For philosophical guidance, many proponents look to Jefferson’s words 211 years ago in which he fought against the expansion of federal power during an undeclared naval war against France.
In 1799, Jefferson wrote in the Kentucky Resolutions that “nullification … is the rightful remedy.” Jefferson created the doctrine to express his disgust with the Alien and Sedition Acts that were enacted by then-President John Adams during the war with France.
Idaho Republican Sen. Monty Pearce said the then-future president’s words underpin nullification advocates’ chief contention: States never relinquished final say over federal matters.
“He was at the Constitutional Convention,” Pearce said. “He understood how this whole thing was going to be set up.”
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