦  “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”: New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

♦  “provisions to make the Constitution of the federal Government adequate”: New Jersey

10 Nullification Made Easy and What Should States Do When the Federal Government Usurps Power?

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June 7, 2017 Posted by | Article V Convention, convention lobby, George Mason, James Madison | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Nullification: The Original Right of Self-Defense

By Publius Huldah

What did our Framers really say we must do when the federal government usurps power?

They never said, “When the federal government ignores the Constitution, amend the Constitution.

They never said, “File a lawsuit and let federal judges decide.”

Instead, they advised two manly remedies. We’ll look at one of them – nullification – in this paper. 1

First, let’s look at the Constitution we have.

Our Federal Government has Enumerated Powers Only

 With our federal Constitution, we created a federal government. It is:

  • A federation of sovereign States united under a national government ONLY for those limited purposes itemized in the Constitution;
  • With all other powers reserved by the States or the People.

We listed every power we delegated to the federal government: Most of the powers delegated over the Country at large are listed at Article I, §8, clauses 1-16.

All our Constitution authorizes the federal government to do over the Country at large falls into four categories:

  • Military defense, international commerce & relations;
  • Immigration & naturalization;
  • Domestically, create a uniform commercial system: weights & measures, patents & copyrights, money based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & some road building; and
  • With some of the amendments, secure certain civil rights.

That’s basically it! All other powers are reserved by the States or the People. Depending on how you count, Congress only has 18-21 powers over the Country at Large. 2

It is only with respect to the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution that the federal government has lawful authority.

  • If it’s on the list, Congress may make laws about it.
  • But if it’s NOT on the list, Congress usurps power & acts unlawfully when it interferes.

Is “education” on the list of delegated powers? Raising children? Health Care? Environmental regulation? Is most of what they do on the list? Since these are not delegated powers listed in our Constitution, the federal government usurps power and acts unlawfully when it meddles.

So then, what do we do when the federal government usurps powers not on the list?

 Don’t Submit to Unconstitutional Laws – Nullify Them! 3

Our Framers said the federal government is our “creature” and must obey our Will as enshrined in our Constitution. And when it doesn’t, we must defend the Constitution by invoking our natural right of self-defense:

Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist No. 28 (last 5 paras): [I’m condensing]

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted … [by] … State governments [which] will … afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority…” [emphasis mine]

Hamilton says in Federalist No. 33 (5th para):

“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.” [emphasis mine]

Thomas Jefferson said in his draft of The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, 8th Resolution:

“…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 … 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…” [emphasis mine]

James Madison commented on this in his Notes on Nullification (1834):

“… the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression…” [emphasis mine]

Note that Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison said nullification is a natural right – it is NOT a “constitutional right”. Rights don’t come from the Constitution – they come from God. 4

HERE is Madison’s “Report of 1799-1800 on the Virginia Resolutions”. He said under his discussion of the 3rd Resolution [I’m condensing]:

The States, in their sovereign capacity, are the parties to the constitutional compact; and are thus the final authority on whether the federal government has violated the Constitution. There can be no tribunal above the authority of the States to decide whether the compact made by them has been violated by the federal government. (p 192)

That if, when the federal government usurps power, the States don’t stop the usurpation, and thereby preserve the Constitution; there would be no relief from usurped power. This would subvert the Rights of the People as well as betray the fundamental principle of our Founding. (p195)

That the Judicial Branch is as likely to usurp as are the other two Branches. Thus, the Sovereign States have as much right to judge the usurpations of the Judicial Branch as they do the Legislative and Executive Branches. (p196)

That all 3 Branches of the federal government obtain their delegated powers from the Constitution; and they may not annul the authority of the States. And if the Judicial Branch connives with other Branches in usurping powers, our Constitution will be destroyed. (p196)

So the Judicial Branch does not have final say as to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact. Otherwise, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of the judicial branch with the other branches in usurping powers, would subvert the Constitution forever. (p196)

In Federalist No. 46, Madison says, respecting unconstitutional acts of the federal government:

  • The People can refuse to cooperate with federal officers [7th para];
  • State officials can oppose the feds [7th para];
  • State Legislatures can invent legislative devices to impede & obstruct the federal government [7th para];
  • States can cooperate in concerted plans of resistance [8th para];
  • States can easily defeat the federal government’s schemes of usurpation [10th para]; and as the last resort,
  • States must defend themselves from the federal government – that’s why the People are armed.

So Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison tell us: When the federal government asks or directs States to do things which aren’t on the list, the proper response is, “No!”

State Governments Must Man Up and Preserve our Constitution.

The Declaration of Independence says at the 7th para that the colonials “opposed with manly firmness” the King’s “invasions on the rights of the people”.

