The all-day event at the Jacksonville Riverfront Omni Hotel (left), attended by approximately 250 people, featured an informative agenda and prominent experts on the subjects of constitutionalism and nullification.
The Tenth Amendment Center’s Francisco Rodriguez told The New American, “We were glad to see a broad array of people interested in these subjects, ranging from monetary policy to Agenda 21. There was a good response overall.”
Rodriguez also discussed his excitement at the launch of the Tenth Amendment committees, which he describes as “groups within groups” whose goal “is to get people engaged after the event, providing them educational classes on the constitution, the Tenth Amendment, and nullification.” Rodriguez added that his group is “looking forward to the committees being a big success.”
Attendees at Saturday’s event were presented with the constitutional history of nullification, which began with both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and was introduced as a means of rejecting unconstitutional federal acts. Additionally, speakers discussed how nullification has been used in the course of American history, including against slavery, as well as how it is being used today.
Speakers pointed out that nullification is the best protection against civil liberties because it can reassert personal rights against acts of the FDA, the TSA, and law enforcement agencies as permitted under the PATRIOT Act. Among the array of prominent experts on nullification was Thomas E. Woods, author of a number of New York Times bestsellers, including Meltdown and Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century. He has appeared as the keynote speaker at nearly all the Nullify Now! stops around the country since the event began in Texas in 2010.
Overall, Woods defended nullification as the best option available to the states because of how far removed the country is from the system established by the Founding Fathers:
The system is rigged. The system is broken. The system is the opposite of what the Framers tried to give us. Thomas Jefferson imagined that the states would act as the sentinels of the liberty of the people. They would protect the people from the unconstitutional overreaches and those powers have by and large been stripped from the states over the years and they need to be reclaimed.
In addition to Woods, the event featured American Conservative columnist Jack Hunter, who assisted Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky in writing The Tea Party Goes to Washington and is the official blogger for the Ron Paul campaign.
Hunter declared, “If we’re going to restore sanity to this country, we have to restore the United States Constitution, and that’s when you get into concepts like nullification." He mocked critics of the nullification movement, jokingly calling all those in attendance “nutjobs” and “extremists” in anticipation of the biased reporting the event was likely to receive.
He also asserted that it is the “so-called conservatives” who are as guilty as liberals for the dire straits in which the nation finds itself, pointing out, “The last president we had under the Republican banner sort of set the stage for the current Democratic president that we have right now.”
Hunter concluded that the conservative movement has gone astray and requires an “injection of libertarianism” in order to find its way back to its roots.
Other speakers included Joe Wolverton II of The New American and Stewart Rhodes, founder and director of Oath Keepers. Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center also addressed the crowd, as well as Georgia state Representative Jason Spencer, John Bush of the Foundation for a Free Society, and Doug Tjaden, executive director of the Sound Money Center.
Andrew Nappi, head of Florida’s Tenth Amendment Center, contended that Floridians stand to benefit from learning about nullification, because the Republicans in Tallahassee have failed their constituents. He explained:
They have traded away our education sovereignty by taking Race to the Top funds. Our government, who is chief executive of a state that is party to a lawsuit to stop ObamaCare, has already taken $3.4 million from it so as not to lose further Race to the Top funds.
A leader of the nullification movement, the Tenth Amendment Center is optimistic by the dozens of nullification bills being implemented in states across the country.
The event also addressed a number of vital issues plaguing the nation today, including the UN's Agenda 21 plan and the actions of the Federal Reserve, both of which the event’s sponsors contend can be corrected by way of nullification.
Jacksonville’s Nullify Now! tour came to town just days after the arrival of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Tenth Amendment Center spokesman Michael Maharrey noted that the motivations behind the Occupy and Nullify Now! movements have some common threads. “We’ve got exploding debt, war without end, government demanding we purchase health insurance on its terms, and federal agents raiding business for the heinous crime of selling whole milk. From guns to weed to TSA groping, the feds poke their noses into areas where they have no business or constitutional authority. Whether they realize it or not, the Tea Partiers and Occupiers are both reacting to the same problem — Washington, D.C.”
The important difference between the two groups, however, is the solution. While those behind the Occupy movement are calling for greater federal overreach, Nullify Now! proponents say that less government is the answer. Supporters of nullification recall the the words of Thomas Jefferson on the subject: “Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers … a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy.”
As noted by The New American's Patrick Krey, nullification is a simple solution to a complicated problem:
If the feds pass a law that a state deems to be outside the boundaries of its proper constitutional authority, the state will simple ignore the law and refuse to comply with it. This might sound revolutionary to some, but it shouldn’t. It’s already happened.
Krey cited a number of well-documented examples of state nullification which have already taken place, including actions related to the Firearms Freedom Act and the Real ID Act.
Maharrey described nullification as “Just say[ing] no.” He continued:
Nullification isn’t some mystical legal principle buried in cobweb-covered books. In fact, it is so simple, a toddler can do it. You can explain it in one word — No!
It’s a principle rooted in the Constitution and woven into the philosophical foundation of the United States. The Nullify Now! presentation makes the case for nullification in an entertaining and captivating way.
In relation to Agenda 21, the Tenth Amendment Center asserted:
Counting on the federal government to stop this international plan is nothing short of absurd. For the first time anywhere, learn about a plan to stop the anti-freedom Agenda 21 right on your own doorstep. Get model legislation to use in your area, plus action steps to take right now.
The nullification movement has gained a great deal of support in the past several years. A recent Rasmussen Report poll shows that a majority of Americans support the right of states to opt out of federal programs that are unconstitutional.