Are Idaho's legislators kidding?Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2011, at 12:20 PM
There are times you have to wonder if some of the members of the Idaho Legislature have a clue what they're doing -- or for that matter if any of them actually passed a basic high school government class.
There are members who don't believe the laws that apply to the rest of us apply to them (like paying their state taxes). Some want to return to the gold standard to pay debts (imagine everyone having to have measuring devices for gold and up-to-the minute prices on what gold is worth).
But the latest idiocy comes from those who want to invoke the principle of "nullification."
Nullification is an arcane concept that's gotten new life recently from 10th Amendment extremists. Essentially, it says each state has the right to individually "nullify" any federal law its legislatures don't consider to be constitutional. Forget that the 10th Amendment essentially died on the battlefields of the Civil War. Forget for a moment that the people pushing this concept usually call themselves "constitutionalists," meaning they claim to understand the Constitution better than the Supreme Court, the legal ultimate arbitrator of what the Constitution means.
Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution says that "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof... shall be the supreme Law of the Land...." Therefore, if state laws and federal law conflict, the federal law must be followed by the citizens and the courts.
Nullification has NEVER been upheld by any court with the power to rule on the Constitution. If states can pick and choose from the smorgasbord of federal law then we no longer have a republic, we would have a confederacy. It took our founding fathers less than eight years to realize that a confederation just wouldn't work and to adopt the current Constitution creating a federal republic. Apparently, some of our legislators haven't passed U.S. history classes, either.
The federal courts, and ultimately the Supreme Court of the United States, determine if a law is constitutional or not. If the legislature doesn't like a federal law, it can direct the state's attorney general to sue in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of that federal law. That is the proper procedure. Idaho, for example, is one of several states that sued over key provisions of the new health care law and so far the states seem to be winning in the federal courts.
Sure, there are times the federal government seems a little heavy handed, but remember that no law was passed unless a majority of the elected representatives of the people agreed to do so. That's the basic principal of our government. If you don't like a federal law, either change those representatives or sue in federal court.
But trying to invoke nullification is a worthless waste of time. Haven't these clowns got better things to do?
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