Libertarian Republic Editor Austin Petersen joined Thom Hartmann for a debate to discuss the new Texas gun laws passed. The laws restrict the Feds from forcing state law enforcement to uphold federal laws using local resources. Although Hartmann invoked the tenth amendment, nullification and states rights argument, the laws passed do not actually nullify federal laws at all. The Texas bills only require that local law enforcement not be used to enforce those laws. That is a power granted to every state. The Supreme Court ruled in Printz v. U.S. that a federal commandeering of state and local officers is unconstitutional. The federal government cannot force states to uphold their laws.
Nullification is commonly painted as an illegal tactic by the states to block the federal government from enforcing their laws within the states. However, that ignores the fact that the supremacy clause of the federal government is NOT in any way a blank check on government power. The supremacy clause of constitution only gives the federal government authority in the realm of issues related to the specifically delegated powers granted to it in the founding document. If the issue in question is not within the federal governments jurisdiction then the states do have a right to resist a federal overreach. In 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison articulated this with the proposal of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions. These were passed as a response to the Alien and Sedition acts which criminalized free speech and made political enemies into criminals. In 1854, the government of Wisconsin went even further with nullification by declaring the fugitive slave act to be unconstitutional.
So my question is, does anyone really believe that nullification is an immoral principle? I’ll let you decide after you watch the debate below