Walter E. Williams

Perry is right when he says that there is no reason for Texas to secede. There are indeed intermediate actions short of secession that states can take. Thomas Jefferson said, "Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."

That suggests that one response to federal encroachment is for state governments to declare federal laws that have no constitutional authority null and void and refuse to enforce them.

While the U.S. Constitution does not provide a specific provision for nullification, the case for nullification is found in the nature of compacts and agreements. Our Constitution represents a compact between the states and the federal government. As with any compact, one party does not have a monopoly over its interpretation, nor can one party change it without the consent of the other. Additionally, no one has a moral obligation to obey unconstitutional laws. That's not to say there is not a compelling case for obedience of unconstitutional laws. That compelling case is the brute force of the federal government to coerce obedience, possibly going as far as using its military might to lay waste to a disobedient state and its peoples.

Finally, here's my secession question for you. Some Americans accept and have respect for the Tenth Amendment, which reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Other Americans, the majority I fear, say to hell with the Tenth Amendment limits on the federal government. Which is a more peaceful solution: one group of Americans seeking to impose their vision on others or simply parting company?


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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