File this under "nullification isn't as dead as some would like you to believe it is."
E.J. Montini's Columns & Blog
E.J. Montini is a columnist for The Arizona Republic.
Arizona to secede (without OFFICIALLY doing so)
Members of the state Legislature, including Arizona's de facto governor, Senate President Russell Pearce, have introduced a bill that essentially would have Arizona secede from the union without having to do so officially.
It's called SB1433, (See it here.) It creates a 12-member committee within the legislature that could "vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government…"
Committee members themselves would decide this, then pass along their recommendation to the full Legislature. If, in turn, a majority of state lawmakers go along with the committee then, according to the bill, "this state and its citizens shall not recognize or be obligated to live under the statute, mandate or executive order."
The nullification committee also would be permitted to review all existing federal laws to see if our legislative geniuses want to toss them out as well.
In every legislative session in every state throughout the land there are proposals like this, usually made by a few fringe members who know their proposal has no chance but file it anyway to serve some personal or political agenda.
In this instance, legislators here -- who claim to be strict constitutionalists -- seem fairly willing to ignore what is commonly called the "supremacy clause" of the U.S. Constitution (as well as the Fourteenth Amendment), and which more or less say that federal law supersedes state law.
A state or a person can challenge such laws in court. But a state can't on its own simply declare a federal law to be unconsitutional.
Legislators who propose such things often are quietly patted on the heads and laughed off by their colleagues.
In our case, however, the legislation is being proposed by, among others, Sen. Pearce, the most powerful person in state government.
So, as wacky as the proposal is, that makes it much less of a laughing matter.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 11:57 AM