Just as we begin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginnings of the Civil War over the next year, we now see a movement promoted by Congressional Republicans, including future House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, to propose a constitutional amendment that would allow states to overrule any act of Congress, effectively nullification of federal law! 🙁
This battle was fought by Andrew Jackson in the Nullification Crisis of 1832-1833, when he threatened John C. Calhoun and South Carolina with federal military intervention if that state refused to obey the federal tariff law.
It was also being threatened by Zachary Taylor if any state attempted secession during the debate over the Compromise of 1850.
It was also the reaction of Abraham Lincoln when the Southern states seceded from the Union and seized American military property and bases in 1860-1861.
These were three Presidents of different parties, all from Southern slave states of birth, who were ready to uphold the federal government’s authority over the states, and actually led to Lincoln’s actions against the Confederacy during the Civil War.
But now, a century a a half after this issue was supposed to have been resolved by the Northern victory, there is a push on to allow just that–states refusing to obey the federal laws and Constitution and claiming the right to do so! 🙁
If the legislatures of two thirds of the states–34–voted for such a repeal of a federal law, it would not be in effect. So far, 12 states have supported such an amendment being introduced.
Of course, two thirds of the House of Representatives and two thirds of the Senate would have to agree to such an amendment, which is hard to imagine, as it would limit their own power and authority.
Additionally, 38 states, three fourths, would have to ratify such an amendment, and that also seems extremely unlikely, as there are more than 12 states which certainly, in a political sense, would oppose such a concept.
While one cannot be sure of the exact dynamics of which states would be opposed to such an amendment, were it to make it through the House of Representatives and Senate, the likelihood would be that the following states would NOT support such an amendment: Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Washington, Oregon, and Hawaii.
Thirteen of these seventeen states would be enough to stop such an amendment, and realize that there are other states that might also oppose it, including Maine, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico, which would bring the total to a potential 25.
And also realize, in other states that might be seen as supporting such an amendment, all that would be needed to defeat it is a one vote margin of defeat in one of the two houses of the state legislature.
Another consideration is that such an amendment would allow small states with small populations to have equal influence on such nullification, despite having, in many cases, tiny population totals as compared to large states, so even large states which might be motivated to support such an amendment would not be pleased that small states would have an inequitable influence on repeal of federal laws.
So basically, this is all demagoguery, and a sign that many people do not understand their own Constitution, and the concept that ONLY the national government can speak for the nation through the tortorous process of passing laws through our Congress, and that the state legislatures, many of them incompetent and corrupt on a far greater level than our Congress, have no ability or competence or justification to interfere with what is good for the nation at large,whether they like it or not!