There’s More Than One Way to Nullify

There’s More Than One Way to Nullify

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reservoir-dogs-mexican-standoff2There is a lot of chest thumping going on across America and people are demanding that one particular federal “law” or regulation or another be stopped by physical force.

Is that the right course of action in every situation? Is that the only path? Or, is there another way, a less confrontational answer to the constant barrage of new and more expansive usurpation of power by a federal government seemingly bent on violating every part of the Constitution.

Thomas Jefferson referred to state-level resistance to federal acts as “nullification.” But he could just as easily have called it civil disobedience or non-compliance. A nullification of a federal act can take on all kinds of different forms. It often requires an entire puzzle – and each piece of that puzzle plays an important part. There’s education, outreach, non-compliance, and more. But nullification doesn’t always require a physical interposition by local agents – standing between you and the federal government.

And while it sure gets the testosterone boiling, an O.K. Corral-style standoff is not required, and is almost never effective. In fact, modern times shows us that the most effective nullification efforts have no such standoffs. They’ve relied almost solely on peaceful non-compliance.

Consider the state-level resistance to the 2005 Real ID act. Over the past five years, we’ve learned that a federal law can be effectively held at bay or even pushed back through non-compliance alone. There are 18 states defying Washington DC’s unconstitutional war

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