Anti-NSA Activists Discover a (Not So) New Weapon Against the Government: States’ Rights

You might’ve noticed that since the election of President Obama, there’s been a re-emergence of support for nullification. Briefly described, nullification is thought to be the right of the states to overrule federal laws, per the language of the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Put another way: states’ rights.

Its origins in the United States go all the way back to the founders and, of course, the issue of slavery. John C. Calhoun, the “Great Nullifier,” and other southerners embraced states’ rights, nullification and interposition (states declaring federal laws unconstitutional) as justifications for preserving slavery as the centerpiece of the pre-war South’s economy.

Following the Civil War, nullification became a core belief among pre- and post-Civil Rights Act segregationists and was the basis for the emergence of the modern conservative movement beginning in the 1950s. Martin Luther King Jr., in both his “I Have A Dream” speech and his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” negatively referenced nullification and interposition. And in the past few years these theories have been dusted off and re-booted for the purposes of opposing just about every Obama administration policy, law and executive order.

Enter Edward Snowden and the NSA story.

An outfit called OffNow has launched a campaign to use the Tenth Amendment, nullification and states’ rights to block NSA from doing what it’s tasked with doing, going so far as to provide model legislation which lawmakers can adapt to their individual states.

One bill in Washington state would not only ban contractors from working with NSA, but it would sever all communication between state agencies and NSA, including law enforcement. Furthermore, the law would shut off the electrical power and water supply to NSA’s facility in Yakima. Another bill would disallow evidence collected by NSA to be used in court. In all, nine states have similar laws in the works. (It’s worth noting that these laws have been floated by elected members of both parties.)

But what is this OffNow group? Well, first of all, I noticed ten corporate trackers on the front page of its site, including alleged PRISM collaborators Google and Facebook… [CONTINUED HERE]

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  • raina

    Guess who also believes in states rights? Tea Party! Extreme right meets extreme left. Different sides, same coin.