The choice of words can be used to frame a point of view and currently supporters and opponents alike generally use the term states' rights as opposed to states' sovereignty.
At the time of the writing of the Constitution, rights were considered natural rights; something that we have and are inalienable. In other words, rights were not endowed by a law or government, rather they were self-evident. Today, however, what is looked upon as a right is something that is given to us through the government or by law. So, by today's definition, states' rights are derived from the federal government. This flies in the face of what the writers and ratifiers of the Constitution had in mind, otherwise, what is the point of the Tenth Amendment?
Considering that the Constitution was a compact between the several states to create a federal government and the states were sovereign prior to the Constitution; as stated in the Articles of Confederation; Article II, where, in the ratification process, did they give up their sovereignty?
When discussing an issue like nullification, we need to prove that the states are superior to the federal government and that the federal government derives it's power from the states. Otherwise we just look like we are asking for the federal government's permission.
Words have meaning and we need to be sure to use the correct ones if we want to get our point across. Our republic is far too important to lose over a matter of semantics.
Chris Walsh, San Tan Valley