Forrest McDonald "Federalism and States' Rights"


Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Aug 17, 2011
Birmingham, Alabama
McDonald – Federalism and States' Rights | The Philadelphia Society

An person recognized as an expert on States Rights, but read him very carefully. I am a nationalists so don't preach to the choir. Evidence will be nice, much better than rethorical raspberrys.
This is before some modern after this article very political SCOTUS decisions so I am not so sure McDonald would be so enthuastic about SCOTUS.

I am going to do selective quoting. You all have the complete article to look at and rebut as needed.

First up--Why are States Rights discredited? 2 Reasons Civil Rights and Slavery.

Not long afterward, the idea of states' rights was to become all but defunct, in no small measure as a result of the activities of its most ardent supporters. In 1954 the Supreme Court rendered its decision in Brown v. Board of Education. States' rights theorists sprang up throughout the South to write law review articles and books, sometimes reasonable and sometimes hysterical, denouncing the Court for misinterpreting the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause and for disregarding the history of the adoption of the amendment. Officials dodged court orders by closing public schools, and private white academies proliferated. As of the school year 1957-1958, fewer than seven hundred of the three thousand white public schools in the southern and border states had allowed any blacks to be admitted. In 1964, a decade after the Brown decision, fewer than two percent of black children in the Deep South were attending integrated schools. Gradually, however, by the end of the seventies, integration was practically completed, though vast numbers of white parents moved out of certain school districts to avoid racial mixing and the number of private schools increased.​
The South had discredited states' rights once again, as it had done by invoking the idea in defense of slavery, and along the way the Supreme Court regained an enormous fund of moral capital in the rest of the country, which it used to undermine the authority of the states still further. In a succession of cases it ordered legislatures to reapportion their seats in accordance with the principle of "one person one vote"; declared prayer in public schools to be unconstitutional; discovered previously nonexistent rights of criminals by applying the doctrine of incorporation; declared that capital punishment was "cruel and unusual" and violated the Seventh Amendment; declared unconstitutional state laws prohibiting abortions; and sanctioned reverse racial discrimination by upholding "affirmative action" laws. These decisions were reached with minimal regard for the language of the Constitution, and Justice William Brennan proclaimed loudly that the Court was not bound by the letter of the Constitution.​

For some reason McDonald forgets to mention a nullification attempt as great if not greater than the one in South Carolina, that being the Northern States Freedom laws. It took no less than 2 SCOTUS laws to squash that making the SC nullification small beer.

Meanwhile, the original, compact-among-peoples understanding was not entirely forgotten, but it was rarely invoked because its implications were radical. New England raised the issue in 1805 and again in 1814, amid talk of and as a justification for secession. It arose anew during the nullification controversy. Late in 1832 the governor of South Carolina called a special session of the legislature, which in turn passed a law calling for a popularly elected state convention. As the Constitution had been ratified by popularly elected conventions, the state was now turning to such a convention as the ultimate source of sovereignty. The convention met and adopted ordinances declaring the tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 null and void, forbidding appeal to the Supreme Court in cases arising from the ordinance, and asserting that the state would have just cause for seceding from the Union if the national government should attempt to use force to collect the tariff.​
IMHO first principals = Social Compact/Contract and natural law.
The outcome of the confrontation was indecisive, but it pointed the way for the South's "return to first principles" in the winter of 1860-61: each of the eleven seceding states left the Union in the way the original thirteen states had entered it, by means of conventions elected by the people for the purpose. Disagreements based upon "returns to first principles," as the Founders well understood, could be resolved only by what John Locke called "an appeal to heaven," meaning upon the field of battle. Heaven decided against secession, and that was that.
Last edited:

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Similar threads

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)