We’re All Becoming Texas

My husband says I’ve been in a bad mood since 2000. I’m entitled.

On Monday, the Republican-led Texas House passed HB 1076 , a bill that would ban state agencies from enforcing any new federal gun laws, including background checks. The self-satisfied know-nothings who voted for this bill are very pleased with themselves.

Talk about embarrassing. Every student who participated in the We the People competition I referenced earlier this week would know better.

I don’t know whether this bit of unconstitutional stupidity is the product of grandstanding or ignorance, but really–how much dumber can state lawmakers get? Granted, Texas is in a league of its own, but there are plenty of other states–largely but not exclusively in the south–where similarly ridiculous measures are being solemnly debated and enacted. (Next-door Louisiana, where several loony laws championed by boy Governor Bobby Jindal have been struck down by the courts is a case in point. And the Indiana General Assembly keeps trying to equal its signal accomplishment–passage of a law in 1897 changing the value of pi.)

Read my lips: nullification runs afoul of the Supremacy Clause. In language even Texas legislators should be able to understand, that means that there is a provision in the U.S. Constitution that says federal laws trump inconsistent state laws. States don’t get to decide which federal laws they’ll obey.

I’m so tired of these posturing morons–and so disappointed in the voters who elected them. Gerrymandering can only explain so much.

America is currently experiencing the “perfect storm”–paranoia and anti-intellectualism have combined to destroy any semblance of rationality. ┬áThe adults have left the room; the inmates are running the asylum.

We are left with only self-parody.

15 thoughts on “We’re All Becoming Texas

  1. Just to play devil’s advocate, what do you think of states that have legalized marijuana (granted, mostly by plebiscite)?

  2. Sheila; my bad mood probably started about the same time yours did in 2000. I was living 1,018 miles away in Port Richey, Florida, watching all media reports on that bogus presidential election recount being led by Bush’s baby btother, Governor Jeb. Matthew Tully’s column this morning applauds Pence for signing the $16.4 million school safety bill. Granted, school safety is a major issue on a national level but there is still not enough money here to education the students who hopefully will be protected from possible gunslingers. How many resource officers will be protecting each school? Even mentally ill Lanza knew the most vulnerable way into Sandy Hook school to murder 20 children and 6 protective teachers. Then there is Columbine and Virginia Tech; both had armed “protection”. That $2 million going to build two luxury suites at Lucas Oil Stadium, whatever the number of millions to prepare another bid for the 2nd Super Bowl here (the 1st lost money for the city) and Ballard’s begging for money for a pro Cricket team here could all go to educating public school students and training resource officers. Texas is still living in the “Remember the Alamo” era; I don’t know what era Indiana is living in but it hasn’t yet moved into the 21st Century as evidenced by the lack of common sense gun control laws and keeping women under the control of pseudo religious politicians.

  3. JoAnn, it would be really beneficial to the discussion if sophistry was checked at the door.

    As for Mrs. Kennedy, I pose the question, where does Congress get the authority to regulate guns?

  4. Indiana city councils and town boards should pass resolutions allowing them to disregard enactments of the Indiana Legislature that they find repugnant. What’s good for the goose …

  5. It’s really unbelievable, isn’t it? No, actually, it isn’t. In the rush to run out and buy a bunch of guns, the more skilled and level-headed gun owners will now have to contend with the “Hey-Bubba-lookee-here-what-I-just-bought” community. More innocents of all ages are now in more danger than they ever were. Sheila and JoAnn, I think we’re even more depressed than we were in 2000. It’s so scary!

  6. In scanning the Indiana Constitution I found that, as with the Constitutional 2nd Amendment, it allows arming of state militia – specifically over the age of 17.

    Regarding public education; public funds are to be provided for K-12, public funds are NOT to be used in support of religious based schools.

    Nowhere in either Constitution did I find support for sporting events – granted I did only scan these documents so I could have missed the Football Amendment. Please excuse all sophistry and/or specious statements but I am merely a high school dropout with a GED trying my best to keep up with the currently screwed up political scene on all levels.

