State Nullification of Federal Action

An important way to seek constitutional compliance is to organize widespread civil refusal to comply with unlawful official actions. A precedent for this was the 1783 Pennsylvania Council of Censors, discussed by James Madison in Federalist #48. The objective is to avoid having to launch separate legislation for every usurpation, but to provide a process by which resistance may be mobilized quickly as usurpations occur. The items below concern doing this at the state level for federal actions.

  • HTML Version or Menu Proposal for a Federal Action Review Commissiohttp://pynthan.orgn (Nullification Commission). Latest version.
    1. Word Version Draft bill proposing amendment to Texas Constitution for establishment of a state grand jury for the review of the constitutionality of the actions of United States government officials and agents, and to authorize state grand juries to investigate public administration.. 2011/09/20.
  • Remote HTML Version State Nullification of Federal Action. External site for this topic.
  • HTML Version or Menu FAQ on the FARC — Frequently asked questions on the Federal Action Review Commission proposal.
  • Court decisions
    1. Remote PDF Version Florida v. U.S. Dept. Health and Human Services, Case No.: 3:10-cv-91-RV/EMT. Summary judgment of District Judge Roger Vinson, 1/31/11.
    2. Remote PDF Version Virginia v. Sibelius, Case No.: 3:10-cv-188-HEH. Memorandum Opinion of District Judge Henry E. Hudson, 12/13/10.
  • HTML Version or Menu Tom Woods on Nullification Proposal of Jon Roland. From his book, Nullification.
  • Remote HTML Version Tom Woods. His site. Alternate.
  • Word Version Flyer #1 on Nullification Proposal of Jon Roland. 2010/11/21.
  • Word Version Flyer #2 on Nullification Proposal of Jon Roland. 2010/09/02.
  • Vimeo album Vimeo videos on nullification. Presentations on the subject.
  • Vimeo album So you want to nullify violations of the Constitufederalism. There is a Ning group to support ittion. Animated YouTube video.
  • Vimeo album Interview with a Zombie. YouTube videos from Tom Woods.
  • Blogger article Flaws in other nullification legislation. Blog article on opposing legislation and litigation, 2010/04/26.
    • Blogger article Flawed Texas Health Freedom Act. Blog article on one attempt at nullification in Texas, 2010/11/19.
    • Blogger article Flawed Texas HB 297. Blog article on one attempt at nullification in Texas, 2010/11/21.
    • Blogger article Flawed Texas HB 1937. Blog article on one attempt at nullification in Texas, 2010/03/19.
    • Blogger article Flaws in Tennessee Nullification Bills. Blog article on two bills in Tennessee, 2011/02/24.
  • HTML Version PDF Version or Menu Word Version Blogger article Nullification is a serious option, by Jon Roland. Op-ed published on webpage of Austin American Statesman, Feb. 8, 2010.
  • Blogger article Cautions for "nullification" proponents. Blog article, including copies of some email exchanges, 2010/01.
  • Blogger article No state prosecutions of fed agents. Blog article, 2013/02.
  • Blogger article Obstacles to holding federal agents accountable. Blog article, 2013/02.
  •     The crisis: or, Essays on the usurpations of the federal government, Robert James Turnbull, Brutus (pseud.) (1827) — Discusses the misconstructions of the Constitution by the Supreme Court and Congress from a Jeffersonian standpoint, and develops the concept of state-level nullification.
  • HTML Version Text Version Council of Censors, Lewis Hamilton Header (1899). Pennsylvania constitutional review commission 1783-84.
  • Remote HTML Version History of the Vermont Council of Censors. Vermont had an elected constitutional review commission 1777-1870.
  • HTML Version or Menu Federalist No. 46, James Madison (1787) — On how to use nullification to enforce compliance with the constitution:
    Should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union, the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassment created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, very serious impediments; and were the sentiments of several adjoining States happen to be in Union, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.
  •   Notes on Nullification, James Madison, December 1834, ed. Gaillard Hunt

Advocacy groups

Many if not most of the proposals from these groups are unsound, but at least they are trying.

  • Remote HTML Version Nullification: It's Official. Tenth Amendment Center blog. Proposals need work.
  • Remote HTML Version United States Patriots Union. Have their own proposals, that also need work.

Related topics

  • HTML Version or Menu Word Version Draft Amendments to U.S. Constitution — A few amendments that might help return constitutional construction to original understanding.
  • HTML Version or Menu Word Version Declaration of Nonauthority — A finding that officials are not in compliance with the Constitution and acting without authority.
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Jon Roland of the Constitution Society
Original date: 2010/1/16 — 

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