Eric Cantor wants to cut other federal spending to justify financial assistance to tornado victims in Missouri.
Idaho Alabama, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming are all talking about the idea of using the principle of “nullification” to hold up implementation of President Obama’s health-care reform initiative. Nullification is the theory that any U.S. State can reject any federal laws they individually view as illegitimate. It stems from Thomas Jefferson’s view that the states have the final say in constitutional matters and not the federal governemnt. Jefferson fashioned the principle of nullification to express his disgust with the Alien and Sedition Acts enacted by then-President John Adams which made it illegal to criticize the president.
What many Americans fail to realize, including the politicians invoking Jefferson’s analysis of the constitutionality of nullification, is that Jefferson, who was a founding father, was actually not one of the framers of the U.S. Constitution. In actuality, Jefferson is not a valid source on constitutional matters as Jefferson was far away, in France, when the framers met in 1787 to replace the Articles of Confederation. The concept of nullification, while noble in sentiment, is wholly unconstitutional as the U.S. Constitution, unlike the Articles of Confederation, considers federal laws higher than laws of the individual states.
However, the U.S. Constitution can be changed. With all the recent anti-government sentiment and renewed “state’s rights” vigor among segments of the population, should an individual U.S. State be granted the right to nullify laws of the U.S. Congress? What would be the possible consequences of allowing states the option to decide which federal laws were acceptable?