Comprehension or understanding (intellection) is a psychological process whereby one is able to fully grasp the meaning, or importance, of an idea or concept, and make decisions based on the idea they understand. If a person does adequately understand a simple concept such as a law, and makes decisions contrary to their understanding they are either willfully stupid or consider the law invalid or that it does not apply to them. Most Americans have a fairly good comprehension that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and that the Supreme Court is the arbiter of a law’s constitutionality and thus Constitutional. Republicans claim to be the only political party in America that truly understands the Constitution and the Framers’ intent in writing it, but they have shown that, not only do they lack rudimentary understanding of the document, they are rejecting it on grounds it is invalid according to their ideology.
Shortly after the American people re-elected President Obama to serve a second term, a rash of states appealed to the White House to secede from the Union because they objected to the election’s outcome. When they were not granted permission to rip the United States apart, they immediately began taking steps to shred the Constitution they claim to love and declare they were laws unto themselves by way of nullification.
The same nullification frenzy that led to the American Civil War is spreading through Republican-controlled states where legislators in at least seven states passed laws nullifying federal laws involving firearms. Although Republicans are prone to claim anything President Obama supports is dictatorial overreach regardless he does not pass laws, nullification supporters have taken their outrage to a new level best expressed by Tennessee State Senator Mae Beavers who said, “You think that the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of any of these laws. I don’t believe that. I don’t believe it was ever granted the authority under the Constitution; the Supreme Court is a dictatorship.” The Republican, who swore an oath to support the Constitution, ignores a 1958 Supreme Court decision involving southern state’s nullifying desegregation orders, and its ruling addressed Beavers’ contention and said, “No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his solemn oath to support it,” but since Republicans do not acknowledge the Constitution as the law of the land, supporting it is moot and their oath is irrelevant.
Most of the nullification efforts in states are aimed at the Affordable Care Act that South Carolina legislators recently nullified and made a criminal offense to enforce because they determined the health care reform law is “null and void,” and according to South Carolina Republicans new Freedom of Health Care Protection Act, the state “prohibits certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws.” As a reminder to Republicans, the ACA was legally passed by the U.S. Congress, signed into law by the legally elected President, and ruled Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Apparently, Republicans fail to comprehend the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause that plainly says, “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.” However, since Republicans have declared the Constitution “null and void” when it conflicts with their ideology, and holds that the Supreme Court is not the arbiter of the Constitution, the law of the land falls under Republican Party purview making the Federal government itself null and void; at least in Republican-controlled states such as Kansas.
Last month Kansas Republicans passed a law, and governor Sam Brownback signed it, asserting that any gun made, assembled, or owned in Kansas is exempt from federal regulation and to prove they are serious, made it a crime for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to Brownback informing him the Kansas nullification law is “unconstitutional,” and that the U.S. is prepared to sue Kansas to prevent the state from “interfering with the activities of federal officials.” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach responded to Holder and informed him that “the Obama Administration has repeatedly violated the United States Constitution for the past four-and-a-half-years. That abuse cannot continue.” According to Kobach, the state of Kansas is not subject to any federal laws or regulations and it is a sentiment rampant among states under Republican control.
It is not that Republicans cannot comprehend the Constitution, or the Supremacy Clause; they cannot comprehend they are part of the United States and instead have deemed they are a law unto themselves regardless the Constitution, Supreme Court, or legitimacy of the U.S. Congress. It is the same sentiment that drove the South to secede and wage war on the United States and is not a harbinger of peace and security for the American people. It also explains the willingness of Republicans to break their oath of office to support the Constitution they have all but declared null and void; except for the 2nd and 10th Amendments.
In at least three other states, bills similar to the Kansas law nullifying federal gun laws are advancing in Louisiana, Missouri, and Alabama, and an Alaska bill exempting any gun possessed from federal law was approved and is awaiting action from Governor Sean Parnell. In 37 additional states, bills attacking federal gun laws have been introduced so far this year and in Montana, Wyoming, and Tennessee, bills prohibiting federal agents from enforcing federal law give local sheriffs the right to arrest federal agents if they arrest gun law violators.
All of the Republicans’ nullification efforts do not bode well for America, or the Constitution, and the recurring theme that federal laws, including the Affordable Care Act, are unconstitutional inform that, at least at the state level, Republicans are repeating a dangerous precedent that led America into its bloodiest war. The persistent claim that President Obama has violated the Constitution is Republicans projecting their own agenda, and in fact, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach implied President Obama began violating the Constitution months before he was sworn into office. The message state Republicans are sending is that the federal government, Constitution, and Supreme Court are violations of Republican ideology and in doing so they have effectively declared the United States is itself null and void.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.