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This view of the Constitution has been rejected by the federal courts, which consistently have held that under the Constitution, the states do not have the power to nullify federal laws. The courts have rejected the compact theory, finding that the Constitution was not a contract among the states. Rather, the Constitution was established directly by the people, as stated in the preamble: "We the people of the United States. . . ."Under the Supremacy Clause of Article VI, the Constitution and federal laws adopted in pursuance thereof are the "supreme law of the land . . . any thing in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." Federal laws therefore cannot be negated by the states. Rather, federal laws are valid and are supreme, so long as those laws were adopted in pursuance of—that is, consistent with—the Constitution. Determining whether a federal law is consistent with the Constitution requires interpretation of the law, which is inherently a judicial function. The federal judicial power granted by Article III of the Constitution gives the federal courts authority over all cases "arising under this Constitution [or] the laws of the United States." The federal courts therefore have the power to determine whether federal laws are constitutional, with the Supreme Court having final authority.
Thus, the federal courts have held that under the Constitution, federal law is controlling over state law, and the final power to declare federal laws unconstitutional has been delegated to the federal courts. The states therefore do not have the power to nullify federal law.
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