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Nullification Protected Freedom of Speech

The idea that a federal government will decide its own case is the hilarious work of one person, the self-absorbed John Marshall.

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WealthCycles Commentary


In the Halloween spirit, this week’s video features a zombie interviewing Thomas E. Woods, Jr. on the topic of nullification. Woods is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, who holds a Bachelor's degree in history from Harvard and his master’s, M.Phil., and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Nullification is the states’ right to invalidate unconstitutional federal decrees, as the states are the signators to the constitution; in other words, the states and their Supreme Courts determine whether the federal government is operating within its limited powers as prescribed in Article 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The idea that the federal government will be the ultimate arbiter of the constitutionality of federal government actions (LOL) was made up by John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

As Tom Woods notes, nullification was codified in Kentucky and Virginia in 1798 and has been used since on many occasions to defend what citizens of a state viewed as morally right. For example:

In 1850, fugitive slave laws made Americans into slave hunters, and Wisconsin resisted the federal decree, nullifying the law that made “the free soil of Wisconsin made the hunting ground for human kidnappers.

Besides the unconstitutionality and immorality arguments, what was the reason for nullification of the fugitive slave law according to Wisconsin? To protect the structure of the country, and guard against future infringements… some of which have come to pass already:

… to defend our state sovereignty, our state courts and our state and national constitutions, against the flagrant usurpations of US judges, commissioners, marshals and their attorneys, and to maintain inviolate those great constitutional safeguards of freedom the writ of habeas corpus and the right of trial by jury, as old and sacred as constitutional liberty itself…” 

Of course, for Americans, habeas corpus and a right to a trial is gone as of 2012, when anyone deemed by the federal executive branch can be held indefinitely without due process. Both 2012 the two leading presidential candidates support this new position. Many states may see this as unconstitutional and within their abilities may “oppose in a constitutional manner” or otherwise ignore federal over-reach.

We wrote on June 28 that the healthcare decision written by U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts implicitly supports nullification in that the federal government can’t threaten to withhold Medicare funds from states that don’t fully comply with the new law. Again, did you see it? The idea of a state declining to comply (page 4, section 5 of the decision, “decline to comply”). To further gather information on the frequency and correlation of thought contained in the court opinion, the word cloud below clearly summarizes the issue at stake and the crux of the decision missed by all in the lamestream media:

We documented Texas and Arizona initiatives to nullify on July 12 here. The original idea of the founders to create a country where each state was unique is logical and respectful of freedom, and in this way people can vote with their feet in a more stable, decentralized system.

Other forms of unconstitutional federal mandate have generated opposition in other parts of the country. In Utah and 12 other states, gold and silver are being codified as money and acceptable to the state as a medium of exchange. We could imagine a group of states eventually petitioning the federal government to remove tax on silver and gold money along with ignoring the federal legal tender laws locally within the states. Nullification is already happening in this manner as Utah deems silver and gold as legal tender. Although gold and silver money are not federal policy today, state legislatures seem to feel the freedom to choose is reserved to their constituents rather than authorized by some argument that a monopoly on money is mandated in the Constitution’s Article 8. Which it isn’t.

The federal government can assign weights and measures, and emit debt, but can not legally enforce a monopoly that makes modern slavesof its citizens based on the silent tax of inflation enabled by the monopoly.

As Thomas Sowell says: “Not since the days of slavery have there been so many people who feel entitled to what other people have produced as there are in the modern welfare state, whether in Western Europe or on this side of the Atlantic.”

In this throwback to Halloween, the video puts forth zombified arguments against the beautiful history of liberty revisionists strive to rewrite. The whole people did not ratify the U.S. Constitution; slaves and women were excluded, and each state ratified the Constitution explicitly as seen in Article 7. The constitution applied “only to those states that ratified it, and it would be valid for all states joining after.” So the idea that federal power is derived from the will of the whole people, or even the idea that the states all agreed in unison, are easily refuted lies. The fact is and always has been that solely the constitutional powers afforded to the central, concurrent, secondary government were authorized by the individual, sovereign states. In no area is this topic more important than to the elimination of poverty, for only with a legal means to save without the parasitic devaluation of the currency is such a dream obtainable.

As self-made Mexican billionaire Hugo Salinas Price wrote recently,

There are now four countries in the world where individuals are trying to convince their governments to monetize a silver coin, which people will use to build savings. In a world which is going bankrupt at an alarming rate, savings not subject to devaluation from inflation are going to make a life-and-death difference to millions of humans.

When the people of the world begin to return to regular use of gold and silver coin in exchange, you will be able to watch demand for the metals peg to infinity, as demand for money is never-ending.

On which side of the fence will you stand when the chips begin to fall? Exchange out of the paper banknotes issued as the liability of the Federal Reserve now, before the dollars (as they are more commonly called) lose even more value against gold and silver coin.

The video lecture Why the Constitution Had to Be Destroyed (and how they did it) exposes much of the attempt revisionists make in rewriting historic fact to promote the view of Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall that power and leadership should be centralized and supreme rather than decentralized, limited and local.