Originally published July 28 2015
Existence of 'sanctuary cities' proves the political left believes in nullification of federal laws by local cities; so why not entire states?
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) For the record, I have never been one who has believed in the concept of states' nullification of federal law. That concept, touted mostly by libertarians and some conservatives, essentially means federal laws that violate states' rights or are perceived to be in violation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to states and the people any powers not specifically reserved to the federal government by the Constitution, should simply be ignored.
However, I am quickly becoming a convert.
That's because increasingly, the Obama administration and the U.S. Supreme Court are leaving Americans with little choice. Indeed, in many respects, several states have already begun to "nullify" federal dictates (though the results have not always turned out well), and I fully expect that others will soon begin to follow suit.
Nullification already happening
Consider: Whether you support recreational use of marijuana or not, possessing and smoking pot for purely personal use – not for medicinal purposes – remains against federal drug laws. And yet two states, Colorado and Washington, have defied federal law, and have been given the president's blessing when he said, at the time, that he had "bigger fish to fry" than ordering the Justice Department to pursue legal action against those states.
What about the hundreds of so-called "sanctuary cities" around the country - cities where progressive, left-wing mayors and city councils routinely thwart federal immigration law by permitting illegal aliens to remain there unmolested? They, too, are simply ignoring federal law – and the Obama administration is allowing it to happen.
Then again, the administration is also doing some "nullification" of its own.
As noted by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a former judge and Texas Supreme Court justice, the White House has ignored a federal court order barring administration officials from issuing three-year work permits to illegal aliens. Even after the order was issued by U.S. District Judge Andrew Hainen earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement handed out about 3,000 such permits. Now, the judge is demanding that DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson appear in his court to explain why that was done; if Johnson refuses, Hainen has threatened to hold Johnson in contempt, an action that could subject the DHS chief to arrest.
And what about the U.S. Supreme Court? In two recent rulings, the court upheld provisions of Obamacare that were clearly improper, and imposed same-sex marriage on the entire country.
A tool of last resort
In the first instance, the court ruled that no matter what the actual law says, words don't matter – only intent. So even though the law says that federal subsidies would be provided only for Obamacare exchanges "established by the State," the high court said that Congress really meant that all Americans who qualify, by income, should get them, even if their state refused to establish an exchange.
In the second case, even if you're a supporter of same-sex unions, states have historically defined marriage, not the federal government. That's not "homophobic", it is simply true. In fact, before he ruled in favor of overturning state laws prohibiting same-sex "marriage" – laws that were enacted by direct votes of the people, in many cases – Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled in 2013 that indeed, states, not Washington, should decide issues of marriage when he agreed with the majority that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.
What's more, every law Obama decides to ignore – or enforce – is the result of political calculation, with certain political objectives and outcomes in mind. The man who swore to "fundamentally transform" America is doing just that, and in the process essentially destroying the rule of law.
So how does state nullification improve the situation? It may not.
But it does give states a tool, using Obama's own examples of negligence or inaction as their basis, to counter any negative influences of federal actions (or inactions).
And it is a tool that I increasingly believe they should use, if nothing else as a last resort.
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