What Fresh Hell Is This?

June 24, 2015

Daryl Metcalfe And Neo-Succesionist Nullification

Today, I start with this piece at the Huffingtonpost by Charles J. Reid, Professor of Law, University of St. Thomas. He starts by denouncing the so-called "Confederate Flag"and then turns the course of his argument a bit:
But we should go deeper than asking for symbolic change, as important as that is. I'd like in particular to call attention to a troubling development found mostly in deep red, Republican states, and that is the unholy marriage between Confederate ideology and the Second Amendment.

The bond that unites Confederate ideology and the Second Amendment is the idea of "nullification." This is the belief that the states are the ultimate arbiters of what is or is not constitutional and that the states are thus always free to ignore federal law. States and not the courts, on this warped view of the Constitution, judge what is or is not constitutional.
And he frames "nullification" in to a 19th Century historical context:
Nullification, in other words, was a prominent feature of the constitutional theory that justified the Confederacy. It was a doctrine finally repudiated by the Civil War and by the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868.

What does this history have to do with the Second Amendment? Simply this: Nullification, a concept that should have died a century and a half ago, has been resurrected from the tomb by gun-rights extremists and is triumphing in legislature after legislature in America's deep-red states.
Not so fast, Bub.  Maybe not even in some deep-red states.  And for all things wingnutty, we can as always turn to State Representative Daryl Metcalfe and the legislation he's sponsoring, HR 357 (as in 357.  Do you get it?  Well, do you, punk?).  From Metcalfe's co-sponsorship memo:
I am currently having legislation drafted that is similar to firearm legislation introduced in Wyoming. My legislation would prohibit the enforcement of any new federal restriction, prohibition or registration requirement for firearms, magazines, and ammunition. My legislation would also require the state to intercede on behalf of Pennsylvania citizens against any federal attempt to register, ban or restrict the purchase or ownership of firearms and firearms accessories which are currently legal products.
And from the bill itself:
General rule.--A Federal law, rule, regulation or order created or taking effect after December 31, 2012, shall be unenforceable within the borders of this Commonwealth if the law, rule, regulation or order attempts to register, restrict or ban the ownership or purchase of a firearm, magazine of a firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition.

Penalty.--An official, agent or employee of the Federal Government, Commonwealth or political subdivision who enforces or attempts to enforce a Federal law under subsection (a) commits a felony of the third degree and, upon conviction, shall be subject to imprisonment for not less than one year or more than seven years, a fine of not more than $15,000, or both.
Nullification, right there.  In the not that deep red State of Pennsylvania.  Too bad the States have no authority to override federal law nor to decide which federal law is constitutional:
In Edgar v. Mite Corp., 457 U.S. 624, 632 (U.S. 1982) it was held that “a state statute is void to the extent that it actually conflicts with a valid federal statute” and that a conflict will be found either where compliance with both federal and state law is impossible or where the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objectives of Congress.
Does Daryl Metcalfe not know this?

I guess it's a moot point since nullification is in itself a denial of Constitutional authority (hey, I thought these Tea Party folks looooved the Constitution??).

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Daryl Metcalfe, Pennsylvania's very own neo-confederate nullificationist!

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