The states’ power to protect their citizens against encroachment by the federal government has been documented and practiced since the founding of the country.
The Federalist Papers were written as a series of newspaper postings by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton to get the states to ratify the Constitution. Postings such as Federalist #41, #45, #78 (4)(5)(6), made clear the balance of powers between the federal and state governments.
When the state ratification conventions elected to adopt the Constitution, it was with the assurance that the states retained the power to determine if the federal government exceeded its authority. This is well documented in the various articles of ratification.
The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions were drafted by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to explicitly recognize the state’s powers when the federal government violated the 1st Amendment with the Alien and Sedition Acts In order to protect the rights of slaves that had arrived in northern “free” states, numerous northern states adopted language to nullify the Fugitive Slave Laws.
States have used this power to push back against countless federal measures that violated the Constitution. These included such diverse areas as free speech, drafting of minors, unequal tariffs, and unconstitutional search and seizures.
And in modern times….
California has rejected the Supreme Court’s decision on the state’s right to regulate medical marijuana. Since the Court’s decision, 6 other states have adopted medical marijuana laws.
Two dozen states nullified the REAL ID Act of 2005, the federal government’s attempt to nationalize identification.
Many states have passed firearms freedom acts to bar the federal government from regulating guns manufactured, purchased, and used in one state.
Several states have passed healthcare freedom acts to reject “ObamaCare”.
Several states are considering legislation that would limit the TSA’s powers to perform inappropriate searches.
Whether you agree with these individual policies or not, the history books are full of examples of how the states have fulfilled their constitutional role of balancing the federal government. This initiative simply reinforces what already exists.