Thursday, January 22, 2015

Huckabee/GOP: Nullification Now Coming to the Supreme Court

I still recall being stunned when Mike Huckabee appeared on Morning Joe and admitted that he wanted to replace the United States Constitution with the Bible.  The man as much as admitted on national television that he wanted a theocracy.  Now, Huckabee - and other far right elements in the GOP - are urging states to ignore any potential ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that may be handed down that extends same sex marriage nationwide.  It's basically the same argument that the Southern States made during the lead up to the Civil War and was made again in the 1950's and 1960's when the federal courts forced desegregation in the Deep South.  The Atlantic looks at Huckabee's near treasonous batshitery (Note: lunatic GOP Senator Joni Ernst supports nullification).  Here are excerpts:
When the Tea Party wave arrived in 2010, it swept away much of the Republican Party's existing structure, and instituted a more populist approach. But as waves tend to do, it left some even older debris in its wake. "Nullification," the theory that states can invalidate federal laws that they deem unconstitutional, had its heyday in the slavery debate that preceded the Civil War, but it has found new currency since 2010.

The theory has never been validated by a federal court, yet some Republican officeholders have suggested states can nullify laws, including Senator Joni Ernst, who gave the GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union. 

Now Mike Huckabee seems to be opening up a new front. The Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case on whether same-sex-marriage bans are unconstitutional. There's no such thing as a sure bet with the Court, but many watchers on both sides of the issue believe the justices will strike down the bans. Some conservatives seem resigned to the fact that the fight is lost; not Huckabee. Here's what he told radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday:
One thing I am angry about, though, Hugh, is this notion of judicial supremacy, where if the courts make a decision, I hear governors and even some aspirants to the presidency say well, that’s settled, and it’s the law of the land. No, it isn’t the law of the land. Constitutionally, the courts cannot make a law. They can interpret one. And then the legislature has to create enabling legislation, and the executive has to sign it, and has to enforce it.
Hewitt seemed a little taken aback: Was Huckabee counseling that county clerks simply ignore Supreme Court rulings and refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

That's not an entirely novel idea, as Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, should know. In 1957, the state believed it could block the Little Rock School Board from adhering to the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.* President Eisenhower disagreed, and dispatched troops to show Governor Orval Faubus how wrong he was. Faubus is not an historical model most contemporary politicians would be willing to follow.

Huckabee's legal analysis seems off, too. What happens when a court rules against such a marriage law is that a specific provision—a clause that defines marriage as involving one man and one woman, for instance—is defined as unconstitutional. That doesn't invalidate the entirety of a state's marriage laws, so the rest stand and there's no need for the legislature or governor to act. By analogy, Loving v. Virginia didn't invalidate all of the Commonwealth of Virginia's marriage laws; it just meant interracial unions were no longer prohibited. Presumably, a state could avoid having to sanction gay marriages by simply eliminating civil marriage altogether. That's been suggested in Oklahoma, for example, but no state has actually done so.

Huckabee wants conservative states that oppose gay marriage to be able to keep opposing it, but he isn't suggesting dissolving the federal government wholesale. He still wants states to generally be bound by national laws. But if some states can pick and choose laws, others will surely do the same—and in such a polarized national landscape, they'll start picking and choosing increasingly contradictory options.

It's a ticket to dissolving the union, all in the name of preventing same-sex unions.
 If Huckabee wants to live under a theocracy, I say deport him to Iran or Saudi Arabia.  I suspect that he would not like being treated they way he wants to treat others.  If we were lucky, maybe the Saudis would execute him for blasphemy against Islam.  

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