Filling in for Rush Limbaugh the other day, Walter Williams spent quite a bit of time advocating the principle of state nullification of unconstitutional federal laws.
The write-up at the Daily Caller, by Jeff Poor, includes this strange passage: “Nullification is a doctrine introduced in the infancy of the United States and was what some have suggested led to the Civil War. As far as the legal precedent of nullification and how it led to the Civil War, Williams said he doubted the repercussions would as serious as they were in 1861.”
It seems as if everyone writing on this topic, at least from left-liberal to neocon, feels compelled to include a statement like this. How did nullification lead to the Civil War? Were the southern states trying to nullify all those nonexistent anti-slavery laws? As I’ve explained elsewhere, South Carolina included its frustration with the North’s acts of nullification in the statement declaring and justifying its act of secession. But I doubt that’s what the author has in mind when he says nullification led to the Civil War.