We need today that same manly opposition to tyranny. And we are starting to see some: The Tenth Amendment Center says over 200 bills have been filed this year in State Legislatures to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government. E.g.:

  • To allow terminally ill people access to experimental drugs & medical treatments despite FDA rules – drugs & medical treatments are not on the list! And the 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping powers in this area.
  • Deny resources and assistance to the National Security Agency – spying on us is not on the list! And the 4th Amendment didn’t stop them from spying on us!
  • Nullify federal bans on growing hemp & marijuana. Agriculture and drugs are not on the list! And the 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping powers in this area.

An Indiana Legislator filed a bill to nullify all federal EPA Regulationsenvironmental protection is not on the list! And the 10th Amendment didn’t stop them from usurping power over the environment.

Disarming the American People: If Congress by law, or the President by executive order, or the BATF by rule, or the supreme Court by opinion, or the federal government by UN Treaty, orders The People to turn in our arms, We must refuse to comply. The Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to disarm us. Gun control is not on the list! And the 2nd Amendment didn’t stop them from regulating ammunition, firearms, and firearms dealers.

Accordingly, States should pass laws directing their firearms and ammo dealers to ignore all federal dictates which pretend to restrict arms, firearms, ammo, and sales of same. The Law should also provide that the State Attorney General will defend any Citizen of the State from unlawful acts committed against him by agents of the federal government attempting to enforce unconstitutional federal dictates within the borders of the State.

Prayer in the Public Schools: When, in 1962, the US supreme Court began its war against Christianity by banning prayers in the public schools, State legislatures should have passed laws directing their public schools to ignore the unconstitutional opinion of the supreme Court. “Religion”, “prayers”, and “public schools” are not on the list of delegated powers. And the 1st Amendment didn’t stop them from “prohibiting the free exercise of religion”.

Brave Citizens Must Man up Also.

As noted above, Madison says in Federalist No. 46 that the People can refuse to cooperate with federal officers.

Rosa Parks & Martin Luther King showed us spine 50 years ago when they nullified the State & local Jim Crow laws by refusing to obey those unconstitutional laws.

Recently in Connecticut, Citizens refused to obey an unconstitutional State law which pretends to require them to register their firearms. Art. I, §15, CT Constitution says:

“Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.”

If you are a “Citizen”, you have the right to bear arms – that’s all you need in Connecticut. So the Connecticut Statute making it a felony to possess guns which are not registered is unconstitutional as in violation of Art. I, § 15 of the State Constitution.

And The People – as the creators of the State government – are the ones to ultimately decide!

All nullification requires is a spine. And Rosa Parks & MLK showed us what spine looks like: You say, “No more!”

The “we lost the civil war” objection to Nullification.

Those who chant this objection seem to have in mind the “nullification crisis of 1832”. Let’s debunk it:

The southern States were agricultural. They bought manufactured goods from England. England bought southern cotton. Infant industries in the North East were producing some of the same manufactured goods as England; but because they were more expensive than the imports, they couldn’t compete.

So in 1828, Congress imposed a high tariff on the imports. The Southern States called this the “tariff of abominations”, because it made the English goods too expensive to buy; and when the Southern States stopped buying English goods, England stopped buying Southern cotton. This devastated the Southern economy.

Note that Congress has specific authority to impose tariffs on imports: Art. I, § 8, cl. 1. So the Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional.

The nullification crisis of 1832 was brought on because S. Carolina wanted to “nullify” the Tariff Act of 1828 – a constitutional law! South Carolina developed a bizarre theory that

  • A State has a “constitutional right” to nullify any federal law; and
  • The nullification is presumed valid unless ¾ of the States say it isn’t valid.

In James Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834), he discussed and debunked S. Carolina’s theory. He said:

  • The federal government has delegated authority to impose tariffs;
  • The Constitution requires that tariffs be uniform throughout the United States;
  • States can’t nullify tariffs authorized by the Constitution;
  • ¼ of the States don’t have the right to dictate to ¾ of the States on matters within the powers delegated to the federal government; and
  • Nullification is not a constitutional right.

Near the end of his Notes, Madison quoted Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement:

“…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 …to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits …” [emphasis mine]

Madison then says:

“Thus the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression.” [emphasis mine]

Do you see? Madison’s points are:

  • States may not properly nullify constitutional acts of the federal government; and
  • When an act of the federal government is unconstitutional, nullification is a NATURAL RIGHT – not a “constitutional right”. 5

Start Doing YOUR Duty

Your Duty is to read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution and learn The List of Enumerated Powers. YOU were supposed to enforce the Constitution with your votes. But instead of supporting only candidates who knew and obeyed our Constitution, you abdicated your Responsibility and voted for candidates who told you what you wanted to hear.

For the Sake of your Country and Posterity, you must also renounce cowardice and appeasement as the response to evil.

If you fail us, hell on Earth is just around the corner.

