Writing in Federalist #46, James Madison provided a 4-step strategy to bring down federal programs, whether they’re merely unpopular, or unconstitutional.
Here’s what he had to say in the letter, The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared:
“Should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union, the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassment created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, very serious impediments; and were the sentiments of several adjoining States happen to be in Union, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”
In short, Madison said that when the federal government passes an unconstitutional measure there are powerful methods to oppose it – amongst the people and in the states. He also pointed out that those same methods were available even for warrantable, that is constitutional, measures.
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