Evidently the acting Attorney General believes, correctly, that the states have the power to nullify unconstitutional federal laws.
So the usual suspects went berserk, and trotted out the usual nonsense arguments.
I’m especially entertained when law professors speak against state nullification. Why, they didn’t learn this in law school! Which is why, as Kevin Gutzman says, one should never confuse legal training with an education.
What law school students learn are a series of cases, and implicitly the nationalist theory of the Union. The compact theory, developed in detail by the Jeffersonians and which makes far more sense of the historical record, is simply ignored.
Also ignored are the ratifying conventions, which is where James Madison told us the meaning of the Constitution was to be found. John Marshall, in nearly 35 years as Chief Justice, did not cite the ratifying conventions even once.
But there we find assurances that the federal government will have only the powers “expressly delegated” to it, and at the all-important Richmond ratification convention we read that Virginia will be “exonerated” if the federal government should reach beyond the delegated powers.
No wonder the so-called progressives prefer to ignore them.
The fact-free, comic-book version of history we get from the anti-nullification mainstream media and legal profession includes claims like:
— This idea was “discredited by the Civil War.” (As Bob Murphy says, this is like saying the claims of the Plains Indians were “discredited” by the U.S. Army.)
— The “Supremacy Clause” invalidates nullification — as if Jefferson hadn’t heard of the Supremacy Clause. (I’ll smash this one on the podcast.)
— Nullification was used by the southern states to defend slavery — even though (1) there were…