NASHVILLE, January 6, 2014 – New York Times best-selling author and lawyer Mark Levin is on a crusade against nullification, the idea that the states can and must refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws. A recent opinion piece explores Levin’s repudiation of nullification, and of those who support it.
However, is it possible that Levin could unwittingly be the poster boy for nullification?
Levin recently went on the defensive after being corrected about his misguided interpretation of James Madison’s views on nullification. Countless historians, judges, pundits, lawyers and legislators have been quick to correct Levin on this.
Among those who support nullification are New York Times best-selling author Professor Thomas E. Woods, as well as Professor Kevin Gutzman, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Walter Williams (whom Levin claims to highly respect) and Glenn Beck.
Some of these men have even challenged Levin to debate this topic and others concerning constitutional delegation of power.
However, Levin never responds.
Hundreds of state legislators from all over the country have heard the voices of forty-four percent of Americans that now support nullification and have introduced bills in their states to block unconstitutional federal laws. Even as this was written, a drone nullification bill was moved forward in the New Jersey State Legislature.
However popular the renaissance of nullification has become, Levin relentlessly refers to those above who support it as “neo-confederates, fringe, idiotic and crazy.” Are forty-four percent of Americans, including Judge Napolitano and Walter Williams, neo-confederate, fringe idiots?
Certainly these people are not what Levin claims they are. After all, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson referred to nullification as, “the rightful remedy” to a federal usurpation of undelegated powers.
Professor Gutzman, whose scholarly journal, “A Troublesome Legacy: James Madison and ‘The Principles of ‘98’” on nullification has been cited by countless historians, including Pulitzer Prize-winning and critically acclaimed historian Daniel Howe proves that Levin lacks a critical understanding of where James Madison and Thomas Jefferson stood on nullification, as illustrated in this CSPAN clip.
The two Founding Fathers did indeed support the nullification of unconstitutional federal laws by the hand of the State, as evidenced by James Madison’s Report of 1800 and Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution.
Those who support nullification are not “neo-confederates, fringe, idiotic and crazy,” as Levin refers to them.
In fact, Levin himself supports nullification. He just didn’t know it until after writing his book titled, “The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic.”
It has been said that amending the Constitution lacks sound judgment. Why? Because the federal government doesn’t listen to the Constitution we have now. Levin argues that his amendments are “structural” and therefore they cannot be ignored.
Today’s Constitution is innately structural. However, the Supreme Court of the United States has perverted the structure to a meaningless existence. Levin has a great book on this, “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America.”
In a recent interview with CSPAN, Levin provides a solution to the possibility of his new amendments being ignored by the federal government. Nullification.
That’s right. Levin says that if Congress, the President and the Supreme Court ignore the new amendments, then “the states need not comply.”
One of Levin’s amendments proposes that the states would be given the power to override federal statutes by a majority vote in two-thirds of the state legislatures.
However, what if the federal government continues to implement the statute and ignores the new constitutional override the states have acted in pursuance to?
Levin responds directly to the historically warranted possibility that the federal government will not listen to the override. Levin says, “The states will decide what the states comply with.” He continues, “So, if three-fifths of the states overturn a federal statute, and Obama wants to continue to implement the federal statute, then he’s violating the Constitution, and the states need not comply.”
The states need not comply? Exactly—the states need not comply. Levin is 100% correct. When the federal government has assumed powers that it has not been delegated, the states need not comply.
Levin continues, “So, if you’re going to have a President and a Congress that is so lawless that they blatantly violate something of that sort, then there’s no reason that the states have to adhere to what the President or the Congress are doing.”
Is this not the federal government that we have today? Is this not the very reason Levin wrote his book — because Congress is so lawless that they blatantly violate the Constitution?
Where does Levin cite the power of the states to not comply when the federal government has ignored his new amendments? He doesn’t. Levin, therefore, must assume that this power of nullification already inherently belongs to the states. He’s right. It does.
So, the question is, if Levin supports nullification after spending decades trying to ratify amendments, which he openly admits may fail, then why doesn’t he support it before his amendments are ratified?
The thesis remains the same whether the amendments are his own or those of our Founders. That thesis being: we do not have a defective Constitution. We have a lawless, disobedient government, whose unconstitutional usurpations of powers must be nullified by the states.
Levin himself suggests this much.
Perhaps Levin can bury the hatchet, quit the name calling and join the likes of Professor Thomas E. Woods, Professor Kevin Gutzman, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Walter Williams, and the millions of Americans who support nullification, as he himself clearly does.
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