Santorum on Nullification

From the campaign trail (via ABC):

Earlier in the event, Santorum was asked if believes states have the right to nullify a law they believe to be unconstitutional under the 10th amendment.

“We had a war about nullification. There was a war about nullification. The Civil War was about nullification, and I’m not sure I want to go there,” Santorum said. “If the state doesn’t like what the federal government is doing and they believe it’s unconstitutional, they can go to a federal court and they can take it up in a federal court. There is a process by which states can litigate.”

Despite not wanting “to go there” he gave a reasonable response.

What I find interesting about the question is that even after said war (not to mention a century of politics that makes the answer quite clear) it is remarkable that the question a) gets asked and b) would cause a politician to hesitate in responding to it.  Moreover, there appears to be a small, but real, minority of the populace who would not like Santorum’s answer.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. APL says:

    Not enough people really understand the Constitution! Most have not read it, and they don not teach in schools any more. The Congress and the Presidency violate the Constitution all the time! They don’t follow the the Law on States Rights or Personal Rights at all. The Justice Department dose not follow the Laws either. But that’s because WE The People do not
    demand it. I believe we need to go back to the original proposition that the congress is
    made up of citizen representatives and not professional politicians. We need Term Limits
    on everyone even all the federal courts. Now I know that this will not happen, as most people today are Sheep. They believe all the political promises and don,’t really want to be Responsible
    for themselves. I follow the old adage, “Don’t believe anything you heard, and only half
    of what you see”. Wake Up America, and see where we are really heading!!!

  2. Franklin says:

    @APL: I can’t believe you didn’t use the word ‘sheeple’ instead. It fits into the rest of your derp.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    I’m just surprised he didn’t put in a plug for “Dr. Ron Paul” in there. They litter the internets….

  4. Rob Baker says:

    Can you really call it a minority when several states are attempting to nullify federal legislation on differing issues such as Marijuana, Health Care, Interstate Commerce, and National Guard deployments?

  5. Steven Donegal says:

    I’m curious what law Santorum thinks South Carolina was nullifying in the Civil War. Maybe the tariff? The Civil War wasn’t about nullification; it was about the continuation of slavery in the territories. Poor Abe. To think what these idiots have done with his party.

  6. Michael says:

    The Civil War wasn’t about nullification

    Nullification is a natural precursor to civil war, so it’s not entirely unfounded to say that we fought a war because of it.

  7. Rob Baker says:

    @Michael:

    “Nullification is a natural precursor to civil war, so it’s not entirely unfounded to say that we fought a war because of it. ”

    It isn’t really a precursor in the sense that it resembled the war before the war. Nullification came only in regards to port states that saw tariffs as an issue. Violence drawn out of slavery such as Bleeding Kansas is a precursor. This is because of the numerous examples of conflict and compromises that took place .

  8. @Steven Donegal:
    Quite so. Nullification arose under Jackson’s term and Old Hickory – a Southerner, remember – stomped on it so hard it never arose again.

    See Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullification_Crisis

  9. peter says:

    When asked this kind of nonsense, a candidate should simply answer:
    “There is no such thing as “nullification” in the Constitution and the civil war was about slavery nothing else “.