View Poll Results: Is state nullification constitutional?

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Thread: Is state nullification constitutional?

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    Is state nullification constitutional?

    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.
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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    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.
    Last edited by Ray410; 06-21-13 at 04:10 PM.

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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

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

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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    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.
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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    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.
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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    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.
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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    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.
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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

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

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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    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.
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    Re: Is state nullification constitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anagram View Post
    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.
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