Endnotes:

1 The other Remedy is to elect faithful representatives. At the Virginia Ratifying Convention on June 20, 1788 at [223], James Madison said our Constitution depends on the people having the “virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom” to office. In Federalist No. 44 [12th para from end], he says when Congress usurps powers, and the executive and judiciary departments go along with it,

“…a remedy must be obtained from the people who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers…” [emphasis mine]

We must start electing candidates who know the Constitution!

2 THIS Chart lists the enumerated powers over the Country at Large and illustrates how Principles in our Declaration of Independence were implemented in our Constitution.

3 Stop quibbling over terminology. As a People, we have lost the ability to think conceptually. When some don’t see the word, “nullification”, in a writing, they insist the writer didn’t support it. But the concept is refusal to submit to unconstitutional laws. You can call it “non-violent civil disobedience”, “that original right of self-defense”, “resistance”, “refusal to obey”, “impeding & obstructing”, “nullification”, “interposition”, or something else. I use “nullification” because the term has a distinctive meaning and was used by our beloved Thomas Jefferson. You may call broccoli “broccoli”, a “green vegetable”, a “cruciferous vegetable”, a “super food”, or “little trees”. But “broccoli” is the most precise and distinctive term. Do you see?

4 So when Michael Farris, and others who tell us a convention is the only way out, disparage nullification as an “extra-constitutional doctrine”, the proper response is: Nullification is NOT a “constitutional right or remedy” – it is that NATURAL RIGHT of self-defense which pre-dates and pre-exists the Constitution. Farris has repudiated our Founding Principles that Rights come from the Creator God, and that the purpose of government is to secure the Rights GOD gave us (Declaration of Independence, 2nd para). In Farris’ brave new world, “rights” come from the Constitution – where they are subject to the will of human governments. See, e.g., his so-called “parental rights” amendment HERE. “Child raising” is not now on the list of delegated powers – but §3 of Farris’ “parental rights” amendment would delegate power over children to the federal government. Read it.

5 Rights don’t come from the Constitution! They come from GOD! PH

May 3, 2015

 

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May 3, 2015 Posted by | Jim Crow laws, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Madison's Notes on Nullification (1834), Madison's Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800), Martin Luther King, Nullification, nullification deniers, South Carolina nullification crisis, Tariff of Abominations, Tarrif Act of 1828 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers

By Publius Huldah

This is The Age of Ignorance. Our “intellectuals” can’t think.  Our “scholars” parrot each other. The self-educated fixate on idiotic theories.  Our People despise Truth and disseminate lies.

Nullification deniers such as Matthew Spalding of Heritage Foundation, Jarrett Stepman of Human Events, law professor Randy BarnettDavid Barton of Wallbuilders, and history professor Allen C. Guelzo, say that nullification by States of unconstitutional acts of the federal government is unlawful and impossible. They make the demonstrably false assertions that:

♦  States don’t have the right to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal   government because our Constitution doesn’t say they can do it;

  Nullification is literally impossible;

The supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not; and The States and The People must submit to whatever the supreme Court says; and

James Madison, Father of Our Constitution, opposed nullification.

Their assertions contradict our Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, our federal Constitution, and what James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton really said.

What are the Two Conditions Precedent for Nullification?

The deniers seem unaware of the two conditions our Framers saw must be present before nullification is proper and possible. These conditions are important – you will see why!:

The act of the federal government must be unconstitutional usually a usurpation of a power not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution; and

The act must be something The States or The People can “nullify”- i.e., refuse to obey (the act must order them to do something or not do something), or otherwise thwart, impede, or hinder

What is “Interposition” and What is “Nullification”?

A State “interposes” when it stands between the federal government and The Citizens of the State in order to protect them from the federal government. Interposition takes various forms, depending on the circumstances. Hamilton refers to interposition in Federalist No. 33 (5th para):

“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 [the Constitution] they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” [emphasis mine]

“Nullification” is merely one form of interposition.

Here are three highly relevant illustrations:

♠ When the act of the federal government is unconstitutional and orders The States or The People to do – or not do – something, nullification by direct disobedience is the proper form of interposition.

♠ When the act of the federal government is unconstitutional, but doesn’t order The States or The People to do – or not do – something (the alien & sedition acts), The States may take various measures to thwart, impede, or hinder implementation of the federal act in order to protect The Member States, The People, and The Constitution from federal tyranny.  (See the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.)

♠ When the act of the federal government is constitutional, but unjust (the Tariff Act of 1828), the States may not nullify it; but may interpose by objecting and trying to get the Tariff Act changed.

Our Founding Principles in a Nutshell

In order to understand The Right of Nullification, one must also learn the Founding Principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence (2nd para). Then one can see that “when powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act” 1 is “the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression.” 2 These Principles are:

1.  Rights come from God;

2.  People create governments;

3.  The purpose of government is to secure the rights God gave us; and

4.  When a government We created seeks to take away our God given rights, We have the Right – We have the Duty – to alter, abolish, or throw off such government.

