LA Times: Nullification Based on "Imaginary Authority"

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
09/20/2013
       
LA Times: Nullification Based on "Imaginary Authority"

In an editorial, the Los Angeles Times called nullification unconstitutional and said it was based on "imaginary authority."

In an editorial published September 16, the Los Angeles Times declared that states attempting to nullify unconstitutional acts of the federal government were “states of denial.” The very idea that states can “decide for themselves whether federal laws are unconstitutional” is, the paper insists, “rejected even by many legal scholars who support states’ rights.”

Articles such as this one are probably what made Thomas Jefferson declare, “I have given up newspapers in exchange for Tacitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid; and I find myself much the happier.” 

That said, the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times not only lacks basic understanding of fundamental principles of constitutional construction, but they hide their ignorance in a cowardly fashion behind the skirts of “scholars,” apparently afraid to come out and make statements of supposed constitutional certainty on their own.

To its credit, the article does make a bold statement so incredible and so detached from reality that it deserves reprinting here. The Times says, without qualification whatsoever, that state legislators violate [their oath of office] when they attempt to nullify duly enacted federal laws.”

With that statement in mind, one wonders if the Times will make the same accusation of all those federal lawmakers and President Obama who violate the oaths they have taken to be bound by the Constitution and to protect it from enemies foreign and domestic. 

Moreover, will the Times call out these elected officials for their disregard of the very clear constitutional limits on their power? It only stands to reason that if an attempt to enforce constitutional limits on power is a violation of the oath of office, then overt acts to exceed those limits are even more unforgivable offenses against it.

While not bothering to quote any of the “many legal scholars” who purportedly advocate for states’ rights but reject nullification, the Times begins its brief condemnation of nullification by countering the “imaginary authority” asserted by states who take on the federal government with the so-called Supremacy Clause of Article VI of the Constitution.

Click here to read the entire article.

Photo: AP Images

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