Republican Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi is calling for an unconstitutional remedy for what he sees as Obama’s “unconstitutional” use of executive orders regarding gun safety.
In a letter dated Jan 16 to his Lt. Governor and State Speaker, the Republican governor requests that they “immediately pass legislation that would make any “unconstitutional” order “infringing on our rights to keep and bear arms” by the President illegal to enforce in Mississippi by state or local law enforcement.” He seems to skate over the fact that “introducing” is not the same as implementing, though wasting taxpayer money on legislation they know won’t pass/fly seems to be the New Republican Way.
Bryant continues by saying that several states have introduced similar measures and he believes this will be “successful preventing this overreaching and anti-constitutional violation of our rights as American citizens.”
Bryant did this not knowing the specifics of the executive orders (here they are- and there is nothing here that can possibly be seen as egregious), but in his right wing hysteria about guns, he has shared this letter on his Facebook page. The letter calls for an unconstitutional remedy while decrying the unconstitutionality of executive actions.
Executive orders are not unconstitutional, and as a governor, he should know this. He is the executive of his state. Executive orders are legal, and both President George H. W. Bush and President Clinton used this power to address gun violence.
You know what is unconstitutional? Suggesting that state law overrides federal law. Had the Governor actually read the Constitution, he would have come across the Supremacy Clause.
Supremacy Clause Article IV, clause 2: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof … 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.”
Republicans love the Second amendment but the Constitution is a no go. Cherry picking the constitution is a Republican pastime. Speaking of the Second amendment, the Supreme Court has already ruled that reasonable restrictions can be placed on the Second amendment.
The Governor of Mississippi believes that he can ignore federal law at will.
Executive orders are often tested in the courts, as Obama’s surely will be. This is part of our checks and balances to test against overreach by the executive branch. But since Obama is a constitutional lawyer, no doubt he’s been careful about expanding on existing law in today’s executive orders. Obama himself noted today that there is only so much he can do by way of executive order, and that major changes will need to happen legislatively.
Nothing the President proposed today is going to take guns away from law abiding citizens, so this hysteria is only serving to separate Republicans further from mainstream America.
Governor Bryant needs to take the President’s warning that ignorance isn’t helping to heart.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.