Sunday, October 19, 2014

The "supremacy clause" and nullification

The Utah legislature made an effort to nullify unconstitutional federal gun laws. But, the legislature lost its spine and neutered the bill. The Tucson Sentinal recently published a short article on the matter of state nullification of unconstitutional federal gun laws

Contrary to popular opinion, federal law (along with federal regulations, policies, and judicial opinions) is not the supreme law of the land simply because it was created by an entity of the central government. The supremacy clause says, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land...." (emphasis mine)

According to that clause, coupled with the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution, any federal law, regulation, policy, or judicial opinion which exceeds the authority specifically delegated to the central government by the states to the central government via the Constitution or which infringes any right guaranteed by the US Constitution is not "in pursuance" of the plain wording or the original intent of the Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional and must be nullified by the states and ignored by federal bureaucrats until Congress has the sense and integrity to repeal it.

Thomas Jefferson, among other distinguished Americans agree. His draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 first introduced the word "nullification" into American political life, and follow-up resolutions in 1799 employed Jefferson's formulation that " the rightful remedy" when the federal government reaches beyond its constitutional powers. In the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, James Madison said the states were "duty bound to resist" when the federal government violated the Constitution."

Unfortunately, federal court opinions (including opinions by the Supreme Court) erroneously establish the distorted doctrine that only they may be the final arbiters of what's Constitutional. That, in effect, establishes the federal courts as the supreme law of the land -- not the Constitution!

I ardently support the Utah Legislature and Governor in voiding all federal laws which violate the US Constitution. It is an essential part of their job.

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