Let us look briefly at these Principles:

1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government.

2.  The Preamble to our Constitution shows that WE THE PEOPLE created the federal government. It is our “creature”. Alexander Hamilton says this in Federalist Paper No. 33 (5th para); and Thomas Jefferson, in his draft of The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 (8th Resolution). As our “creature”, it may lawfully do only what WE authorized it to do in our Constitution.

We created a “federal” government: An alliance of Sovereign States 3 associated in a “federation” with a national government to which is delegated supremacy over the States in few and defined areas only. James Madison says in Federalist No. 45 (9th para):

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” [boldface mine]

Do you see? We delegated only “few and defined” powers to the federal government. These are the “enumerated powers” listed in the Constitution. 4

These enumerated powers concern:

Military defense, international commerce & relations;

Control of immigration and naturalization of new citizens;

Creation of a uniform commercial system: Weights & measures, patents & copyrights, money based on gold & silver, bankruptcy laws, mail delivery & some road building; and

With some of the Amendments, protect certain civil rights.

It is only with respect to the “enumerated powers” that the federal government has lawful authority over the Country at large!!!  All other powers are “reserved to the several States” and The People.

3. Our Constitution authorizes the federal government to secure our God-given Rights in the following ways: 5

It is to secure our rights to life and liberty by:

Military defense (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 11-16);

Laws against piracy and other felonies committed on the high seas (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 10);

Protecting us from invasion (Art IV, Sec. 4);

Prosecuting traitors (Art III, Sec. 3); and

Restrictive immigration policies (Art. I, Sec. 9, cl. 1).

It is to secure our property rights by:

Regulating trade & commerce so we can produce, sell & prosper (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl.3). The original intent of the interstate commerce clause is to prohibit States from levying tolls & taxes on articles of commerce as they are transported thru the States for buying & selling.

Establishing uniform weights & measures and a money system based on gold & silver (Art I, Sec. 8, cl. 5) – inflation via paper currency & fractional reserve lending is theft!

Punishing counterfeiters (Art I, Sec. 8, cl. 6);

Making bankruptcy laws to permit the orderly dissolution or reorganization of debtors’ estates with fair treatment of creditors (Art I, Sec 8, cl. 4); and

Issuing patents & copyrights to protect ownership of intellectual labors (Art I, Sec 8, cl 8).

It is to secure our right to liberty by:

Laws against slavery (13th Amendment);

Providing fair trials in federal courts (4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Amendments); and

Obeying the Constitution!

This is how our federal Constitution implements The Founding Principle that the purpose of government is to secure the rights God gave us!

4. The fourth Founding Principle in our Declaration is this: When government takes away our God given rights, We have the Right & the Duty to alter, abolish, or throw off such government. Nullification is thus a natural right of self-defense:

Thomas Jefferson said:

“… 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…” 6 [boldface mine]

James Madison commented on the above:

“… the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression…” 7

Alexander Hamilton says in Federalist No. 28  (5th para from end):

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success …” [boldface mine]

Hamilton then shows how The States can rein in a usurping federal government:

“…the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority…”

Do you see?

But the nullification deniers do not see because, in addition to their apparent unfamiliarity with the original source writings on nullification (as well as The Federalist Papers), they reject, or do not understand, the Founding Principle that Rights pre-date & pre-exist the Constitution and come from God.  Nullification is not a paltry “constitutional right”!  It has a hallowed status – it is that natural right of self-defense which pre-dates & pre-exists the Constitution.

Now, let us look at the false assertions made by the nullification deniers.

False Assertion 1:

That States can’t nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government because the Constitution doesn’t say they can do it.

♣  As we have just seen, Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton saw nullification of unconstitutional acts of the federal government as a “natural right” – not a “constitutional right”. And since Rights come from God, there is no such thing as a “constitutional right”!

♣ The Right of Nullification, transcending as it does, the Constitution; and being nowhere prohibited by the Constitution to the States, is a reserved power. The 10th 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.”

Nothing in the federal Constitution prohibits The States from nullifying unconstitutional acts of the federal government. Thus, nullification is a reserved  power of the States & The People.

♣  We saw where Madison says in Federalist No. 45 that the powers delegated to the federal government are “few and defined”, and all other powers are “reserved to the several States”.

Thus, it is the federal government which is supposed to look to the Constitution for the list of “enumerated powers” We The People delegated to it.

The States don’t go to the Constitution to look for permission because they retain all powers they didn’t exclusively 8 delegate to the federal government, or prohibit by Art. I, Sec. 10.

The nullification deniers have it backwards:  They permit the federal government to ignore the “enumerated powers” limitations set forth in the Constitution; but insist The States can’t do anything unless the Constitution specifically says they can!

Do you see how they pervert Our Constitution?

