States Just Need to Say No

I’ve never attended Mardi Gras, but I have experienced the pirate-themed mega-party known as Gasparilla in Tampa. And I watched d a lot of people “breaking the law.”

I witnessed hundreds of revelers drinking alcohol from open containers. I bumped into countless publicly intoxicated partiers. I even saw women exposing their breasts in exchange for 10 cent plastic beads. And I could go on. There were much debauchery and “illegal” activity.

I also saw a lot of cops.

But I didn’t personally witness one arrest.

Mostly, cops just looked on as thousands of people flouted the law. In fact, many of the cops seemed somewhat amused by the antics.

Try engaging in any of the above activities in downtown Tampa on a normal Tuesday night, and you will quickly find yourself taking up residence at the Hillsborough County Jail.

Sure, police make some arrests and issue a few citations during Gasparilla – 11 arrests in 2019. Yes. You read that right. Eleven. Did I mention an estimated 300,000 people attended the event?

Fact — hundreds of thousands of revelers cram into downtown Tampa for Gasparilla, and huge numbers of those people break one or more laws with impunity. Simply put, the relatively small number of cops could never hope to control the masses and force compliance with the law. So they sat back and generally just tried to contain the mayhem.

This illustrates an important reality: as more and more people simply ignore a command, those trying to enforce it find it increasingly difficult to do so. It boils down to a simple matter of resources, manpower and scale. A few hundred cops cannot enforce their will on 300,000 people.

Herein lies the secret to our nullification strategy. States don’t have to actually do anything. They just have to stop helping the feds enforce federal laws or implement federal programs. The laws may remain on the books, but they become impossible to enforce. For all practical purposes, noncompliance renders them null, void and of no effect.

State and local non-compliance with federal acts, rules, regulations, and the implementation of federal programs, creates the same dynamic for federal agencies as Mardi Gras or Gasparilla does for local law enforcement. When enough states refuse to comply or cooperate with the enforcement of a federal act, D.C. finds it increasingly difficult to impose its will.

James Madison understood this dynamic. That’s why his blueprint to stop federal overreach in Federalist #46 was “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the union.” Madison said a single state refusing to cooperate would create “impediments.”

” And were the sentiments of several adjoining States happen to be in Union, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter. “

In fact, the federal government depends on state and local cooperation for virtually everything it does – from enforcing drug laws to implementing its many programs. During the run-up to the 2013 federal government shutdown, the National Governors Association sent a panicked letter to congressional leadership begging them to avoid the shutdown. In this email, the governors affirmed the feds need the states.

“States are partners with the federal government in implementing most federal programs. A lack of certainty at the federal level from a shutdown therefore translates directly into uncertainty and instability at the state level.” [Emphasis added]

Did you catch that?

Most federal programs.

That means states can refuse to serve as cooperative partners and shut down most federal programs.

There is great power in the word no. Cops can’t control Gasparilla partiers. And the feds can’t control states. State governments just need to stand up and assert their authority. They need to say no.

This article was adapted from an excerpt from Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty.

Michael Maharrey [send him email] is the Communications Director for the Tenth Amendment Center. He is from the original home of the Principles of ’98 – Kentucky and currently resides in northern Florida. See his blog archive here and his article archive here.He is the author of the book, Our Last Hope: Rediscovering the Lost Path to Liberty., and Constitution Owner’s Manual. You can visit his personal website at and like him on Facebook HERE

It’s Time for States to Start Nullifying Federal Law

As we all know, the last election was a “tipping point” election on many different levels. An election won with the use of illegal last-minute changes to state election laws has led to a rogue regime that threatens the very foundations of America. This is being achieved through highly questionable executive orders, the decimation of the concept of national sovereignty and an attack on fossil fuels, the lifeblood of our economy. Moreover, Biden is converting our military into a social justice agency and transforming our intelligence services into witch-hunters for conservatives who dared to protest a stolen election.

More alarming is the left’s goal to make its political power permanent by granting amnesty to 20-30 million illegal aliens, granting statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, expanding the Supreme Court, and normalizing the censorship of conservatives, not to mention the institutionalizing of election fraud, especially in key swing states.

There is little doubt, if history is our guide, that should the left achieve permanent political power, future elections will just become “show” elections, our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights will be diminished, if not gutted, and our economy will become permanently stagnant as with all other socialist economies in the world. It will be the beginning of the end of America as we know it.

Our Founders, however, were extremely wary of federal power and thus created a number of checks and balances to counter it. One of them was the ability by the states to “nullify” federal laws and even Supreme Court decisions. As most conservatives know, nullification is when a State decides to not abide by a federal law, regulation or even a Federal court ruling by simply refusing to enforce it. This concept is rooted in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which plainly states that if the states, who are the creators of the federal government, have not specifically given them authority, that authority rests with the states and the people of the state:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Over the last 150 years or so, liberal legislators and judges have violated the Tenth Amendment by illegally expanding the scope and power of the federal government. We know that Federal power is limited because such powers were actually “enumerated” or listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and include actions such as “To lay and collect taxes,” “coin money,” and “raise and support Armies.” The federal government was not given any role in education, health, welfare, transportation, energy, or even with maintaining secure borders. All those issues were left up to the states to decide. If our founders wanted to expand the federal government into every area of our life, they would not have specifically listed the very few powers they granted it.

