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So what’s the great Constitutional scholar up to now? Advocating nullification of parts of the Constitution by states that disagree with federal laws.
This regresses the nation back by nearly a half-century to the days of the Southern Manifesto, a racist document designed to allow states to avoid integration and civil rights. Nullification has also been used to fight slavery but I find it odd that a strict Constitutional advocate would push for support of only those parts of the document that fit with his philosophies.
Those who support nullification point to the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution to support their claim that states have the right to “nullify” laws. Constitutional law professors say otherwise.
Edward Lazarus, a lawyer, teacher of Constitutional law and columnist for FindLaw, writes:
At Best, Invoking Nullifcation Is Simply Grandstanding; At Worst, It Is a Troubling Sign of Turmoil and Discontent in the Face of a Frightening Recession
It is hard to know what to make of the fact that a bunch of opportunistic politicians are now holding out a tarnished artifact of constitutional history as a serious interpretation of the Constitution and of our national structure. Perhaps this can be written off as mere grandstanding – symbolic gestures by politicians who are hoping to tap into a potential backlash against the inevitable growth of the federal government as it comes to grips with our economic crisis.
But nullification is a deeply pernicious idea. It strikes at the core of the constitutional bargain that was struck after the Revolution when the Articles of Confederation failed – the working principle that we are all in this together and that the purpose of the federal government, a government in which every state is represented, is to calibrate the shared sacrifices that all of us will have to bear to preserve the country’s economic vitality and help it prosper. In place of this unifying idea, nullification substitutes the easy way out – by making the claim that we must all be allowed to judge our own contribution and take our own path, no matter how much our cross-purposes and divergent interests might undermine the common good.
Ron Paul, who is not a Constitutional expert, sees things differently.
This is the same Ron Paul whose newsletters once published racist rants under his name — although he claims now he didn’t write or approve the columns that ran with his by-line — and whose freshman Senator son said during last year’s campaign that businesses that serve the public — like restaurants — should be able to ignore the law and refuse to serve minorities.
In a speech to a homeschooling rally, Paul told the faithful that “in principal, nullification is proper and moral and constitutional.”
The chances of us getting things changed around soon through the legislative process is not all the good. And that is why I am a strong endorser of the nullification movement, that states like this should just nullify these laws. And in principle, nullification is proper and moral and constitutional, which I believe it is, there is no reason in the world why this country can’t look at the process of, say, not only should we not belong to the United Nations, the United Nations comes down hard on us, telling us what we should do to our families and family values, education and medical care and gun rights and environmentalism. Let’s nullify what the UN tries to tell us to do as well.
In other words, if regressives like Paul can’t get their way in Congress — and he seldom does — just ignore parts of constitution and returns to the days of the Old South when Alabama and other states thought slavery and repression was still legal in this nation.
This is typical for Paul, who has never strayed far philosophies of the past. And the comments of his son suggest Rand learned well from his dad’s out-of-sync philosophies.
“If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be,” said a column which appeared under Paul’s name in 1992.
“Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the `criminal justice system,’ I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal,” said another column published under his name that same year.
This is why Ron Paul remains on the fringe with the vast majority of Americans. Despite lofty visions of his small — but vocal — army of supporters, he received just one-half of one percent of the vote as the Libertarian candidate for President in 1988 and trailed far behind the four remaining contenders for the GOP nomination for President when he finally gave up the ghost in 2008.
When he suspended his run for President, Paul diverted the $4.7 million raised from donation by the faithful to the Campaign for Liberty, one of Libertarian-leaning advocacy groups. This is also a familiar pattern for Paul. Ran a national Presidential campaign to raise money and then use the money for something else. While technically legal it does, in my view, raise questions about his honesty and true intentions.
Trying to find ways around the constitution is why George W. Bush left office as one of the most unpopular President in history. Paul vilifies the “establishment” politicians of other parties, but his advocacy of the nullification movement suggests he is just as hypocritical as the rest.
(Updated on April 1, 2011 to add some information and edit some existing content.)