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Is state nullification constitutional?

Is state nullification constitutional?

  • Yes

    Votes: 15 35.7%
  • No

    Votes: 24 57.1%
  • Other/Don't know

    Votes: 3 7.1%

  • Total voters
    42

Anagram

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Nullification efforts are mounting in states across the country. Kansas recently made it a felony for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws on guns made in Kansas. A law here in Missouri recently passed with huge super-majorities, so it will come into effect regardless of whether Governor Nixon vetoes it. So my question is whether or not those laws are constitutional.

I'd like to make a distinction between those laws and the marijuana laws that have come into effect and are mentioned in the source as examples of nullification. Those laws merely legalize marijuana in the state, but do not prevent federal agents from enforcing the federal laws against it. As I understand it, this type of law was ruled constitutional in Prigg v Pennsylvania where it was said that the states cannot be compelled to use state law enforcement resources to enforce federal law. Rather, what I am talking about are laws that prevent even federal agents from enforcing the federal laws.
 

Ray410

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The answer depends upon the particular power that an individual state wishes to express in contravention of federal law.

Tenth Amendment: "Those 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."


Under the present administration, it appears that there would be no pathway to individual state expression of a Tenth Amendment granted power unless a State affirmatively followed the course of Nullification, thereby forcing a federal challenge.

The Federal government is not going to ask a state if it agrees with federal usurpation of that state's constitutionally granted authority.
 
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Carjosse

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This is why we have provinces with one federal criminal code.
 

iliveonramen

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Nullification efforts are mounting in states across the country. Kansas recently made it a felony for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws on guns made in Kansas. A law here in Missouri recently passed with huge super-majorities, so it will come into effect regardless of whether Governor Nixon vetoes it. So my question is whether or not those laws are constitutional.

I'd like to make a distinction between those laws and the marijuana laws that have come into effect and are mentioned in the source as examples of nullification. Those laws merely legalize marijuana in the state, but do not prevent federal agents from enforcing the federal laws against it. As I understand it, this type of law was ruled constitutional in Prigg v Pennsylvania where it was said that the states cannot be compelled to use state law enforcement resources to enforce federal law. Rather, what I am talking about are laws that prevent even federal agents from enforcing the federal laws.
Nullification is not constitutional.

Nullification attempts have been "moral" and "immoral" over time. States were forced to adhere to the fugitive slave act and forced to desegregate and end Jim Crow.

At the end of the day you can't have a nation with 50 states heading in different directions. The Articles of Confederation didn't work.
 

Tucker Case

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It's an interesting question. I don't think it's unconstitutional, but I'm pretty sure it is a violation of federal law to interfere with federal officers who are performing their duty. Thus, such laws would place any officer who tries to enforce state law into the unenviable situation of having to violate federal law in order to do so.
 

Ikari

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Nullification efforts are mounting in states across the country. Kansas recently made it a felony for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws on guns made in Kansas. A law here in Missouri recently passed with huge super-majorities, so it will come into effect regardless of whether Governor Nixon vetoes it. So my question is whether or not those laws are constitutional.

I'd like to make a distinction between those laws and the marijuana laws that have come into effect and are mentioned in the source as examples of nullification. Those laws merely legalize marijuana in the state, but do not prevent federal agents from enforcing the federal laws against it. As I understand it, this type of law was ruled constitutional in Prigg v Pennsylvania where it was said that the states cannot be compelled to use state law enforcement resources to enforce federal law. Rather, what I am talking about are laws that prevent even federal agents from enforcing the federal laws.
I think there is an argument to be made. And clearly many topics were left to the States to handle as it is easier to control a State government than the Federal. But the Feds do not like being told no, and they will almost certainly use interstate commerce to excuse their action.
 

Paschendale

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Nullification is done via the court system, by striking a federal law as unconstitutional. It is not done by enacting statutes that violate federal law. The supremacy clause bars the states from doing that. Also, contrary to what some people like to think, the 10th amendment does not actually prohibit the federal government from doing anything. It just tells you what to do with issues that the federal government is not dealing with. Attempts to arrest federal officials for carrying out federal law are absolutely not permitted.

