Thursday, February 18, 2010
Dr. Thomas Woods spoke today on "Nullification and State Resistance to Federal Tyranny" at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Woods is the author most recently of Meldown; he also wrote Who Killed the Constitution?: The Federal Government vs. American Liberty from World War I to Barack Obama. (CPAC attracted a who's who of conservative political leaders and media personalities--everyone, it seems, from Dick Armey to George Will.)
Woods, a scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, gave two talks in 2005 outlining his case for "states' rights": States' Rights in Theory and Practice, and The States' Rights Tradition Nobody Knows (with a broken link on the Mises web-site). Woods starts with the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (declaring the federal Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional), Virginia's statement upon its ratification of the Constitution (reserving the right of the people to resume the powers granted to the federal government "whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression"), and early secessionist movements, among other historical evidence, to argue that the Constitution protects states' rights and, at the outside, permits nullification.
With recent attentionon the "tenther movement"--those who argue that federal policies overreach and violate the Tenth Amendment--and state nullification efforts (but see Sandy Levinson's recent piece in the Statesman) we thought we might add Woods's voice to the fodder for your classes on federalism and the Tenth Amendment.