Letter: Would Jackson Approve?

In regard to your April 4, 2013 article, I agree with Jackson, and I presume you as well, when you quote him saying "(a government) would cease to be a government and unworthy of the name if it had not the power to enforce the execution of its own laws…." I gather your use of the quote is to apply its thrust to the attempts of state legislators Sens. Niceley and Campfield and State Rep. Hill to nullify some recently proposed and some recently passed federal legislation that may soon be enforced on Tennessee's citizens. The federal legislative efforts at issue to the above state legislators have to do with the Second Amendment and the right of the individual citizen to be the sole executor of his own and his household's health care choices.

Your article makes clear that nullification was unconstitutional in 1832 and that it remains so today and that because our Lt. Governor and some state legislators say it is constitutional does not make it so. Your provision of logical argument and expert input convinces me of the unconstitutionality of nullification. Your scholarly workmanship and your fine writing in the article are praiseworthy, but I am left wondering if you would make the same scholarly effort to support and defend all the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens. Conversely, I ask you to put your skills toward convincing me of the federal government's constitutional authority to deny its citizens their Second Amendment rights or the right to make their own health care choices.

Jackson may be unable to call a government a government if it can't enforce its own laws, but could he be able to imagine a government of the United States to be capable of threatening its citizens with laws that infringe upon some of their most essential rights? Could any of the other U.S. patriots of old? I venture that neither Jackson nor any other you mentioned who opposed nullification could be supportive of the current federal legislation being opposed by Campfield, Niceley, and Hill. While the patriots of 180 years ago would likely be opposed to the legality of the mentioned state legislators' methods, I can't imagine those patriots would be opposed to Campfield, Nicely, and Hill's concepts and ideals of individual freedoms and, in particular, of the citizens' rights to keep and bear arms and dictate their own health care.

Andrew L. Smith

Knoxville