Bear with me for this particular entry.  Upon hearing of this particular subject, I felt nothing else would qualify than an old-fashioned rant, and I would like to thank The Atlantic for bringing this particular bit to attention that is taking place in my own home state of Missouri. It would appear that state Senator Brian Nieves (who is also a hard-core Tea Party Republican) has sponsored legislation that comes very close to seceding Missouri from the union.  The legislation claims that the state would have the authority to override any federal law it didn’t agree with and would go back to the original intent of the US Constitution. WTF?  Here is the the text of SJR45…

Upon approval by the voters, this constitutional amendment prohibits the Missouri legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government from recognizing, enforcing, or acting in furtherance of any federal action that exceeds the powers delegated to the federal government.

The state also shall not recognize, enforce, or act in furtherance of any federal actions that: restrict the right to bear arms; legalize or fund abortions, or the destruction of any embryo from the zygote stage; require the sale or trade of carbon credits or impose a tax on the release of carbon emissions; involve certain health care issues; mandate the recognition of same sex marriage or civil unions; increase the punishment for a crime based on perpetrator’s thoughts or designate a crime as a hate crime; interpret the establishment clause as creating a wall of separation between church and state; or restrict the right of parents or guardians to home school or enroll their children in a private or parochial school or restrict school curriculum.

The state is also required to interpret the U.S. Constitution based on its language and the original intent of the signers of the Constitution. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution shall be interpreted based on their language and the intent of the congressional sponsor and co-sponsors of the amendment.

The amendment also declares that Missouri citizens have standing to enforce the provisions of the amendment and that enforcement of the amendment applies to federal actions taken after the amendment is approved by the voters, federal actions specified in the amendment, and any federal action, regardless of when it occurred, that the general assembly or the Missouri Supreme Court determines to exceed the powers enumerated and delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution.

This screams of just crazy, and not to mention that it is completely unconstitutional.  Yes, I know all laws are constitutional until the US Supreme Court rules otherwise.  However, the Court has ruled on this before.  The attempt to nullify federal laws goes back to the beginning days of our country.  During President Andrew Jackson’s first term, the state of South Carolina threatened to secede from the union over tariff legislation.  Then Vice-President John C. Calhoun was a major supporter of the South Carolina movement since it was his own home state, and he thought the president would be supportive since he was a southerner, as well.  He was wrong.  President Jackson threatened to send in the army and even hang the Vice President if South Carolina didn’t back down… which it did.  He was affirming that federal law trumps state law and that states do not have the right to nullify any federal law that it doesn’t agree with.

Under Article 6 of the US Constitution, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”  This means that states cannot trump federal laws.  The Supreme Court has held even to that ruling.  State laws trump local laws, federal laws trump state laws, and the US Constitution trumps everything.  Missouri Senator Nieve’s legislation is unconstitutional based on this alone.

And in part of the bill, the state would return to the original intent of the US Constitution itself?  Under that alone, only those that serve within the state militia would have the right to bear arms (read the text of the Second Amendment) and not the general population.  It has only been interpreted through the Supreme Court to mean that all citizens have the right to bear arms.  And his legislation would, therefore, nullify that interpretation.

This could mean heated tensions in the debate of federal vs. state, which has always existed.  But in this particular case, it is bound to lose.  This latest anti-federalism move will not hold up in court.  And, if the bill passes through the state legislature and past the governor, when the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional on the grounds of Article 6, will the state of Missouri just attempt to nullify the ruling and do what it wants to do?  And if so, what does the federal government do then?  I guess one solution would be that the federal government could withhold all federal dollars since Missouri gets more than it pays in.

Nieves has proven that he is a complete dumbass for this type of legislation.  It is a complete waste of time and taxpayer dollars.  I think he needs to go back and take a civics class plus an American History class.  This man does not belong in any type of government…ever.  And for those who keep electing him, they need to wake up.  Just because there is a “R” by his name, doesn’t mean that he’d make a good representative of the people.  In fact, he’s got his head so far up his own ass that I doubt he can see the real world that exists around him.  It is said that Missouri is falling behind in attracting new jobs and people.  It’s this type of legislation that keeps businesses and people from moving to this state.  They see it as moving backwards and not progressing to the future.  Someone needs to tell Nieves, and any other legislator that votes in favor of this legislation, that it is not the 1850s (or even the 1950s) and to continually move the state of Missouri (and that is Missour-ee) backwards is not the answer.

The legislation is nothing short of a national debate we are having this election cycle.  The problem is that this particular legislation goes too far.  Nieves might see himself doing the right thing, and the Republican voters in this state might fully support such a move, but that doesn’t make it right.  That doesn’t even make it legal.  Nieves, and any supporting legislator, should know that it is doomed to go down in flames though they themselves will get a boost from normal Republican and Tea-Party Republican voters as they will be seen as standing up for the state over the overreaching federal government.

But let me ask this… if a state could (and I use the word ‘could’ because they technically can’t) pass laws that would nullify any federal law it didn’t agree with, then what would be the purpose of any federal legislation?  It would be total chaos and anarchy going from state to state.  We would essentially be throwing away the US Constitution and going back to the days of the Articles of Confederation, which the US Constitution replaced when it was determined that the Articles weren’t working.  Again, we find certain parts of our nation and those that represent the masses attempting to move our nation backwards without any regards to the lessons we have learned in our own history.  If we want to advance this state, then we must move it forwards.  And if state-Senator Nieves cannot be a part of that movement, then he needs to go back to the cave that he calls home and allow the rest of us to live in the real world… one free of his ass-backwards BS.

The Atlantic


3 Responses to Missour-uh

  1. List of X says:

    Well, I guess if Missouri is going to back to the original intent of the founders, that would also mean that slavery would become legal again and the women would not be able to vote.

    • James S. says:

      Amendments do get counted with the original intent of the US Constitution according to what is stated in the legislation… “The state is also required to interpret the U.S. Constitution based on its language and the original intent of the signers of the Constitution. Amendments to the U.S. Constitution shall be interpreted based on their language and the intent of the congressional sponsor and co-sponsors of the amendment.” I guess because amendments have to be passed by the states, too, is what makes them acceptable with the original intent. But still scratching my head on it.

  2. Deborah Mraz says:

    Excellent entry James!!!! Federal Trumps State. Constitution Trumps ALL! End of story…oh Missour-UH what are we doing?? And could someone please let Senator McCaskill know that there is an I as in EYE at the end of Missouri?? I can even tolerate the drawn out EEE as in MIssour-EEEE rather than UH as in DUH at the end…

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