Posted by AzBluemeanie:
The Checks and Balances in Government initiative by eccentric millionaire Jack Biltis is an attempt to do by citizens initiative what disgraced former Senator Russell Pearce failed to do in 2011 (before he was recalled) with SB1433. I posted about his bill and the history of the nullification theory in Neoconfederate insurrectionists in Arizona Legislature revive discredited 'nullification' theory:
[SB 1433] 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.
This "Tenther" bill failed in the legislature. But now it is back in another form, the Checks and Balances in Government initiative. Alex Seitz-Wald writing at Salon tales a look at the intiative. Arizona’s secession-lite plan - Salon.com:
If Jack Biltis has his way, Arizonans may soon get to pick and choose which U.S. laws they don’t want to abide by, like a buffet of federalism.
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[The initiative] would allow Arizonans “to reject any federal action that they determine violates the United States Constitution,” as the ballot measure reads.
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[T]he Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is the “flagship” example of why the law is needed, he has said, but also points to some Republican-backed measures like the Patriot Act. Federal overreach also comes in more quotidian varieties, like speed limits and the ban on incandescent light bulbs. “Besides the insanity of it, if you have a federal government that can choose to ban a light bulb that has existed for 100 years, that served us pretty well, what can’t they do?” he asked reporters.
Note: Arizona voters already approved the "Tenther" Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment, Proposition 106 (2010), which purports to prohibit "the enactment of laws or rules that require any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system. It will also allow a person or employer to forgo health insurance and pay for health care services directly without a penalty and will allow health care providers to accept direct payment without a penalty." It was the handiwork of Koch brothers ally Dr. Eric Novak. If it ever comes up for judicial review, it is almost certain to be ruled unconstitutional (I hedge only because of the convoluted Roberts opinion on the ACA).
[Biltis'] scheme would provide two ways in which Arizona could opt out of federal laws: Either the state Legislature could pass a law or citizens could collect enough signatures to bring a ballot measure.
Anyone who has taken a high school civics class could tell you the measure probably wouldn’t stand up in court, as the federal government has supremacy over the states. Arizona’s constitution even spells this out, stating clearly: “The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land and may not be violated by the federal, state, or any local government.” But that doesn’t deter Biltis. “I believe the Supreme Court completely got it wrong,” he told reporters of the Affordable Care Act ruling. In fact, he said he disagrees with the entire concept of judicial review, first established by the 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison, which allows courts to strike down federal laws.
His effort . . . is related to a wide pushback against the federal government’s power tied up with the Tea Party and embrace of the 10th Amendment. But this ballot measure would go much further than most other Tenther proposals, essentially sanctioning the philosophy of sovereign citizens — radical anti-government activists who believe they can unilaterally secede from the state, stop paying taxes and live by their own rules.
[Biltis] says he would not want his proposal to be used by people looking to dodge taxes or for other “light hearted” fair, but it’s a slippery step once states can opt out of federal laws. For instance, he acknowledges that states could opt out of anti-segregation laws, but says he’s confident that wouldn’t happen.
You, sir, are an idiot. Biltis essentially rejects federalism and representative democracy, rendering the Congess powerless to enact any laws not separately approved by the various state legislatures. That effectively is a confederacy of states, something this country rejected as unworkable when it replaced the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution.
Biltis also rejects judicial review by the Supreme Court, which is the foundation for the rule of law in this country. Without acceptance of the Supreme Court (state or federal) as the final arbiter of what is constitutional and legal, there would be no rule of law.
A good example is offered by Biltis where he acknowledges that states could opt out of anti-segregation laws, but says he’s confident that wouldn’t happen. Seriously, Dude? I know you are a Canadian, but pick up a history book, will you. Do you know anything about the history of racial relations in the United States?
The United States had state-sanctioned segregation by race for 100 years after the Civil War ended state-sanctioned slavery. The U.S. Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ended the "separate but equal" doctrine and ordered desegregation "with all deliberate speed." The decision was opposed by a majority of Americans, not just in the South. Without judicial review and acceptance of the U.S. Supreme Court as the final arbiter of what is constitutional and legal, this decision would have been meaningless.
Segregationist politicians adopted the Southern Manifesto in 1956 in opposition to Brown v. Board of Education, accusing the Supreme Court of "clear abuse of judicial power." It promised to use "all lawful means to bring about a reversal of this decision which is contrary to the Constitution and to prevent the use of force in its implementation." Wait for it. . . "The Manifesto suggested that the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution should limit the reach of the Supreme Court on such issues."
Luckily, we had presidents who believed in the rule of law and the constitutional power of the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the National Guard in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957 after Governor Orval Faubus refused to comply with a court order for school desegregation.
President John Kennedy federalized the National Guard and sent federal troops to the University of Mississippi in 1962 when Governor Ross Barnett refused to allow James Meredith to enroll at "Ole Miss."
President Kennedy sent several thousand troops to Alabama in 1963 in response to the brutality of Sheriff Bull Connor after Martin Luther King, Jr. and civil rights marchers were subjected to police violence including police dogs and high-pressure fire hoses to put down demonstrations.
President Kennedy also federalized the National Guard in Alabama in 1963 when George Wallace "stood in the schoolhouse door" to prevent black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama.
It took Congress enacting the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to end state-sanctioned segregation in this country. It took the power of the executive branch to enforce federal laws through the Department of Justice, as well as the power of the federal judiciary to enforce federal laws to make it a reality. All three branches of the federal government came together to end segregation. Most importantly, it took the American people accepting the long established governing principles of our government as legitimate.
Now comes along Jack Biltis to suggest that his unconstitutional and unenforceable initiative may allow states to opt out of anti-segregation laws. Only in his wildest delusional "Tenther" fantasies.