Again, the proper channel is through the courts, by challenging the constitutionality of whatever law is opposed by the state. I expect we'll be in for a very interesting state vs federal battle over marijuana.
 

listener

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I think it is grandstanding and that the Supreme Court will rule against all such laws and the States know it.
 

Cephus

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Absolutely not. States, by their admission into the union, agree to follow federal laws. You can't get a state deciding that they want slavery back expect to nullify federal law.
 

Redress

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Nullification efforts are mounting in states across the country. Kansas recently made it a felony for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws on guns made in Kansas. A law here in Missouri recently passed with huge super-majorities, so it will come into effect regardless of whether Governor Nixon vetoes it. So my question is whether or not those laws are constitutional.

I'd like to make a distinction between those laws and the marijuana laws that have come into effect and are mentioned in the source as examples of nullification. Those laws merely legalize marijuana in the state, but do not prevent federal agents from enforcing the federal laws against it. As I understand it, this type of law was ruled constitutional in Prigg v Pennsylvania where it was said that the states cannot be compelled to use state law enforcement resources to enforce federal law. Rather, what I am talking about are laws that prevent even federal agents from enforcing the federal laws.
I thanked your post as much for asking an interesting question in a pretty fair way, as I did for introducing me to Prigg v Pennsylvania, which is fascinating history.

Based on that case, the precedent seems to be clearly there that making a state law against federal agents enforcing federal law should be, clearly unconstitutional.
 

chromium

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Of course, they can go ahead and try to enforce whatever, and be sued to oblivion when scotus rules against them.
 

Redress

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The answer depends upon the particular power that an individual state wishes to express in contravention of federal law.

Tenth Amendment: "Those 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."


Under the present administration, it appears that there would be no pathway to individual state expression of a Tenth Amendment granted power unless a State affirmatively followed the course of Nullification, thereby forcing a federal challenge.

The Federal government is not going to ask a state if it agrees with federal usurpation of that state's constitutionally granted authority.
States do not get to determine what violates the 10th amendment. The federal court system does. If the federal court system rules a federal law violates the 10th, then a state law "nullifying" it is unneeded. If the federal court system rules a federal law does not violate the 10th, then the state cannot use the 10th as an argument to nullify.
 

Redress

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It's an interesting question. I don't think it's unconstitutional, but I'm pretty sure it is a violation of federal law to interfere with federal officers who are performing their duty. Thus, such laws would place any officer who tries to enforce state law into the unenviable situation of having to violate federal law in order to do so.
Did you read the case Anagram mentioned in the OP? Wiki has a nice write up on it and it offers some fascinating insight into this.
 

Ray410

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States do not get to determine what violates the 10th amendment. The federal court system does. If the federal court system rules a federal law violates the 10th, then a state law "nullifying" it is unneeded. If the federal court system rules a federal law does not violate the 10th, then the state cannot use the 10th as an argument to nullify.
Note that I stated the state's course should be to ".....force a federal challenge."
 

Bob Blaylock

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States do not get to determine what violates the 10th amendment. The federal court system does. If the federal court system rules a federal law violates the 10th, then a state law "nullifying" it is unneeded. If the federal court system rules a federal law does not violate the 10th, then the state cannot use the 10th as an argument to nullify.
How convenient that the very same corrupt government that refuses to obey the Constitution is given the power to determine what the Constitution does or does not allow it to do; and therefore to rule that the Constitution allows it to do whatever the hell it wants to do;.
 

jamesrage

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Nullification efforts are mounting in states across the country. Kansas recently made it a felony for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws on guns made in Kansas. A law here in Missouri recently passed with huge super-majorities, so it will come into effect regardless of whether Governor Nixon vetoes it. So my question is whether or not those laws are constitutional.

