Nullification is not about state's rights or slavery, but about the fundamental principles of the American republic, said J.J. Summerell, chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina. The Libertarian Party is one of the sponsors of the Nullify Now conference scheduled for the Raleigh Convention Center Oct. 19.
The Tenth Amendment Center has been hosting events around the country to educate and activate people on the topic of Nullification since September 2012. Thomas E. Woods, Jr., an historian and best-selling author of the book “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century,” will give the keynote speech the event.
“Libertarians believe the American system of government is founded on three basic and fundamental principles,” Summerell said. These principles are: that the states formed the federal government, not the other way around; that the people are sovereign, not the states, nor the federal government, and; that all government power is granted only by the “consent of the people.”
“Since the people are sovereign, whenever the federal government exercises a power of dubious constitutionality on a matter of great importance, the people have the right to correct the situation,” he said.
Summerell said that asking federal courts, federal bureaucrats or even federal elected officials to curtail or limit their power is useless.
“They have proven repeatedly that if they can get away with it, they will do it.” he said. “Presidents and members of Congress from both major political parties have demonstrated over and over again that they are derelict in their duty to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.'”
He also noted that the electoral process is so constrained and restricted as to effectively shut out dissenting voices.
“When federal elected officials fail to uphold the oath of office, and when federal courts are complicit in these usurpations of power, the 'rightful remedy' of the people is to act individually, and through their state governments, to render such unconstitutional actions 'null and void,'” he said.
Summerell said that since the American system is founded on the premise that the people must consent to all law, nullification is a “peaceful and lawful process.”
“Nullification is, in effect, a peaceful and lawful process by which the people, and the states, can withdraw their consent, thus rendering an unconstitutional act of the federal government void simply by failing to obey or enforce it,” Summerell explained.
“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.” (Libertarian Party Platform)
The basic premise of libertarianism is that all people have the right to exercise sole dominion over their lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose.
Summerell said that is why libertarians believe the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of the people.
He noted that the national party platform echos the sentiments of the Declaration of Independence when it asserts: “Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of individual liberty, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to agree to such new governance as to them shall seem most likely to protect their liberty.”
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power.