“But nullification isn’t listed in the Constitution!”
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“But nullification isn’t listed in the Constitution!”

October 13, 2019

Nullification isn’t specifically listed in the Constitution. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Every once in awhile, someone tells us, “The Constitution doesn’t say anything about nullification. That means states simply can’t do it.” But they’ve got things totally backwards. It’s true that the federal government has limited powers and is only authorized to do the things delegated to it in the Constitution. As James Madison put it in Federalist #45, “the powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” If a power isn’t delegated, the federal government simply is not authorized to do it. On the other hand, states have reserved powers. As Madison put it, “Those [powers] which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” Of course, states don’t have unlimited power either. Their individual constitutions limit what they can and cannot do. But when it comes to the U.S. Constitution there are very few limits on state authority. So, what does the Constitution prohibit the states from doing? Well, you can find most of those restrictions in Article 1 Section 10. Along with these, there are a few others scattered throughout the document. You’ll notice it’s not a very long list. And it does not include nullification.

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  1. Abolish, repeal or change. This is a partial list.
    1. commerce clause
    2. necessary and proper clause
    3. general welfare clause
    4. footnote four
    5. government schools
    6. Tariffs
    7. Federal Reserve
    8. FDIC
    9. IRS
    10. 16th Amendment
    11. 17th Amendment
    12. War Powers Resolution
    13. public sector unions
    14. antitrust laws
    15. Social Security
    16. Medicaid
    17. Medicare
    18. student loans
    19. Community Reinvestment Act
    20. war on mind-altering substances
    21. IMF
    22. World Bank
    23. NLRB
    24. NLRA
    25. HUD
    26. FHA
    27. FDA
    28. EPA
    29. FCC
    30. Certificate of Need
    31. Ethanol Mandate
    32. National Flood Insurance Program
    33. Insider Trading Laws
    34. Professional Licensing
    35. Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws
    36. Transportation Security Administration
    37. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
    38. minimum wage
    39. Sugar Program
    40. Agriculture Adjustment Act (AAA)
    41. Obamacare
    42. National Defense Authorization Act

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