Top Five Lies About Nullification

We hear them over, and over, and over again — the same, tired, worn out misconceptions or downright lies about nullification.

Historians, legal scholars and journalists all parrot these fallacies every time anybody proposes nullification. They use these misconceptions as a way to derail efforts to stop federal overreach and limit the power of the general government. Some of them sound plausible — especially if you were a product of government schools. But all of them are wrong.

Following are the top five lies about nullification and a brief overview of why they’re wrong.

1. The Supremacy Clause Prohibits Nullification

This probably ranks as the most common nullification objection. According to the naysayers, the Constitution’s supremacy clause makes every federal edict “the supreme law of the land.” As such, a state has no authority to challenge it in any way. This erroneous assertion ignores the most important words in the clause. Only the Constitution and laws “made in pursuance thereof” qualify as supreme. Any federal act not in pursuance of the Constitution is, as Alexander Hamilton put it, “void.”

One does not obey or enforce a “voided” act. In fact, James Madison asserted that a state is “duty bound” to “interpose” when the federal government attempts to operate outside of its constitutional bounds. The supremacy clause does not undermine nullification. It actually enforces it. To learn more, click HERE and HERE,

2. John C. Calhoun Invented Nullification

Virtually every mainstream article about nullification invokes the name “John C. Calhoun.” Most of them will assert that he came up with the idea for state nullification. This, of course, is meant to tie the principles of nullification to slavery, as the South Carolina senator was an unapologetic supporter of the institution.

It’s true that Calhoun was a central figure in the so-called “nullification crisis” in the early 1820s and 1830s. But this had nothing to do with slavery, and he did not come up with the idea of nullification.

In fact, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison first formalized the principles in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions two decades earlier in response to the passage of the Alien and Sedition

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