False Assertion 2:

That Nullification is literally impossible.

We saw above the two conditions which must exist before nullification is proper and possible:

The act of the federal government must be unconstitutional, and

The act must be something The People or The States can refuse to obey, or otherwise thwart, impede or obstruct.

Here are examples of unconstitutional federal acts the States can and should nullify:

The Constitution does not delegate to the federal government power to ban Christianity from the public square. But in 1962, the supreme Court first ordered The States to stop prayers in the public schools. That Court next banned the Ten Commandments from the public schools.  Since those orders were usurpations of powers not lawfully possessed by the Court,the States should have nullified them by directing their Schools to ignore them.

If Congress by “law”, or the President by “executive order”, orders The People to turn in our guns, We must refuse to comply. The Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to disarm us.  So, The States and The People must nullify such law or order by refusing to obey.

Here are examples of unconstitutional & unjust State and municipal laws Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King nullified:

The Jim Crow laws required black people to sit at the back of the bus, and prohibited them from eating in public places and using public restrooms, water fountains, park benches, etc. Using non-violent civil disobedience, Rosa Parks and MLK led black people to refuse to obey these unjust and unconstitutional (Sec. 1, 14th Amdt.) laws. This was nullification by brave Citizens!

Now, I’ll show you unconstitutional acts which couldn’t be directly disobeyed because they weren’t directed to anything The States or The People could refuse to obey:

In 1798, Thomas Jefferson wrote The Kentucky Resolutions, and James Madison wrote The Virginia Resolutions.   These Resolutions objected to laws made by Congress which purported to grant to the President dictatorial powers over aliens and seditious words.

Kentucky and Virginia could object, but they couldn’t prevent the President from enforcing the alien & sedition acts, because the President had the raw power to send out thugs to arrest aliens or people who had spoken or written “seditious” words; and then to persecute them.

So Jefferson and Madison showed why the alien & sedition acts were unconstitutional, protested them, and asked other States to join the protest and take whatever measures needed to be taken to protect The States, The People, and The Constitution.

Now! Note WellRandy Barnett, law professor, and other deniers crow that the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions prove there is no “literal power” of nullification in the States.

But Barnett should know better because he is a lawyer. Every litigation attorney knows this:  At a motion hearing before the judge, opposing counsel whips out a court opinion which he cites as authority for a legal point.  He gives the judge a highlighted copy and gives you (opposing counsel) an un-highlighted copy.  While he is making his argument to the judge, you must listen to what he is saying, and at the same time, read the opinion and develop an argument which “distinguishes” the opinion opposing counsel is using from the case at bar.  When opposing counsel finishes, the judge looks at you and says, “And how do you respond?” You must be ready with your argument right then.

Are we to believe that Randy Barnett, law professor, sitting in his ivory tower and under no pressure, is unable to distinguish between situations where a State does have a “literal power” to nullify (by direct disobedience) an unconstitutional act of the federal government [when it orders The State or The People to do -or not do – something]; and when The State does not have a “literal power” to directly disobey the act [because, as with the alien & sedition acts, it does  not dictate something The States or The People can refuse to obey], and so they can only thwart, impede & obstruct the unconstitutional act?

 

False Assertion 3:

That the supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not; and The States and The People must submit to whatever the supreme Court says.

The federal government has become a tyranny which acts without constitutional authority.

This came about because we were lured away from The Founding Principle that the purpose of government is to secure the Rights God gave us; and were seduced into believing government should provide for our needs and protect us from the challenges of Life.

Progressives of the early 1900s 9 transformed the federal government into the Frankensteinian monster it is today. They imposed the regulatory welfare state where the federal government regulates business and commerce, natural resources, human resources, and benefits some people [e.g., welfare parasites, labor unions & obama donors] at the expense of others.

The Progressives claimed the power to determine what is in the “public interest” and have the federal government implement their notions of what advances the “public interest”.

Under the Progressives, the federal government was no longer limited by the enumerated powers delegated in the Constitution; but would follow the “will of the people” as expressed by their representatives in the federal government.  In other words, the Progressives gave the federal government a blank check to fill out anyway they want. People in the federal government now claim power to do whatever they want to us.

The federal government imposed by the Progressives is evil:

In order to provide benefits to some; the federal government violates the God-given property rights of others.  The federal government robs Peter to pay Paul.

In order to protect us from the challenges of life (including made up problems such as “global warming” and “lack of medical insurance”), the federal government violates everyone’s God-given rights to Liberty.

And thus today, the federal government:

Usurps powers not delegated to it in the Constitution. Most of what it does is unconstitutional as outside the enumerated powers delegated in our Constitution.

Has become an instrument of oppression, injustice, and immorality.

Has taken away most of our God given rights, and is now conniving to take away our God given right to self-defense.

