September 2, 2014

Nullification and Secession? Juries can nullify Obamacare and the Drug War with much less drama

TAMPA, December 2, 2012 – For libertarians, the reemergence of ideas like secession and state nullification couldn’t be more welcome. Both are attempts to resist the exercise of arbitrary power, which is power never delegated to the party attempting to exercise it. They should remain the last resort for free people to resist tyranny.

The problem with both remedies is that they provoke confrontation with the federal government. That doesn’t mean they aren’t legitimate tools, but they play into the government’s hands. The government loves war and domination. State nullification and secession give the government the opportunity to employ both.

Using the state government to resist unconstitutional federal laws pits one government against another. Ultimately, it can lead to an armed confrontation between state and federal agents, each attempting to enforce their respective laws. For peaceful freedom lovers, it’s an away game.

Secession brings with it even higher stakes. Although secession is not rebellion, as the seceding state is not attempting to overthrow the existing government, the federal government will say it is. History has taught us that enough people will believe it that the government can justify a war. Like nullification, it’s also an away game.

Jury nullification gives us the home court advantage. There is no enemy that the government can fight its war against. There is no opportunity for violence because none of the government’s edicts are technically violated. Its own rules call for “a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”

Fine. The trial was held. The defendant was acquitted. Go pound sand.

History supports this argument. When South Carolina’s state government nullified the Tariff of Abominations in the 1830’s, Democratic President Andrew Jackson threatened to invade the state. When the southern states peacefully seceded in the 1860’s, Republican President Abraham Lincoln did invade.

The results have been different for jury nullification. If you’re drinking a beer or enjoying a glass of wine while reading this article, you’re safe from government goons breaking down your door to a large extent because of widespread jury nullification of Prohibition during the 1920’s.

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Comments

  1. William says:

    Really, are you sure? I am betting there is a lot more agreement going the other direction because our direction is to what?

    What happens when we Nullify? We get a big red prize?

    How about if a State secedes (sure sounds soothing) But what then?

    Will this reduce crime? Will it reduce Federal Government? Will liberty be born after its loss some 50 years ago?
    Will we rid ourselves of the present Oligarchy?

    Look at all that agreement in this picture, now show me the picture you have with all the agreement nullifying these laws?

    How many times will we repeat history? Not by results those are totally apparent, I mean by all this writing most do? For us in the movement how many times do we need to be reminded about what the Boston Jury did in 1851? What about a jury in Dec 2012?

    Truth moment; seeing is believing and the repeating of history over and over and over is over, can we please move to today?

  2. Jeannie says:

    I agree less drama would be very good and I’m all for less drama; however, I have to take exception to your statement:

    The answer? Nothing. “There is nothing the judge…….can do if the jury acquits.”

    Judges can and do set aside jury verdicts and a federal appeals declared California’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. Justice Roberts made Obamacare a tax and ruled it constitutional. Trusting a judge can be as lethal as trusting the government.