Conservative constitutional scholars such as Thomas E. Woods, in his book, Nullification, How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century, documents that our Founders believed that if a “law is unconstitutional and therefore void and of no effect, it is up to the states, the parties to the federal compact, to declare it so and thus refuse to enforce it.”

The left will scream about such nullification efforts, but they have been engaged in nullifying federal laws for years. For example, all state laws legalizing marijuana are illegal since they’re in conflict with federal narcotic laws, but states have simply refused to
enforce these federal laws and so have “nullified” them. Likewise, states controlled by the left have allowed various cities and counties to become “sanctuaries” in which they refused to abide by federal immigration laws. And no, the Marines were not sent in nor did any state or city even suffer the loss of federal funding.

enforce these federal laws and so have “nullified” them. Likewise, states controlled by the left have allowed various cities and counties to become “sanctuaries” in which they refused to abide by federal immigration laws. And no, the Marines were not sent in nor did any state or city even suffer the loss of federal funding.

It is time our side use this tactic as a way of protecting our constitutional rights. Here are some of the issues that could be affected by the concept of nullification:

  1. Nullify all 1st Amendment Restrictions. States should refuse to enforce all federal edicts and Supreme Court rulings that impinge upon the 1st Amendment protections of our religious freedom, such as efforts by radical gays to force churches, faith based adopting agencies, religious schools, colleges, and businesses to carry out a radical gay and transexual agenda.
  2. Nullify all federal efforts to undermine the 2nd Amendment. States should nullify all federal laws that compromise the 2nd Amendment such as those being proposed by the Biden team.
  3. Nullify open border policies. With Biden announcing his intent to grant amnesty to all illegal aliens, combined with his hostility to border security, expect the border to get out of control. Already, migrant caravans are heading to the border. States should nullify such pro-open border policies and use their resources to stop illegal immigration. The reality is that states were originally involved in setting immigration policy and indeed, used to detain and deport illegals prior to the existence of a Border Patrol or ICE. The only mention in the constitution regarding immigration is “to establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.”
  4. Nullify the anti-police agenda. During the Obama regime, his DoJ hamstrung city police departments all over the country with phony “civil rights” investigations, resulting in cities hesitant to arrest or prosecute violent thugs. With anti-police activists surrounding Biden, his administration will do the same, thereby empowering leftist rioters in our cities. The founders never gave the federal government a law enforcement role as they thought this responsibility best be carried out by local police and sheriff departments. States should resist and ignore all federal anti-police regulations and DoJ harassment of local police departments.
  5. Nullify all federal efforts to preserve fraudulent voting procedures. Conservative states need to immediately take action on election fraud and pass comprehensive voter ID laws, which, of course, will be attacked by Biden’s DoJ as a “civil rights” violation. States also need to remove the estimated 2-3 million illegal aliens from its voting rolls. Indeed, a fact check site has documented that the millions of illegal aliens are currently voting and may have thrown the election to Biden. States need to stop disenfranchising its legal citizens and also purge from its voter rolls dead people, repeat registrations, and those who moved out of state.

Of course, states will be reluctant to invoke nullification but the alternative would be to watch our constitutional rights be trashed by leftists. The MAGA movement in the Red States needs to became active in urging legislators and governors to start reclaiming their constitutional powers and begin nullifying illegal Federal law.

Once states are engaged in nullifying federal laws, I believe we will witness what I call the “great migration” in which conservatives will leave blue states to live in red states and vice-versa. And yes, this could lead to a peaceful balkanization of America in which the Red states become redder and the Blue states become bluer, but this is not our fault. It is the left that is assaulting our constitutional rights and if conservatives desire to live in states that protect their rights, then so be it.

Already, we are seeing some movement in the states on the nullification front. The Arizona Senate passed a bill that declares it will not enforce federal gun control laws. Oklahoma, South Dakota and North Dakota legislators have all introduced legislation that nullifies Biden’s executive orders.

Nullification is simply returning America to its original system of governance in which most governmental authority is decentralized to the states and counties. The federal government can’t do much about it other than to cut federal funding for some state programs, but perhaps the time has come for states to do away with these federal handcuffs.

Steve Baldwin, America Thinker

Scottish Independence Referendum

American secessionists and states’ rights advocates are rightly disappointed by the outcome of the September 18 Scots Independence Referendum.  Given the decisiveness of the outcome, the result was probably never in doubt.  The Queen didn’t even have to break a sweat, in keeping with her lifelong abstinence from productive labor.  I’ll bet she’s never even broken a fingernail polishing the royal silverware.  But I digress. Continue reading