Nullification: The Shame of Missouri

White supremacists and slave owners invented the doctrine of nullification — the idea that the States possess the right to defy federal law where a State has concluded that the law in question was unconstitutional. Most Americans, I am sure, were confident that this idea died a well-deserved death at the time of the Civil War.

Regrettably, this is not the case. It seems that just days ago, on February 20, the Republican-controlled State Senate of Missouri revived that odious doctrine by passing a bill known as the “Second Amendment Preservation Act.” People who believe in the rule of law and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution must speak out to denounce this dangerous gambit.

Let us consider the legislation in question. It declares support for an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. It goes on to “make it a misdemeanor for federal officers to enforce federal gun-control measures within Missouri’s borders if those measures are found to violate Missourians’ right to ‘keep and bear arms.‘” In other words, it makes state legislators and state police the interpreters and enforcers of federal constitutional law and subjects federal officials to arrest at the whim of Second Amendment absolutists.

Read the rest of this blog post at my HuffPo column here.

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