Sunday, February 20, 2011

Montana House of Representatives Votes For Nullification

I consider this whole idea of nullification one of those well-intentioned but ultimately futile efforts.  The courts did not buy it when some states denied the validity of the Sedition Act, when states tried to nullify a higher tariff, when states tried to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act, or to nullify Brown v. Board of Education (1954).  February 19, 2011 NECN reports on what happened:

Republicans running the Montana House used their big majority Saturday to endorse nullification of the federal Endangered Species Act in Montana with a 61-39 vote — even though dispatching with the act would cost Montana roughly $1 billion in federal funds that comes with strings attached.

Schweitzer, a Democrat, quickly warned the lawmakers he doesn't like their idea — even though just days earlier he encouraged ranchers in northern Montana to shoot wolves that harass their livestock and defiantly said state agents may kill packs of endangered wolves.
Hmmm.  He doesn't like the idea of nullification but he seems to be encouraging outright disobedience (without even a pretend of a legal basis) to federal law on this.


  1. The point isn't what the courts will buy.

    The point is that people are coming to the limit of what they will buy.

  2. It's not clear to me from the article, but it sounds like portions of the ESA aren't truly mandatory on the states, but are required in order to receive money. (Kind of like the 55 mph speed limit.) If this is truly the case, then it's not really nullification, any more than when Montana repealed the 55 mph speed limit early.