Use Nullification — Not a Con-Con — to Rein in Government
by Peter Rykowski, Research Associate and Bulletin Editor
In most states, legislative sessions are winding down or have already ended. However, this does not mean we can take a break from educating and influencing our legislators — in fact, off-session periods can be the best times to do this, as legislators aren’t as busy with legislative matters.
Accordingly, please double down on educating your legislators on nullification. If your state legislators are conservative-minded, they will be looking for an effective solution to counter federal-government overreach.
Unfortunately, Convention of States (COS) and other proponents of an Article V convention are promoting their scheme to legislators and pressuring them to pass applications calling for a convention. Portrayed by COS as a solution to all our nation’s problems, a convention actually would result in radical changes that expand and entrench excessive government.
By educating your legislators about nullification, not only will you inform them about an effective solution to federal overreach, but you will also deflate the Con-Con balloon. An Article V convention comes with serious and inherent risks that nullification does not have. Plus, nullification can be achieved quickly in only a single state, rather than having to wait years or even decades for 34 states to apply for a convention.
Contact your state legislators and urge them to boldly nullify all unconstitutional federal actions. Just this year, several bills have been introduced in state legislatures that could serve as excellent models for any state to follow — show these bills to your legislators. You can find them and others at https://gojt.us/kf11.
In Alabama, for example, H.B. 530 was introduced. If enacted, it would have created a Joint Legislative Committee on the Nullification of Federal Laws tasked with reviewing the constitutionality of every new “federal law, regulation, and executive order,” in addition to existing ones. If found unconstitutional, the federal action in question “shall not be enforced in [Alabama] until it is approved by the Legislature.”
Similar bills, H.B. 2588 and S.B. 2686, were introduced in Tennessee. These bills would have created a formal process of nullification whereby the state’s General Assembly could pass a joint resolution “finding that a federal law, rule, or executive order is unconstitutional under the Constitution of the United States.” If the governor and attorney general agree that the federal action violates the Constitution, it would be unenforceable in Tennessee.
Urge your legislators to enact legislation similar to, or even stronger than, these.
When speaking to your legislators — or to your fellow citizens — use and distribute the following materials: “Rein In Big Government With Article VI, Not V” slim jim, “Nullification: What States Can Do” slim jim, “Nullification: What State Legislatures Are Doing” reprint, and The Founders’ Brilliant Solution to Big Government: Article VI booklet.
In the coming months, there will be many opportunities to contact and educate your legislators. Let’s get active!