Now you know how the federal government was transformed from being the securer of our God given rights to a tyranny which oppresses some of the people for the benefit of others; and takes everyone’s Liberty away – except for those in the ruling class.

 

So!  What do We do?  What can We do?

The nullification deniers insist We must obey whatever Congress and the President dictate unless five (5) judges on the supreme Court say We don’t have to.  They say the supreme Court is the final authority on what is constitutional and what is not.

But think: Who created the federal government?

We did!  It is our “creature”. Is the “creature” to dictate to the “creator”?

The nullification deniers say, “Yes!”   They say that:

Every law made by Congress [the Legislative Branch of the federal government] is “supreme”; and

Every executive order issued by the President [the Executive Branch of the federal government] is binding; and

The States and The People must obey, unless and until five (5) judges on the supreme Court [the Judicial Branch of the federal government] say the law or executive order is unconstitutional.

In other words, only the federal government may question the federal government; and NO ONE may question the supreme Court!

Under their vision, the federal government WE created with the Constitution is the exclusive and final judge of the extent of the powers WE delegated to it; and the opinion of five (5) judges, not the Constitution, is the sole measure of its powers.

Jarrett Stepman regurgitates the statist lie that “the ultimate decision maker in terms of America’s political system is the Supreme Court.”

Randy Barnett, law professor, chants the statist refrain, “…What has the Supreme Court said and meant? and … Are there now five justices to sustain the claim?”.

Barnett selects two paragraphs from Madison’s Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800) (which address the alien & sedition acts), and claims they show Madison “expressly denies, or at minimum equivocates about whether, there is a literal power of nullification in states”.

Well, We saw above that States couldn’t directly disobey the alien & sedition acts because they purported to grant dictatorial powers to the President; and did not require The States or The People to do – or not do – something.

And the two paragraphs Barnett claims are so “telling” as to The States’ lack of “literal power” to nullify anything, and as to the ultimate authority of the Judicial Branch, appear under Madison’s discussion of the last two Resolutions (the 7th  & 8th) where Virginia had asked other States to join them in taking measures to protect The States, The People and The Constitution from the federal government.  In his discussion of the 7th Resolution, Madison merely responded to the objection that only federal judges may declare the meaning of the Constitution:  Of course Citizens & States may declare acts of the federal government unconstitutional!  When they do so, they are not acting as judges – they are acting as Citizens and as Sovereign States to take those measures which need to be taken to protect themselves from unconstitutional acts of the federal government.

 

Now! Note WellMadison says, in the same Report Barnett cites, that it is “a plain principle, founded in common sense” that The States are the final authority on whether the federal government has violated our Constitution! Under his discussion of the 3rd Resolution, Madison says:

“It appears to your committee to be a plain principle, founded in common sense, illustrated by common practice, and essential to the nature of compacts; that where resort can be had to no tribunal superior to the authority of the parties, the parties themselves must be the rightful judges in the last resort, whether the bargain made, has been pursued or violated. The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the States, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The States then being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.” [emphasis mine]

A bit further down, Madison explains that if, when the federal government usurps power, the States cannot act so as to stop the usurpation, and thereby preserve the Constitution as well as the safety of The States; there would be no relief from usurped power.  This would subvert the Rights of the People as well as betray the fundamental principle of our Founding:

“…If the deliberate exercise, of dangerous power, palpably withheld by the Constitution, could not justify the parties to it, in interposing even so far as to arrest the progress of the evil, and thereby to preserve the Constitution itself as well as to provide for the safety of the parties to it; there would be an end to all relief from usurped power, and a direct subversion of the rights specified or recognized under all the State constitutions, as well as a plain denial of the fundamental principle on which our independence itself was declared.” [emphasis mine]

A bit further down, Madison answers the objection “that the judicial authority is to be regarded as the sole expositor of the Constitution, in the last resort”.

Madison explains that when the federal government acts outside the Constitution by usurping powers, and when the Constitution affords no remedy to that usurpation; then the Sovereign States who are the Parties to the Constitution must likewise step outside the Constitution and appeal to that original natural right of self-defense.

Madison also says that the Judicial Branch is as likely to usurp as are the other two Branches. Thus, The Sovereign States, as The Parties to the Constitution, have as much right to judge the usurpations of the Judicial Branch as they do the Legislative and Executive Branches:

“…the judicial department, also, may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution; and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution, to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority as well as by another — by the judiciary as well as by the executive, or the legislature.

Madison goes on to say that all three Branches of the federal government obtain their delegated powers from the Constitution; and they may not annul the authority of their Creator. And if the Judicial Branch connives with other Branches in usurping powers, our Constitution will be destroyed. So the Judicial Branch does not have final say as

“…to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other department hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power, would annul the authority delegating it; 10 and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers, might subvert forever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution, which all were instituted to preserve.”

Shame on you nullification deniers who misrepresent what Madison said, or ignorantly insist that Madison said the Judicial Branch is the Final Authority!

