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Friday, January 3, 2014

The Nullification Alternative

Friday, 03 January 2014
Written by  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.

The right of states to nullify unconstitutional federal laws was until recently almost unknown to today's generation of Americans. 

But that has been changing in recent years, as growing numbers become aware that under the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states retain the power to stop federal unconstitutional encroachments — from ObamaCare to gun control — at the state border.

Much of the awareness has been created through liberty-minded alternative media and organizations. But more and more the nullification issue is being reported by the mainstream media — and sometimes favorably.

On December 27 the Washington Times published in its "Communities" section an important opinion piece by Michael Lotfi that makes the case for using nullification to fight back against federal usurpations. But the author, who is the Tennessee associate director of the Tenth Amendment Center, does much more than that in his article. He also refutes the proposal “for an Article V constitutional convention of the states as salvation.” That proposal is now being promoted by celebrity “conservative” Mark Levin, among others.

Lotfi begins his article by acknowledging Levin's influence in conservative politics:
Mark Levin has one of the top-rated syndicated talk radio shows in the country. No one can deny that the lawyer and New York Times bestselling author commands major clout in conservative politics.
However, should this clout serve as a warrant for millions of Americans to blindly follow him?

Indeed, it should not. Levin, after all, is notorious among many segments of the conservative spectrum for his assertion that the president of the United States has power to “make war.” If he is wrong regarding the power to declare war — which under the U.S. Constitution is a congressional power — could he  also be wrong regarding his trumpeting of a constitutional convention? Lotfi does not make this particular point in his article, but he does make very clear that Levin is wrong regarding the con-con issue. “Not only is an Article V constitutional convention not the right answer, it is the bullet to a loaded revolver pointed at the Constitution,” Lotfi writes.

Of course, Levin is not the only celebrity “conservative” leading the con-con charge. Others include Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and most recently, Glenn Beck.

For his part, Beck is a recent convert to the claque of “conservatives” clamoring for a con-con. He seems to be a true believer, though, going so far as to “bury the hatchet” with Levin and make a joint video praising the Compact for America (CFA) and other pro-Article V efforts.
On his website, Beck offers his fans “some additional reading materials so [they] can learn more about” the Article V movement. One of documents provided by Beck is by Indiana State Senator David Long.

This writer faced Senator Long during testimony I gave before the Indiana State Senate committee he chairs. Sadly for citizens of the Hoosier State and for his new promoter, Glenn Beck, Long doesn’t understand nullification, and he works consistently to keep his state from exercising its constitutional and moral obligation to hold as null, void, and of no legal effect any unconstitutional act of the federal government.

The particular provision of the Constitution relied on by the con-con proponents is Article V. In relevant part, Article V states:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.

One of the “evils” Levin and his cohorts claim would be eliminated by an Article V con-con is the runaway federal spending spree. In fact, Nick Dranias (one of the heads of the CFA) and others have pushed for a con-con that would be empowered specifically and exclusively to consider a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA).

Before state legislatures vote for an Article V con-con proposal that could cause real and radical damage to our Constitution, they should first consider whether a balanced budget amendment is necessary and whether it would actually steer our Republic away from the fiscal problems we are facing. 

The fact is that determined citizens and state legislators could rescue the United States from its financial peril without resorting to opening up the Constitution to tinkering by state-appointed delegates, many of whom would likely be bought and paid for by powerful lobbyists and special interest groups… FINISH READING =>