  7. It began for me with Pence signing that $16.4 million bill to put guns in schools (trained resource officers or not) when the state supposedly has no money to put into educating students. Indiana Constitution refers to providing public funds to pay for education; the 2nd Amendment doesn’t mention funding the well armed militia nor did the Indiana Constitution – only allowing it.

  8. Since when has the Pence admin said we didn’t have money for education? Education funding took over half of the budget’s money.

    From what I remember, the bill which puts guns in schools is either a summer study committee, or it allows the school board to vote on such a measure.

    Why even bring up funding the militia as part of the 2nd amendment? What part would that possibly play in this discussion? And for the record, funding the militia is allowed in Article 1 Section 8.

  9. Your analysis is flawed.

    As you note, the Texas law merely prohibits state agencies from enforcing federal gun laws such as background checks. That’s consistent with Printz v. United States and the constitutional prohibition against comandeering state agents to enforce federal law. The Texas law does not attempt, for example, to prohibit federal agents from enforcing federal gun laws. If it did the law would run afoul of the Supremacy Clause.

    You may disagree with the wisdom of the Texas law or even with Printz, but that hardly makes the Texas law embarrassing in terms of its constitutionality.

  10. You are misreading Prinz. It was not about nullification; the case challenged Congress’ right to pass the legislation at issue. If the federal government enacts a law that it lacks authority to pass, a challenge–as in Prinz–is appropriate. That is not what the “nullifiers” are doing, and there is no claim that the federal government lacks authority to require background checks.

  11. I claim there is no federal authority to require background checks. The 2nd Amendment is not a right granted to the government to regulate arms. Unless you are a part of the militia, the right to keep and bear arms is not regulated at the federal level.

    Article 1 Section 8 has no enumeration for Congress to regulate arms.

  12. Actually, this isn’t nullification. It does not say that federal gun control laws don’t apply in Texas; it merely says that Texas will not help the federal government enforce them. The idea that enforcement agencies have discretion over what laws they will enforce is long-standing. The federal government is, of course, free to enforce gun control laws itself, but Texas will not use any of its own resources to that end.

  13. I don’t quite follow your response to my comment, so I’ll try and retread some ground and give you the last word.

    1. The argument in my initial post was that if all the Texas law purports to do is prohibit state enforcement of a federal gun law such as a background check, then the Texas law is constitutional under Printz.

    2. You seem to argue that Printz is distinguishable because it involved a federal law where Congress exceeded its authority. That is true enough, but it’s a distinction without a difference when you consider Congress exceeded its authority precisely because the provision at issue required state agents to enforce federal law, hence the shorthand description of Printz as espousing an “anti-comandeering rule” (i.e., a constitutional prohibition against requiring state agents to enforce federal law).

    3. If Printz stands for the proposition that Congress cannot pass a law requiring state agents to enforce federal law, doesn’t it necessarily follow that a state could pass a law recognizing this principle? If not, it seems odd to say there’s an anti-comandeering principle embedded in the constitution but a state has no power to recognize it via a state law.

    4. If the Texas law is constitutionally embarrassing, do you also agree that ordinances, resolutions, and similar measures passed by sanctuary cities prohibiting enforcement of federal immigration law are equally embarrassing? Under your analysis I would say even more embarrassing since municipalities are not sovereign in our constitutional scheme (unlike the several States).

    5. To the extent the Texas law prohibits state agents from enforcing federal law, such action has nothing to do with nullification and the Supremacy Clause. An example of these principles on display would be if Congress passed a law requiring background checks, and Texas passed a law prohibiting Texas citizens from undergoing background checks, including checks by federal agents. That is not what’s going on here.

    6. I reiterate you may disagree with the wisdom of the Texas law as a matter of policy, but that hardly makes it constitutionally embarrassing.

    Last word is yours!

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