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Tenth Amendment Center corrects Maddow’s revisionist nullification history

The new socialist buzzword is ‘extremist’, a term statists use to label anyone who disagrees with the concept of Nanny rule as opposed to wise governance. The Tenth Amendment Center, an organization growing in influence among those who respect and understand the US Constitution, responds to Maddow’s revisionist history on nullification with a formal statement.
On Tuesday, MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow used the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War as an occasion to paint advocates of state sovereignty and the principle of nullification as racist “neo-confederates.”

“Nullification, which helped steer South Carolina into its militant, anti-U.S. stance – nullification is now enjoying a remarkable renaissance,” Maddow said.

In her rush to paint the nullification movement as the product of racist extremists, she leaves out some important history, such as the fact that northern states invoked the principle to oppose what they considered unconstitutional fugitive slave laws - laws that coerced northerners into acting as slave catchers and denied captured suspected slaves due process.

“Nullification is the avoidance of secession- it's not similar in concept at all. There is no rational reason to connect the two,” Tenth Amendment Center deputy director Bryce Shonka said. “Calhoun listed northern nullification of the Federal Fugitive Slave Act as one of the main reasons for Confederate secession. That’s a fact. Look it up.”

To reinforce her point, Maddow goes on to highlight a number of state nullification efforts – all centered in southern or western states.

“Your federal laws don’t apply here Yankees. United States-schmoonited states,” Maddow mocks. “Nullification is back.”

She leaves out efforts to nullify the federal health care law in Maine, New Hampshire and Minnesota. Or the TSA nullification bills pending in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Or the Tenth Amendment legislation filed in that Confederate hotbed of Michigan.

“Nullification is not a southern thing. It's not a brown or white thing. It's a protection against tyrannical federal rule - such as forcing northerners to return escaped slaves to the south, or saying that nobody anywhere can own a certain plant, or forcing 6-year-old girls to endure groping from a stranger in order to get on an airplane,” Shonnka said. “Nullification is, quite simply, a redistribution of power back to the people.”

Maddow spends several minutes speaking with a Princeton professor, advancing the idea that the election of an African American president serves as sort of a driving force behind the growing interest in nullification, but fails to interview anybody actually advocating the principle.

“Her sloppy handling of history is rivaled only by her performance as a journalist,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said. “She referenced the Tenth Amendment Center in her piece, but never made any effort to contact anybody at the organization. Our contact information is right there on the site. If she had bothered to talk to us, we would have been more than happy to provide her with a solid, scholarly alternative point of view. But a balanced, informative piece was apparently not part of her agenda.”

The Tenth Amendment Center exists to promote and advance a return to a proper balance of power between federal and State governments envisioned by our founders, prescribed by the Constitution and explicitly declared in the Tenth Amendment. A national think tank based in Los Angeles, the Tenth Amendment Center works to preserve and protect the principle of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism.

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[Source: Tenth Amendment Center; news release April 14, 2011]

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