(Update) Arizona’s Neo-confederate dead-enders and secession


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

According to the Arizona Republic(an), today is the big day for Arizona's Johnny Rebs who believe they have a right to "interposition, nullification and secession" of federal laws they don't like. "States' rights!" Today at the Capitol:

Topic: Unconstitutional federal acts.

AZConfederacyWhat it’s about: The House Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility Committee will take public input and vote on Senate Concurrent Resolution 1016, which would ask voters to allow the state to ignore federal regulations believed to be unconstitutional.

Details: 2 p.m. House Hearing Room 1, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix.

Will they show up wearing their dress greys and waving their Confederate battle jack flags?

On Monday, the Arizona Republic(an) gave the lead Birther-Bircher-Secessionist sponsor of this bill, Sen. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, a "My Turn" column on the opinion pages to spew "Tenther" nonsense with a subtitle of "misinformation abounds" — it sure as hell does, in his opinion. Resolution aims to protect state sovereignty:

There has been plenty of misinformation about a resolution moving through the Legislature, and I’d like to try to clear it up.

I have sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 1016, which would constitutionally allow Arizonans to reject a federal action if they determine it violates the U.S. Constitution. They could do this by passing an initiative or referendum, passing a bill or using legal action.

In addition, the resolution further prohibits the state from using personnel or resources to further enforce a federal action the people have deemed unconstitutional. SCR 1016 passed out of the Senate and is currently in the Arizona House. If it clears the House, it will likely be sent to you, the voter, in 2014.

Right out of the blocks this "Tenther" wants to "clear up" misinformation by stating a whopper of a lie: that his bill is constitutional. It is not. We have been over this before:

See: Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, known as the Supremacy Clause: "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; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

See also: The Fourteenth Amendment, you know, that reassertion of federal supremacy enacted after a Civil War fought over the theories of "interposition, nullification and secession," Section 1: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." That would be federal laws.

See also: The Arizona Constitution, Article 2, Section 3: "The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land."

This "Tenther" reveals the source of his "Tenther" nonsense, former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack:

In the past, other elected officials have taken necessary steps to reject unconstitutional federal actions.

For example, the Brady Act, passed in 1993 as an amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968, imposed a waiting period of up to five days for the purchase of a handgun and subjected purchasers to a background check during that period. Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County challenged the Brady Act’s provisions in federal district court.

He invoked the 10th Amendment, and the district court ruled that the act did in fact violate the 10th Amendment by imposing a mandatory duty on sheriffs to conduct background checks.

SCR 1016 expands upon this type of action, and it seeks to follow the example of Sheriff Mack, expanding upon his efforts to challenge the federal government. In November of next year, you may be able to join in this challenge by supporting our legislation.

What this "Tenther" does not reveal is something I have posted about several times before, but the feckless political reporters in this state will not investigate because they are cowards. Former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack leads a far-right anti-government conspiratorial extremist group, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and is also associated with the Oath Keepers. Reporters have an obligation to report on these far-right extremists groups who are behind these bills and on our legislators' relationships to these far-right extremist groups. The voters have a right to know whether our legislators are members or supporters of far-right extremist groups that are on the FBI watch list.

As I have posted previously, the Supreme Court has rejected attempts by states to nullify federal law:

For example, in the 1958 Cooper v. Aaron case, the Supreme Court unanimously rejected the attempt by Arkansas to nullify judicial decisions on desegregation, on the grounds that "Article VI of the Constitution makes the Constitution the 'supreme Law of the Land' " and the federal courts are the final arbiters of the Constitution. Article VI also states that "the laws of the United States" that are passed pursuant to the Constitution are "the supreme law of the land … laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." Indeed, the Supreme Court rejected nullification attempts as early as 1809.

Conservatives have agreed that nullification is not permitted by the Constitution. In January 2011, Idaho's Republican attorney general released an opinion finding that the state cannot nullify the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, noting that "no court has ever upheld a State effort to nullify a federal law." The right-wing Heritage Foundation stated in February 2012 that "nullification is unconstitutional … there is no clause or implied power in either the national or the various state constitutions that enables states to veto federal laws unilaterally."

Furthermore, libertarian law professor Randy Barnett — one of the leading architects of the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act — has said "state nullification is kind of a non-starter in our legal system."

Give it up, Johnny Reb. You lost the war. "Interposition, nullification and secession" are not permitted under the U.S. Constitution. Get over it. Quit wasting our time and taxpayer money on litigating bills that are unconstitutional on their face.

UPDATE: In a related matter, the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Gun bill advances despite concerns it may be unconstitutional:

Sen. Kelli Ward’s bill to prohibit the enforcement of any new federal gun laws in Arizona, SB 1112, cleared the Senate Rules Committee despite lawmakers’ strong concerns that the legislation, as written, is unconstitutional.

Senate Rules Attorney Stacy Weltsch told lawmakers she had no doubt the measure would be struck down in court.   It would prevent federal gun laws limiting semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines from being enforced in Arizona. Various portions of the law would violate the Supremacy Clause, interstate commerce regulations and the separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution, she said.

