As the Times reports:
Gov. Mike Rounds of South Dakota, a Republican, signed a bill into law on Friday declaring that the federal regulation of firearms is invalid if a weapon is made and used in South Dakota.The Times is quick to point out that they don't yet know whether to call this "a movement, a backlash or political theater." And at any rate, "[s]ome legal scholars" think this is a case of "more smoke than fire." But whatever it is, the Times concludes, "for lawmakers, just taking a stand can be important enough."
On Thursday, Wyoming’s governor, Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, signed a similar bill for that state. The same day, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives approved a resolution that Oklahomans should be able to vote on a state constitutional amendment allowing them to opt out of the federal health care overhaul.
In Utah, lawmakers embraced states’ rights with a vengeance in the final days of the legislative session last week. One measure said Congress and the federal government could not carry out health care reform, not in Utah anyway, without approval of the Legislature. Another bill declared state authority to take federal lands under the eminent domain process. A resolution asserted the “inviolable sovereignty of the State of Utah under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.”
None of this is surprising, in light of a recent CNN poll revealing that "[a] majority of Americans think the federal government poses a threat to rights of Americans."
Something tells me the Democrat-controlled Congress, Obama "The Great", Pelosi, et al, could truly care less what the pesky American people think about anything - especially since they persist in their attempt to shoehorn an unpopular healthcare bill through a heavily divided Congress. All of this, of course, so The Messiah can appear to be an effective leader, as opposed to the second rate, Carteresque, one-term President he seems destined to become (in my humble opinion).
With their large majorities in both chambers of Congress, and a supposedly transcendent, "above the fray" President, one would think a bill this obviously superior to even the Constitution itself would have flown through the legislature to be signed by the Nobel-For-Nothing, Saint-In-Waiting Obama. At the very least, one would think it wouldn't take over a year to accomplish, thus relegating Year One of The Great One's Presidency to a complete waste of time and resources in pursuit of an obsession divorced from the dire economic realities facing the country.
But hey, as Rahm said, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste."
Well, it turns out that The Messiah is such a good leader that not only does he have to bribe, cajole, and threaten members of his own party to grant him his healthcare obsession, but it has to be accomplished through constitutionally questionable means.
In fact, Congress may be "poised to use an arcane parliamentary process to get it done." Under the procedure, dubbed the "Slaughter Solution," "a Senate-passed health bill would be 'deemed' to have passed if House members voted in favor of a rule governing a separate bill with amendments to it."
Now that's what I call "leadership." So much for the transparency we were promised during the campaign. Oh well, we just don't know what's good for us.
Anyway, getting back to the Times article, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find that the article quotes Thomas E. Woods Jr., a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. For the journalistic home of that hyper-Keynesian Paul Krugman to cite anyone associated with the Austrian perspective is a truly evolutionary intellectual leap that should be commended. So Kudos, Times.
Yet when I first read the following passage, I was ready to pounce on the implication that the Supremacy Clause would invalidate any state law that conflicted with a federal law, seemingly ignoring the fact that federal power under the Constitution is limited to only those powers enumerated in Article I, Section 8:
Article 6 of the Constitution says federal authority outranks state authority, and on that bedrock of federalist principle rests centuries of back and forth that states have mostly lost, notably the desegregation of schools in the 1950s and ’60s.Luckily, the article's next passage does at least hint that such limiting powers do in fact exist, stating that "while some efforts do seem headed for a direct conflict with federal laws or the Constitution, others are premised on the idea that federal courts have misinterpreted the Constitution in the federal government’s favor." (Emphasis added) (For a good book detailing some of the most glaring examples of judicial misinterpretation in favor of increased federal power, I highly recommend The Dirty Dozen: How Twelve Supreme Court Cases Radically Expanded Government and Eroded Freedom, by Robert Levy and William Mellor)
“Article 6 says that that federal law is supreme and that if there’s a conflict, federal law prevails,” said Prof. Ruthann Robson, who teaches constitutional law at the City University of New York School of Law. “It’s pretty difficult to imagine a way in which a state could prevail on many of these.”
How all of this will play out in the coming months is unclear. But what is clear (at least to me) is the fact that something is brewing out there. Something tangible, and not easily mollified by the usual inane political talking points - and such empty references to "liberty," "freedom," and "let's cut spending." In this atmosphere, talk gets you nowhere. It's all about the follow-through.
So politicians beware: We are watching what you do, even if your words signal otherwise. And if that means we have to rediscover what federalism means, so be it. The tree of liberty is badly in need of nourishment.