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June 11 , 2010

Union and States' Rights

150 Years After Sumter, A Legal History of Interposition, Nullification, and Secession


Edited by Neil H. Cogan, who is a well-versed legal scholar of constitutional law, civil rights, and civil and criminal procedures, this volume is a collection of papers on a central issue of governance in the United States; namely, what is the power of the States to object to and cancel Federal law with which they disagree. For eighty-one years, from the ratification of the Constitution to the end of the Civil War, this issue of State power was the central issue of governance. Chapters address the history and legal arguments for three assertions of such State power: interposition, nullification, and secession. Scholars approach the assertions from the perspective of the "original understanding" of the Union; the antebellum arguments against the assertion of Federal power and in favor of concerted action; and contemporary viewpoints. Although both interposition and nullification were disruptive to the concept of union, the act of secession was an almost fatal assertion of State power against the Union. Now, 150 years after South Carolina’s secession from the Union, it is appropriate to reconsider the arguments made for interposition, nullification, and secession. Currently In several states, nullification measures are before the legislatures. During the recent Texas Gubernatorial campaign, secession was discussed by two of the major candidates. The Tea Party Movement is reflective of a broader movement to limit Federal intervention in State matters. The publication of this collection provides an intelligent voice to the national debate.
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