* * *

“I can’t think of a way to do what she wants to do and make it constitutional,” Weltsch said in committee.

Courts routinely strike down measures that try to nullify federal laws, said Weltsch.  That was enough reason for Senate Majority Leader Leah Landrum Taylor to argue the bill should be left for dead in committee rather than make its way to court and unnecessarily clog the state’s legal system.

“If it’s going to be ruled as unconstitutional, we should not move this forward,” said Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Oh, I know who they are. The real question is do you? http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2010/fall/oath-keepers-group-battered-by-members-

    Intelligence Report, Fall 2010, Issue Number: 139

    Oath Keepers Group Battered by Members’ Arrests
    Antigovernment ‘Patriots’

    Oath Keepers, a two-year-old organization that encourages police officers and soldiers to disobey orders that may be unconstitutional, has long contended that it is about nothing more than protecting Americans’ freedoms. Its leader has angrily denounced suggestions that the group is animated by radical beliefs, and accused critics of working to smear an upstanding, patriotic group.

    But several recent developments have created problems for Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers leader who says he merely wants to defend the Constitution.

    This April, a suburban Cleveland, Ohio, man described by a prosecutor as the president of a local Oath Keepers chapter was jailed on 54 criminal counts related to his alleged storing of a live napalm bomb at his home, along with other explosives kept at a friend’s home. The man, Matthew Fairfield, already had been sentenced in February to two years’ probation for carrying concealed weapons.

    During the same month in Tennessee, an armed man driving a pickup truck emblazoned with an Oath Keepers logo was arrested in a bizarre scheme to place two dozen officials in a town under arrest.

    Here is a more recent update from February 2013 http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2013/02/07/oath-keepers-patriot-group-plans-50-anti-gun-control-rallies-tomorrow/

    Oath Keepers ‘Patriot’ Group Plans 50 Anti-Gun Control Rallies Tomorrow

    Posted By Ryan Lenz On February 7, 2013 @ 3:50 pm In Antigovernment, New World Order, patriot

    In the wake of White House moves to implement some gun control by using executive orders, the antigovernment “Patriot” right has exploded with fury, claiming that virtually any regulation amounts to an infringement of the Constitution or even a prelude to a national “gun grab” by federal forces hoping to disarm citizens once and for all.

    These and similar claims have come from nearly every corner of the radical right. But one of the most noteworthy recent responses comes from the Oath Keepers, a group of conspiracy-minded current and former members of law enforcement and the military who believe a tyrannical and gun-hating “New World Order” is planned by global elites. Vowing to fight any legislation to ban “assault weapons,” the Oath Keepers have announced rallies at state houses across the nation on Friday with the aim of sending a message to lawmakers that the “they will be held accountable if they choose to dishonor” their oath to the Constitution.

    At issue are plans on both federal and state levels for increased gun regulations following the Dec. 14 slaying of 26 people in a Connecticut elementary school –– regulations that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes says are being pushed by “disarmament freaks.”

    In a December manifesto entitled “My Personal Pledge of Resistance Against Any Attempt to Disarm Us by Means of an ‘Assault Weapons Ban,’” Rhodes denounced federal efforts to rob him of “every terrible implement of the soldier” and vowed not to disarm, “regardless of what law is passed by the oath breakers in Congress, or signed into law by the oath breaker in the White House.”

    “It is the height of Orwellian perversion of language and logic to say that disarming you of the most effective arms for combat that you still have is somehow not really disarming you, because you still have hunting rifles and shotguns,” Rhodes wrote, referring to calls to restrict or ban “assault rifles.” “And you can bet that if you let them take your military semi-autos, next on their list will be your bolt action rifles, which they will call ‘sniper rifles’ (and by God, that is certainly what they are good for!).”

    It is unclear what the turnout to the rallies will be, but in the past hundreds of Oath Keepers have answered calls to muster in such places at Quartzsite, Ariz., where Rhodes insisted the New World Order had begun its power grab just last year. And just as it did then –– despite its charged rhetoric –– the Oath Keepers are again calling for “peaceful demonstrations.”

    All the same, a different statement seems to be coming from the rank-and-file.

    As someone calling himself James C. Ferris wrote on the Oath Keepers’ website on Wednesday, “I believe it is time we did like they did in 1776,” he said. “There is no use in havind [sic] our guns if we won’t use them.”

  2. BlueMeanie,

    I am know by many as Green Party Dave having run for Pima County Sheriff twice and Mayor of Tucson three times and I am not “of far-right extremist groups” I am a US Army veteran and member of Oath Keepers. Frank Antenori is a far-right extremist and a US Army Veteran but he is not an Oath Keeper. Brian Miller is not a far-right extrimist but he is an Oath Keeper. Please be informed as to what Oath Keepers are.

  3. But see, in the tea-Bircher mind, the 14th Amendment doesn’t exist. Only the 2nd and 10th Amendments. And the 2nd Amendment only exists for whites, not for those “colored” folk.