Nullification is a defense the state has against unconstitutional federal laws which would otherwise harm the citizens of that state. As Tom Woods, author of Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century states, “In the American system no government is sovereign, not the federal government and not the states. The peoples of the states are the sovereigns. It is they who apportion powers between themselves, their state governments, and the federal government. In doing so they are not impairing their sovereignty in any way. To the contrary, they are exercising it.” As such, the people of various states throughout our history have demonstrated the successful operations of Government through the nullification of Federal law. Connecticut did so by rejecting to participate in the War of 1812 (see the statement made by the Connecticut State Assembly in italics below), and South Carolina in 1832 nullified the harmful “Tariff of Abominations”. In 1809, all of the New England States officially nullified an embargo act which they viewed as “unjust, oppressive, and unconstitutional”.
[I]t must not be forgotten that the state of Connecticut is a FREE SOVEREIGN and INDEPENDENT State; that the United States are a confederated and not a consolidated Republic. The Governor of this State is under a high and solemn obligation, ‘to maintain the lawful rights and privileges thereof, as a sovereign, free and independent State,’ as he is ‘to support the Constitution of the United States,’ and the obligation to support the latter imposes an additional obligation to support the former. The building cannot stand, if the pillars upon which it rests, are impaired or destroyed.“
In addition, Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution expresses some of the same thoughts through utilizing the Tenth Amendment in explaining the general government’s powers – that any powers not expressly delegated to the U. S. government remain the province of the states or the people, and any exercise of those powers by the general government is void and can be struck down by the states on that basis.
As for our own Missouri Constitution, we read foremost that everything is subordinate to God, and that all political power is vested in the people (Article 1, Section 1). The people of Missouri are sovereign and have the power to abolish their form of government (Article 1, Section 3), and that anything affecting our individual liberties should be submitted to the conventions of the people (Article 1, Section 4).
To see how you can be involved in Missouri’s own educational efforts towards State Sovereignty and Nullification, visit “The Point” through the link below!