I'd like to make a distinction between those laws and the marijuana laws that have come into effect and are mentioned in the source as examples of nullification. Those laws merely legalize marijuana in the state, but do not prevent federal agents from enforcing the federal laws against it. As I understand it, this type of law was ruled constitutional in Prigg v Pennsylvania where it was said that the states cannot be compelled to use state law enforcement resources to enforce federal law. Rather, what I am talking about are laws that prevent even federal agents from enforcing the federal laws.
If states can enact laws that ignore federal marijuana laws and enact sanctuary city policies then surely states can surely enact laws that repeal unconstitutional federal laws.
 

Captain Adverse

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Study your Constitution folks, it is made up of more than the Bill of Rights and the subsequent amendments:

Article VI, Clause 2: 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; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Furthermore, the U.S. Supreme Cout has already ruled in a series of eight cases, that nullification is a violation of the Constitution. Most Specifically in Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958) where a state law tried to nullify the courts desegregation decision in Brown vs. The Board of Education; and Edgar v. MITE Corp., 457 U.S. 624 (1982), when it ruled A state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid Federal statute.

So as long as this remains "The UNITED States," states will be bound by both Supreme Court rulings and Federal laws; nullification is just grandstanding.
 

Visbek

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How convenient that the very same corrupt government that refuses to obey the Constitution is given the power to determine what the Constitution does or does not allow it to do; and therefore to rule that the Constitution allows it to do whatever the hell it wants to do;.
1) That's not how it works. It's the legislative and executive branches that will actually do things whose constitutionality needs to be determined (e.g. pass laws, interpret laws), and the job of the judiciary to review the constitutionality of those laws.

2) States are every bit as "corrupt" as the federal government.

3) Being mad at government doesn't change the fact that there are absolutely no provisions for the states to evaluate the constitutionality of a law or federal action.
 

Visbek

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Study your Constitution folks, it is made up of more than the Bill of Rights and the subsequent amendments...
+1

States can pass laws to try and force an issue or ruling, but they cannot declare by fiat that laws they pass are constitutional, or that a federal law is not constitutional.
 

Bob Blaylock

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Study your Constitution folks, it is made up of more than the Bill of Rights and the subsequent amendments:

Article VI, Clause 2: 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; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Supremacy clause only applies to actions that the federal government takes legitimately, within the powers that the Constitution delegates to it.

Our federal government now does many, many, many things which fall well outside its legitimate power. In fact, it has many policies which blatantly violate the Constitution. Various corrupt acts of legislation, and various corrupt court rulings notwithstanding, the Supremacy clause does not legitimate these acts of corruption, nor does it deny states the authority and the duty to defy this corruption.
 
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Bob Blaylock

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+1

States can pass laws to try and force an issue or ruling, but they cannot declare by fiat that laws they pass are constitutional, or that a federal law is not constitutional.
And yet you're eager and willing to grant the federal government the power to pass laws which blatantly violate the Constitution, and to declare by fiat that these laws are Constitutional. The Constitution is meaningless if we allow the federal government the authority which it presently claims and exercises to twist it in whichever way it will.
 

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No, state nullification is not constitutional.

Didn't we go through this in the 19th century? Yes.

Is there really any good reason to try it again? No.

Only the judiciary can nullify Acts of Congress, and Acts of Congress
enjoy supremacy over the states, which is as it should be for anyone
who does not cotton to a balkanization of the the country, what with
Kansas being a stupid little asshole of an American Serbia, Texas being
a stupid little asshole of an American Croatia, Arizona being a stupid
little asshole of an American Ruritania, and so on and so forth.

None of the US states and almost none of the people in them have any
real and true grievance against the Federal Government. Almost all grievances
now being voiced are the are petty, feverish, neurotic concoctions in the
minds of those who do not appreciate how good they have it, hence who
have it better than they deserve.

I still do not own a gun, not that I have any objections to responsible
gun ownership. BUT: I've said it before and I will noever stop saying it:
if this nullification s*** and its logical consequences gets out of hand I
will buy a gun, I will learn how to use my gun, and somewhere down
the line some stupid little nullification asshole won't know what hit him.
 

Gipper

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Nullification is not constitutional, but in most cases the federal government will not interfere unless they feel immense pressure to do so, as it's not in their best nature.
 
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