False Assertion 4:

That James Madison opposed Nullification by States of Unconstitutional Acts of the Federal Government.

Matthew Spalding (Heritage Foundation) and David Barton (Wallbuilders) cite South Carolina’s Nullification Crisis of 1832 as “proof” that James Madison “vehemently opposed” nullification.

What Spalding and Barton say is not true.  Did they read what Madison wrote on S. Carolina’s doctrine of nullification? Are they so lacking in critical thinking skills that they can’t make the distinction between the nullification doctrine Madison (and Jefferson & Hamilton) embraced, and the peculiar doctrine of nullification advanced by S. Carolina?

We saw in Madison’s Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800)  that in a proper case, “interposing even so far as to arrest the progress of the evil” is essential “to preserve the Constitution itself as well as to provide for the safety of the parties to it”.

And we saw above that the condition which must be present before nullification is proper, is that the act of the federal government must be unconstitutional.

Now, let’s look at The Tariff Act of 1828 and the S. Carolina Nullification Crisis:

The South was agricultural.  During the 1820’s, the Southern States bought manufactured goods from England. England bought cotton produced by the Southern States.

However, “infant industries” in the Northeast were producing some of the same manufactured goods as England; but they were more expensive than the English imports.  So they couldn’t compete with the cheaper imports.

So!  In 1828, Congress imposed a high tariff on the English imports. The Southern States called this the “tariff of abominations”, because the tariff made the English goods too expensive to buy; and since the Southern States stopped buying English goods, the English stopped buying Southern cotton. The Southern States had to pay more for manufactured goods, they lost the major buyer of their cotton; and their economy was weakened.

Now! Note Well: Our Constitution delegates specific authority to Congress to impose tariffs on imports, and the tariff must be the same in each State (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 1).

Thus, the Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional! 11

So!  Can you, dear Reader, see something which Matthew Spalding, Ph.D., and David Barton are unable to see?  South Carolina wanted to nullify a constitutional law!  Of course, Madison opposed S. Carolina’s peculiar doctrine of nullification! Madison (and Jefferson & Hamilton) always said the act nullified must be unconstitutional!

In his Notes on Nullification (1834), 12  Madison addressed S. Carolina’s peculiar doctrine. He said that in the Report of a special committee of the House of Representatives of South Carolina in 1828, a doctrine of nullification was set forth which asserted that:

♦ A State has a “constitutional right” to nullify any federal law; and

♦ The nullification is presumed valid, and is to remain in force, unless ¾ of the States, in a Convention, say the nullification isn’t valid.

What Madison opposed was the particular doctrine of nullification set forth by S. Carolina; and what Madison actually said about the S. Carolina doctrine is this:

The federal government has delegated authority to impose import tariffs;

The Constitution requires that all import tariffs be uniform throughout the United States;

States can’t nullify tariffs which are authorized by the Constitution;

¼ of the States don’t have the right to dictate to ¾ of the States on matters within the powers delegated to the federal government;

  Nullification is not a “constitutional right”;

And near the end of his Notes, Madison quoted with approval Thomas Jefferson’s statement:

“…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 mine]

Madison then says:

“Thus the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression.” [emphasis mine]

Do you see?  Madison is saying that:

S. Carolina couldn’t nullify the Tariff Act of 1828 because the Act was constitutional.

Nullification is a “natural right”- it is not a “constitutional” right. Rights don’t come from the Constitution.

All agree that when the federal government acts outside of the Constitution, nullification by the States is the proper remedy.

Application Today

When WE THE PEOPLE ratified our Constitution, and thereby created the federal government, WE did not delegate to our “creature” power to control our medical care, restrict guns and ammunition, dictate what is done in the public schools, dictate how we use our lands, and all the thousands of things they do WE never gave them authority in our Constitution to do.

Accordingly, each State has a natural right to nullify these unconstitutional dictates within its borders.  These dictates are outside the compact The Sovereign States made with each other –WE never gave our “creature” power over these objects.

As Jefferson and Madison said, without Nullification, The States and The People would be under the absolute and unlimited control of the federal government.

And that, dear Reader, is where these nullification deniers, with their false assertions and shameful misrepresentations, would put you.

To sum this up:

Nullification is a natural right of self-defense.

Rights don’t come from the Constitution. Like all Rights, the right of self-defense comes from God (The Declaration of Independence, 2nd para).

Nullification is a reserved power within the meaning of the 10th Amendment. The Constitution doesn’t prohibit States from nullifying, and We reserved the power to do it.

God requires us to disobey civil authorities when they violate God’s Law. That’s why the 2nd para of the Declaration of Independence says we have the duty to overthrow tyrannical government. See: The Biblical Foundation of our Constitution.

