The ACLU’s Double Standard

Kentucky and Virginia sparked a constitutional crisis in 1798 when they insisted that states have the right to nullify federal laws they find to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court in 1809 finally decided against nullification, which since then has been rejected repeatedly. In the 20th century, for example, as southern states in defiance of Brown v. Board of Education attempted to avoid integration, the Supreme Court again ruled that states could not nullify federal laws.

Ever resilient, the nullification movement has found new life in the 21st century, as various interest groups have attempted to overturn federal laws at the state level. Most people either support nullification or oppose it, but the American Civil Liberties Union has taken an impressive stance on the issue. It supports and opposes the practice, depending on whether nullification happens to serve their agenda.

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