A Talk to Action Anthology on Nullification and Secession
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 06:14:07 PM EST
Over the past few months a number of posts have addressed the growing movement advocating the nullification of federal laws and even secession of states from the union. Below is an anthology, in chronological order, of our coverage so far.  I will update it from time-to-time. -- FC
Ron Paul Curriculum Launched by Reconstructionist Gary North and Neo-Confederate Thomas Woods
by Rachel Tabachnick   April 9, 2013

Thomas E. Woods, Jr. and the Neo-Confederate Catholic Right
by Frank Cocozzelli   May 1, 2013

Why Nullification Matters
by Frank Cocozzelli   May 12, 2013

Refuting Nullification, Part One
by Frank Cocozzelli   May 19, 2013

Refuting Nullification, Part Two
by Frank Cocozzelli   June 1, 2013

Thomas E. Woods, Jr. And the Right to Oppress
by Frank Cocozzelli   June 17, 2013

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Just what I needed and just in time.

I was in a multi-day online argument recently with someone who didn't think the Bill of Rights applied to the states and didn't think the 14th amendment should have been applied to it. I guess he wanted to junk the Bill of Rights at the state level so that the states could have their little theocracies. IMO, there is no such thing as a right to violate rights, whether by the Feds or  any government whatever. These articles look like a more radical version of what my opponent was saying.

by Mel M on Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:56:22 PM EST

The Bill of Rights is applied to the States THROUGH the Fourteenth Amendment, stating  certain basic rights for all, no matter what state in which you reside .  Prior to the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Bill of Rights did not apply to the States and only bound the Federal government.  (For example, prior to the 1830s, well before the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, there were, quite legitimately under existing law, STATE established churches.)

There are two things about this that I think are critical: 1)  State established churches were not invalidated by law, but by the fact that views towards other faiths became more tolerant due to explosion of denominations and types of worship during the Second Great Awakening; and 2) the Bill of Rights does not prevent the States from establishing GREATER protections under State Constitutions.    

by John Minehan on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:41:31 PM EST

And the First Amendment is not the only lens through which we should view the matter of the rights of conscience, or religious freedom.

The federal Constitution made no mention of God, churches or religion, except to state that there shall be no religious test for public office in the U.S.  This was a principle that is clear as a Liberty Bell:  If there is no religious test for public office, that too means that there can be no religious test for citizenship and the right to vote. This was understandably upsetting for those who believed in the need for established churches or at least a recognized public role for religion. The lack of a mention of God and the barring of religious tests for office was perhaps the greatest source of opposition to ratification when it was debated in the state legislatures, as Cornell historians Kramnick and Moore wrote in their book The Godless Constitution.  

It is also true that a deal was made in which the Jeffersonians, including Jefferson himself, agreed to support ratification if there would be a later amendment to further clarify the matter.  He did, and Madison later provided us with the First Amendment.

And while it is true that it took time for the basic principles of the rights of conscience to take hold in the culture and to bring the state constitutions and laws into conformity with the federal constitution, eventually they did. But everyone at the time knew that it was not just about the First Amendment. And anyone today who does not know or get that, is missing an important part of the story.

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:41:02 PM EST

"IMO, there is no such thing as a right to violate rights, whether by the Feds or  any government whatever."

This is supported by the Ninth Amendment and Tenth Amendment:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The States are free to state more rights than the Bill of Rights enshrines but cannot reduce the basic rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

by John Minehan on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:50:20 PM EST

You have flooded this site with a large number of comments, even posting your own diary and then adding five comments to your own diary.  I think you are confused about where you are and the purposes of this site.  In any case, you do not get to join this site for the sole purpose flooding the zone with dense, repetitive defenses of Thomas Woods.    

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:23:27 PM EST

And let's also note that Woods fails to link back to Frank's piece at Daily Kos, which appeared first here at Talk to Action.  This suggests to me that Woods lacks confidence in his work -- and from what I have seen, he has good reason to be concerned.  

by Frederick Clarkson on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:28:49 PM EST

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