JBS Bulletin: October 2022

Abolish Unconstitutional Government

Nullify Unconstitutional Federal Spending

by Peter Rykowski, Research Associate and Bulletin Editor

Nullification is the proper method for states and localities to stop usurpations by the federal government. Unlike an Article V convention — which seeks to change the Constitution and could lead to radical changes that increase federal power — nullification enforces the Constitution, which already enshrines a federal government with limited powers.

One of the most common arguments against nullification is that it is helpless to rein in the federal government’s reckless spending. However, this argument is false. States can use nullification to stop unconstitutional federal spending, just as they can use it to stop other usurpations.

There are at least two specific ways states can do this. One is by enacting a “State Sovereignty and Federal Tax Funds Act,” also called an “escrow” law. Under it, federal tax money is first sent to the state; the state then calculates the percentage of constitutional federal spending and sends only that percentage of the funds to the federal government. This law would make a significant impact, considering that an estimated 80 percent of federal spending is unconstitutional.

State legislators are often reluctant to nullify unconstitutional federal laws, as they fear losing federal funding in retaliation. However, an “escrow” bill is one of the strongest responses to this threat; it would put heavy pressure on the federal government to cut its reckless spending while also financially protecting the states from federal pushback.

Another way states can rein in unconstitutional federal spending is to nullify the Federal Reserve and its monopoly on currency, which themselves are unconstitutional. The central bank’s ability to create money has encouraged Congress to spend recklessly. Among other methods, states can do this by enforcing the Constitution’s Gold and Silver Clause (Article I, Section 10).

For more information about these solutions, please read the online TNA article “Nullification: How States Can Rein In Federal Spending” at

Knowing how states can use nullification to rein in federal spending, please take action in the following ways:

  • Contact your state legislators and urge them to pass an “escrow” law and nullify the Federal Reserve. You can easily do this using our legislative alert at
  • Inform your state legislators and fellow citizens by sharing the online TNA article “Nullification: How States Can Rein In Federal Spending,” at
  • Have your chapter organize a “legislative day” to further inform your state legislators about nullification and how it can be used to rein in federal spending. Among other JBS/TNA materials, distribute to them our new pamphlet “Nullification: The Founders’ Solution to Federal Overreach.”