Monday, February 23, 2009


If you haven't been paying attention, an article in Human Events makes it clear: the craziest opponents of the Obama administration are fighting the stimulus plan using the disturbingly familiar language of states' rights:

State governors -- looking down the gun barrel of long-term spending forced on them by the Obama "stimulus" plan -- are saying they will refuse to take the money. This is a Constitutional confrontation between the federal government and the states unlike any in our time.

In the first five weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has acted so rashly that at least 11 states have decided that his brand of "hope" equates to an intolerable expansion of the federal government's authority over the states. These states -- Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas -- have passed resolutions reminding Obama that the 10th Amendment protects the rights of the states, which are the rights of the people, by limiting the power of the federal government. These resolutions call on Obama to "cease and desist" from his reckless government expansion and also indicate that federal laws and regulations implemented in violation of the 10th Amendment can be nullified by the states.

... The use of the 10th Amendment in conjunction with nullification garnered much attention in 1828, when the federal government passed a tariff that southerners believed affected them disproportionately. When the 1828 tariff was complemented by another in 1832, Vice President John C. Calhoun resigned the Vice Presidency to lead his home state of South Carolina in pursuit of an "ordinance of nullification," ...

... his efforts culminated in a tense affair referred to as the "nullification crisis," ...

The Nullification Crisis, of course, was a prelude of sorts to the Civil War. The rest of this language is rather similar to language heard in the South in the 1960s.

I should note that the Human Events article is exaggeration the success of this movement -- the New Hampshire resolution, for instance (HCR6), hasn't actually passed, and the California resolution actually dates to 1994.

In any event, Glenn Beck is talking this up, The Washington Times is plugging the movement -- and I think there's a good chance we'll soon have chin-scratching mainstream journalists furrowing their brows and asking thoughtfully whether Barack Obama is engaged in an unconstitutional power grab.

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