What is Nullification? A good introduction to this concept is done by Tom Woods in the below video.
Alright, was is Nullification? If someone tells me to do something, and someone in higher authority tells me to do something else, that higher authority has just nullified the previous authorities command. The U.S. Government operates the same way, though this power that the State’s wield has not been used since the War Between the States.
Let me explain. The United States was formed by delegates representing the “several states” and given a limited set of powers, and these powers were enumerated (written out) by these said delegates at the Constitutional Convention after the Revolutionary War. When the Central Government does something, the States are supposed to look into that action and ensure that it is constitutional. If it isn’t, they have a duty to nullify, or ignore and refuse to comply, with the demand of the Central State.
Thus, if the said Central State violates the rights of the States, those States are duty bound to resist the Central State and put it back in its place. An example of this was when President John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions were written in response by the States of Virginia and Kentucky, nullifying the Acts, which were unconstitutional.
As the Federal, or Central, Government continues to infringe and take away the power of the States, these States are now turning to nullification to protect themselves, as they were always meant to do. The view of the Founders was that whatever wasn’t written in the U.S. Constitution would be unconstitutional for them to do, and since the States gave the Central Government the powers it did, it must enforce them, and ensure that the said Central Government does not overstep the limits placed on it.