We have been discussing Article 5 Convention versus nullification as the means of fixing/reclaiming our country. We have seen in part 1 of this discussion that an Article 5 Convention claims to be a ‘fix’ by the same political class–of both political parties–that got us into this mess. We contend that a ‘fix’ will not be sufficient and will ultimately not work. We suggest that ‘reclamation’ by nullification is the better, and equally constitutional, course of action.
In part 2 we looked briefly at some of the history of past efforts to nullify Federal legislation. Here we will take a deeper dive into the issue.
In order to properly understand how this should work, let’s first take a look into the source of governmental power under our system of government—the Declaration of Independence and the codification of its tenets in the Constitution.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…’ (emphasis added)
This clause from the Declaration of Independence is a very good definition of individual sovereignty. (Don’t get all nervous. We categorically reject the ‘sovereign citizen’ faction that leads to anarchism) As sovereigns, we delegated certain limited authority to our respective States with the intent of securing our individual rights. In turn, the States delegated to the Federal government, under the Constitution, certain limited authorities respecting mostly ‘external affairs’, meaning those issues concerning the interactions among the several states and foreign relationships.
Notice we did not surrender our individual sovereignty. In the context of nullification, if we as citizens, and by extension States, give ‘consent’, then the corollary must also be true—that we will withhold consent, individually as well as collectively, when the general government exceeds these ‘just powers’.
So what has this to do with nullification?
‘An unconstitutional law is no law at all’, as a legal doctrine, can be traced all the way back to Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v Madison (1803) and Thomas Jefferson, who wrote
‘…whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers….a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy…
The list below is some of the articles you can access for more in depth discussions than we can present here and highly recommend them to you.
As you read these and perhaps others you may find, keep in mind the pertinent Constitutional clauses we have mentioned in previous postings:
Article 6, Section 2
Amendment 9
Amendment 10

Why Nullification? Three Arguments

Nullification: An Early Argument

James Madison did not Reject Nullification

James Madison: Four Steps to Stop Federal Programs

Understanding Madison’s Notes on Nullification

No, James Madison did not Reject Nullification
We further recommend, during this and future election seasons, that two very important questions must be put to our prospective State legislators:
What is the meaning of LIBERTY?
What will you do to nullify unconstitutional Federal activity?
Bud Garner