As put forth in a recent article by the Maine Tenth Amendment Center, “The Media War On Nullification”, the media has been pressing hard to discredit the rising States’ Rights movement and the idea that we are not entirely submissive to the will of the Federal Government. Previously it was NPR, Raw Story, Washington Post, and AsMaineGoesLolz. This time, the Associated Press is taking steps to further portray nullification in a negative light.
Posted yesterday, “GOP invokes 1700s doctrine in health care fight” has one problem already and we haven’t even entered the article yet. A common tactic the media has been using is the portrayal of the movement as strictly conservative, something the Republican Party has invented to strike back at President Barack Obama in a bitter political war. This couldn’t be further from the truth, at least here in Maine.
There are Republicans who have introduced nullification, three to be exact (Rep. Rich Cebra, Rep. Aaron Libby, Rep. Mel Newendyke), but it doesn’t stop there. Rep. Walter Kumiega, a Democrat, has introduced a Food Sovereignty Act that would nullify various federal regulations on food products. Rep. Ben Chipman, an Independent, has introduced an act that would nullify the Real ID Act of 2005 (a law Maine had almost successfully nullified in 2007, after it cleared through the Democratically-led Legislature, then-Governor John Baldacci vetoed it). That’s two individuals here who are not Republicans or conservative, yet are supporting the idea of States’ Rights.
Then we can rewind to 2007, when the Democrats took their stand against the Federal Government and mandates they saw as unjust and financially burdening. Senator Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell, who was then Senate Majority Leader and last year was the Democratic nominee for Governor, had this to say: The federal government may be willing to burden us with the high costs of a program that will do nothing to make us safer, but it is our job as state legislators to protect the people of Maine from just this sort of dangerous federal mandate. I am proud that this state has led the way in taking a stand against Real ID.”
Mitchell would then go further and write an Op-Ed that would appear in the Portland Press Herald, “MAINE VOICES’: Real ID’ licenses a really bad idea.”
This Democratic leader noted the following:
It would be a bureaucratic nightmare:
Those without the federally regulated card will be unable to board a plane or enter a federal building, and those who have discrepancies or cannot verify their source documents ¬ individuals who have changed their last names, lost birth certificates due to floods, or were born in another country ¬ will be caught in bureaucratic limbo, unable to drive or travel.
It would be a massive financial burden on the States:
But that’s not all. In addition to creating more red tape, Real ID is an unfunded mandate.
According to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, “Organizations such as the National Governor’s Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators have estimated initial costs of the Real ID Act to be around $11 billion. Maine’s share of those costs is around $185 million over the first five years.
It would be a security risk that could be used for tracking:
The card that was once used to prove an individual was safe to drive will now be used as an “internal passport” that can be used to track an individual’s movement and activities.
Then to top things off, here is a quote from former Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap that appeared in the Op-Ed:
This is more than six times the annual budget for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and none of these costs are addressed by the federal government. Left unfunded, this could mean substantial increases in customer fees.” So, what do we get for all this money? Security experts agree that Real ID will do nothing to prevent terrorism, but will make ordinary Americans more vulnerable to invasions of privacy and identity theft.
That is a lot of liberal support for a doctrine that is only utilized by conservatives only after President Obama was elected, in an attempt to cripple his supposed success. The Democratic Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mitchell had introduced the legislation into their respective houses, with Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap talking about the nightmare this federal mandate would be.
Back to the AP article now, there was also a good quote from a State Senator. Alabama Republican Scott Beason had introduced legislation that was crushed by Democrats, which would nullify the healthcare laws. Here is what he had to say to the AP:
A lot people say, if the Supreme Court decides that it is constitutional, you have to live with it. My feeling is, the people should have the final say. Frankly, the only recourse people have is for the states to try to flex some sovereignty muscle.
Does that sound like a bad idea in a Constitutional Republic, or a Democracy as some like to call it? Either way, both leave the power to the people. The Supreme Court does not obey the will of the people and never face the approval of the people, as they are unelected lifetime bureaucrats who legislate from the benches. Perhaps H.L. Mencken was onto something when he said judges were nothing more than lawyers who mark their own examination papers.
Idaho Republican State Senator Monty Pearce would then go on to point out that Thomas Jefferson was at the Constitutional Convention and thus understood better than some “journalists” how the government was supposed to work. So how was this government supposed to work?
Let’s take the words of Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist #78:
There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
He would then go on to state this about the judicial branch:
Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental.
The judges aren’t superior? You mean the Supreme Court isn’t the end-all decision in society? Who else could it be?
The States. The people.
And all the negativity of the Associated Press, AsMaineGoesLolz, NPR, Raw Story, Washington Post can’t change that. Why? Because the men who defended ratification of the Constitution backed the power of the people and there is established precedence in our political system. As they fabricate evidence supposedly linking nullification to slavery, there is clear connections of total government centralization to the likes of Adolf Hitler, who despised the idea that anyone below him had power. Tyrants all across history didn’t want lower levels to meddle with their will. Why? They can’t handle the division of powers, having to work with other people, and most of all, being kept in check.
But that’s why we’re here. To nullify our way back to a balanced government and a better society.
Chris is the state chapter coordinator for the Maine Tenth Amendment Center.
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