♦ Nullification is required by Oath of Office:  Article VI, cl. 3 requires all State officers and judges to “support” the federal Constitution. Therefore, when the federal government violates the Constitution, the States must smack them down.

Conclusion

Our Founders and Framers were a different People than we of today. They were manly men who knew statecraft & political philosophy and could think. But our “experts” of today have been indoctrinated with statism and can’t think.  They lie, or they just ignorantly repeat what they hear without checking it out to see if what they are repeating is true.

So WE need to man up, throw off the indoctrination and the phony “experts”, learn our Founding Documents including The Federalist Papers, and stop repeating the lies we are told.  Trust no one.  And repudiate cowardice as the proper response to the evil which is overtaking our Land. Man up, People!  PH

Post script added October 2, 2013:

Something is rotten in the Cato Institute:  Robert A. Levy, Chairman of the Cato Institute, recently wrote an article published in the New York Times,  “The Limits of Nullification“, where Levy regurgitates the same fabrication Randy Barnett told to the effect that Madison said in his Report of 1800, that all the States can do is express their opinion that a federal law is unconstitutional.  The kindest thing one can say about Levy’s article is that it is “childishly  ignorant”.

Endnotes:

1 Thomas Jefferson, The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, 8th Resolution.

2 James Madison, Notes on Nullification (1834). The quote is near the end.  Use “find” function.

3 The deniers seem unaware that The States retained sovereignty in all matters not exclusively delegated to the federal government. Alexander Hamilton says in Federalist No. 32 (2nd para):

“An entire consolidation of the States into one complete national sovereignty would imply an entire subordination of the parts; and whatever powers might remain in them, would be altogether dependent on the general will. But as the plan of the convention [the Constitution] aims only at a partial union or consolidation, the State governments would clearly retain all the rights of sovereignty which they before had, and which were not … EXCLUSIVELY delegated to the United States…” [caps are Hamilton’s; boldface mine]

Federalist No. 62 (5th para):

“…the equal vote allowed to each State [each State gets two U.S. Senators] is …a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty… [in order to guard] … against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic.” (Madison or Hamilton) [boldface mine]

See also Federalist No. 39 (Madison) (6th para, et seq.)

In Madison’s Report on The Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800),  he several times refers, in his discussion of the 3rd Resolution, to the States acting “in their sovereign capacity” when, as “the parties to the constitutional compact” they decide  “in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated”:

“…The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that, as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition….” [boldface mine]

4 Contrary to the misconstructions long and unlawfully applied by the federal government, the federal Constitution is one of enumerated powers only. E.g.:

“…the proposed government cannot be deemed a national one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignity over all other objects…” (Federalist No. 39, 3rd para from end) (Madison) [boldface mine]

“…the general [federal] government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects...” (Federalist No. 14, 8th para) (Madison) [boldface mine]

“…It merits particular attention … that the laws of the Confederacy [Congress], as to the ENUMERATED and LEGITIMATE objects of its jurisdiction, will become the SUPREME LAW of the land…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…” [caps are Hamilton’s] (Federalist No. 27, last para)

5   Our Constitution authorizes the federal government to secure our God-given rights in the ways appropriate for the national government of a Federation. The States secure them in other ways.

6 The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798,8th Resolution.

7 Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834).   The quote is near the end. Use “find” function.

8 This explains the limited “exclusive jurisdiction” of the federal government, and the areas where the federal government and The States have “concurrent jurisdiction”.

9 Teddy Roosevelt ran on the Progressive Platform of 1912.  Both major parties have been dominated by progressives ever since.

10 Hamilton says, respecting the Legislative Branch (Federalist No. 78, 10th para):

“…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]

11 The Tariff Act of 1828 was constitutional; but benefited the Northeast at the expense of the South. It thus violated our Founding Principle that governments exist to secure the rights God gave us.  God never gave us the right to be free of competition in business! Since the tariff was constitutional, but unjust, the remedy was to get Congress to fix it.

12 Madison’s Notes on Nullification (1834) are long & rambling. Copy to Word, enlarge the type, & color-code to sort out the strands of arguments. Keep in mind that what Madison is addressing is S. Carolina’s peculiar doctrine where they wanted to nullify a constitutional tariff! PH

January 31, 2013; revised October 23, 2013

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January 31, 2013 Posted by | 10th Amendment, alien and sedition acts, Allen C. Guelzo, David Barton, Heritage Foundation, Interposition, Jarrett Stepman, Jim Crow laws, Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Madison's Notes on Nullification (1834), Madison's Report on the Virginia Resolutions (1799-1800), Martin Luther King, Matthew Spalding, Nullification, nullification deniers, Progressives, Randy Barnett, Robert A. Levy Cato Institute, South Carolina nullification crisis, Sovereign States, States Retained Powers, Tariff of Abominations, Tarrif Act of 1828, Tenth Amendment, Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Resolutions of 1798 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 110 Comments

   

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