Book Review: Nullification (2010)

How to resist federal tyranny in the 21st century
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

WoodsOne of the main points of view from my dear ol’ mom, before she left us, was: “We need to take power out of the hands of the federal government and put it back to the states and the people.” A lifelong teacher—and sadly a holdout for government action to provide basic education—she nonetheless saw the transfer of wealth and control of the system to the Leviathan of the federal government as the source of all its main problems. So, too, with virtually every public issue: crime, civil liberties, war, economics, urban deterioration, the whole enchilada.

Further, she was talking like this probably a decade before the modern Nullification movement came into prevalence. Mainly via the Tenth Amendment Center, and scholars such as Tom Woods. Woods, a fellow with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, has a number of books to his credit, including a treatise on how the Catholic Church built Western civilization (! sic). But I remember his incisive point and counterpoint in favor of Dr. Ron Paul during the 2012 presidential bid. Good stuff for sure. And I’m glad he’s on our side in this stellar movement to tell the federal government where it can stick its unconstitutional edicts.

From the description:

“Citizens across the country are fed up with the politicians in Washington telling us how to live our lives—and then sticking us with the bill. But what can we do? Actually, we can just say “no.” As New York Times bestselling author Thomas E. Woods, Jr., explains, “nullification” allows states to reject unconstitutional federal laws. For many tea partiers nationwide, nullification is rapidly becoming the only way to stop an over-reaching government drunk on power. From privacy to national healthcare, Woods shows how this growing and popular movement is sweeping across America and empowering states to take action against Obama’s socialist policies and big-government agenda.”

Woods does a great job explaining the roots of Nullification, what Jefferson himself called “the rightful remedy” … to federal acts lacking constitutional authority, especially those that violate the enumerated powers of the Tenth Amendment:

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.

Looks pretty simple, doesn’t it? If you actually read the Contract, the people’s user guide, the Constitution, you realize that the federal government has only a few quite definite and limited powers. In fact, I challenge anyone to read the Constitution and then find legal justification for virtually anything the federal government does today—from drug laws to Social Security to killing children in wedding parties with drones overseas. And don’t tell me about the so-called elastic or necessary and proper clauses: those, too, are strictly circumscribed in original meaning, absolutely NOT what establishment pols of both the dinosaur parties claim as a blank check for anything the government feels it needs to do.

Then what about executive orders? Presidential edicts that carry the force of law. How can these meet the enumerated powers clause of the Contract? At the federal level, it’s obvious that we’ve reverted to a Third World dictatorship. Well not quite. We still have the powers vested in the natural freedom of the people, in this context via the individual states to simply refuse to comply with Mob arbitrary fiat, that is to ‘nullify.’ In the advanced case, not yet often seen, the states interpose to arrest federal overreach.

For example in the Doreen Hendrickson case, here’s an appeal to state officials:


Attorney General Bill Schuette:

On April 9, 2015, after the second trial on the charge of criminal contempt (a hung jury in the first one), in August 2014, Judge Victoria Roberts of the Sixth District federal court sentenced Doreen Hendrickson to an incredible 18 months in federal prison for refusing Judge Nancy Edmunds’ order that Doreen must commit perjury on her sworn tax affidavits. In her defense, Doreen was not allowed to bring up the unlawfulness of Edmund’s order. In recent cases, the Sixth District court of appeals, as well as the US Supreme Court have ruled that it is a high crime for any federal official to compel persons to attest to beliefs or understandings they do not hold.

Thus, both Judge Roberts and Judge Edmunds have egregiously violated the Constitutionally protected natural rights of Doreen Hendrickson, and by extension all Michigan citizens. To carry out the sentence imposed by Judge Roberts amounts to an act of aggression by the federal court that you and your office must in good conscience and professional competence enjoin. Doreen, a peaceful, conscientious woman of high esteem in her community, was viciously characterized by Roberts as ‘dangerous.’ On the contrary, Judge Roberts is the clear and present danger to decent society, stating she would not allow Doreen time for appeal before physically requiring Doreen’s self-surrender in only 30 days—May 9.

Therefore, we the undersigned call for you to issue an immediate injunction against the forced surrender of Doreen Hendrickson before her appeal is heard, and further, to interpose on behalf of the Constitutional protections of all residents of Michigan by preventing federal enforcement personnel from carrying out any treasonous order of incarceration or expropriation against Doreen Hendrickson.

… all the signers and their standing

Now that’s interposition. You’re right, though, the chances of Schuette or the governor standing up for the constitutional rights of Michigan citizens are like me making beer money selling hot dogs and cotton candy to people taking a stroll on the lunar surface.

But Nullification is on a roll. Several states are refusing to comply—meaning refusing to supply state resources to federal infractions—on dozens of issues. The list keeps growing, and the states and people keep growing more determined, more resistant. The leading organization is The Tenth Amendment Center ( You certainly have active groups in most states. The mainstream dinosaur media are not covering Nullification, in fact, it scares the holy bejesus out of them. Find out what terrifies the power elite and its media lackeys: Woods makes the outstanding, ironclad case.

Another instance where mother knows best. 🙂

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