Tuesday, 08 March 2011

Nullify Now! Tour Reaches Cincinnati

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This year, the Nullify Now! tour continues to boast large crowds and an impressive array of speakers. On Saturday, March 5, the tour made its way to Cincinnati, Ohio, where over 300 guests gathered at the Harriet Tubman Theater at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. A number of prominent speakers appeared at Saturday's event, including New York Times bestselling author Thomas Woods, Jacob Huebert, author of Libertarianism Today, and John Birch Society CEO Art Thompson.

Hosted by the Tenth Amendment Center, and sponsored by The Foundation for a Free Society — as well as a number of other organizations — the Nullify Now! tour proposes state nullification as a means to oppose the overreach of the federal government.

State nullification is the process by which states can reject and refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws. It has been a component of American law since the inception of the republic. In Thomas Jefferson's draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, he first introduced the word "nullification" into American politics. In his follow-up of the resolutions in 1799, Jefferson asserted that "nullification...is the rightful remedy" when the federal government overreaches its constitutional limitations. Likewise, at the Virginia ratifying convention of 1788, Virginians were told that they could be "exonerated" if the federal government attempted to impose "any supplementary condition" upon them.

At Saturday's event, one of history's greatest examples of nullification — which took place on March 11, 1854 — was celebrated. In 1854, Joseph Glover, a slave in Missouri, managed to escape from his owner and make his way north to Wisconsin. (See photo.) Under the Federal Fugitive Slave Act, however, Glover was captured and thrown in jail, and was to be returned to his owner, but the people of Wisconsin rallied for Glover's freedom, and on March 11, he became a free man. Under the Federal Fugitive Slave Act, slaves were not entitled to a trial, witnesses, or any of the other constitutional protections guaranteed to Americans. Recognizing the unconstitutionality of the law, the state of Wisconsin refused to comply. Glover's freedom is a prime example of what a state's nullification of an unconstitutional federal law can accomplish.

Glover's story was a perfect introduction to Cincinnati's Nullify Now! tour. Also at the event, speakers discussed other historical examples of tyranny and liberty, and how activism helped to achieve the freedom that American citizens enjoy today. Likewise, participants addressed a variety of unconstitutional expansions of today's federal power, and how those expansions can be opposed through nullification. Most importantly, speakers emphasized the authority of the states under the Tenth Amendment to nullify unconstitutional laws.

Thomas Woods, author of Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century — a book which has helped to establish Woods as a prime advocate of the nullification movement — specifically targeted establishment Republicans and conservatives for their failure to acknowledge nullification as an option to resist federal tyranny. Woods added, however, that nullification has gained popularity on major news outlets, and appeared hopeful that state nullification will become a more readily used practice to oppose the unconstitutional growth of the federal government.

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For example, proponents of nullification have advocated its use to reject ObamaCare, reclaim the Commerce Clause, and oppose gun control laws, EPA regulations, and the current monetary policy of the United States.

According to Woods:

Nullification begins with the axiomatic point that a federal law that violates the Constitution is no law at all. It is void and of no effect. If a law is unconstitutional and therefore void and of no effect, it is up to the states, the parties to the U.S. Constitution, to declare it so and thus refuse to enforce it...Nullification provides a shield between the people of a state and an unconstitutional law from the federal government.

JBS CEO Art Thompson discussed the recent union demonstrations in Madison, Wisconsin, contending that they are part of an international movement that ties into the nullification fight. Discussing the tangled web of the socialist and Marxist roots of the demonstrations, and the unfortunate success of the community organization efforts seen in Wisconsin and elsewhere, Thompson concluded that nullification may be the last hope to preserve the republic.

The next stop for the Nullify Now! tour will be in Manchester, New Hampshire on March 19, where Thomas Woods will provide a constitutionally sound case for nullification. The tour will continue to make its way across the country, with stops scheduled in St. Paul, Minnesota; Austin, Texas; and Los Angeles, California, with a number of other dates and locations expected to be added soon.