Keely N. Kight

Publication Date


Document Type



American federalism, a system of dual sovereignty between the national government and state governments, is a "tale as old as time." Inherent in the dual sovereignty system is the issue that has been a point of great debate since the very inception of the United States of America: Which powers should the national government have and which should belong to the states? Indeed, "[e]lections have been won and lost," "a Civil War fought," and, most recently, the federal government shut down over this timeless question. With the exponential expansion of the federal government and sharp political disunion over health care, gun rights, marijuana use, and the right to privacy, among a plethora of other issues, states' rights proponents claim there is no time like the present for states to challenge the federal government's control on issues purportedly within the states' domain. ...

This Comment will explore the modern revival of nullification with particular focus on criminal law. It will first discuss historical examples of nullification, as well as the development of federal criminal jurisdiction, which set the stage for nullification issues today. Finally, this Comment will examine nullification measures with respect to firearms and marijuana, assess the federal government's response to these measures, and gauge the future direction of nullification in America.

Included in

Criminal Law Commons