The Supreme Court and Nullification

Proposition 8 hearing on the right to appeal ruling in court.

Proposition 8 hearing on the right to appeal ruling in court. | Image source: The Examiner

I understand that you’re not too familiar with the concept of nullification. It is the theory that the Supreme Court can essentially invalidate federal laws deemed unconstitutional. And now, it may be looming on the horizon in the U.S.

It’s never really been validated nor confirmed by the federal court, but many are reviewing it and may be in place in the near future. In Missouri itself, legislators have passed a bill that would play a key role in nullifying federal gun laws.

The history of nullification goes way before the Civil War, when the debate on slavery was ongoing. Some Republicans assert that some states can basically ignore federal laws and practice their right to practice what is contrary to Supreme Court rulings.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee argued that the role of the Supreme Court is to review laws and interpret them as they see fit, and nothing more. It is up to legislators to enforce laws in certain states—considering that it is approved by the executive branch of the government.

He also stated that a ruling from a higher court generally voids existing bans on certain laws, deeming them as unconstitutional. As such, the laws stated may be nullified based on that notion alone. However, though a proponent of the freedom to oppose certain rulings, Huckabee still believes that national laws should remain, and that the country ought to be bound by such.

Now, understand that without nullification coming from the Supreme Court, people may get even more confused with regards to the laws in various states. Some states may reject a certain ruling, another might accept it. On one hand, a predominantly conservative state may not agree with certain Supreme Court decrees. On the other, those with a more liberal orientation may laud this centralized system.

I won’t pretend that I know so much on the concept of nullification, but it does make me wonder. How about you? What do you think?

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