Tuesday, July 29, 2014


The Daily Beast's Ben Jacobs has published a somewhat misleading story about Joni Ernst, the Republican Party's Senate candidate in Iowa:
Exclusive: GOP Senate Candidate Caught Saying States Can Nullify Laws

Joni Ernst, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Iowa, appears to believe states can nullify federal laws. In a video obtained by The Daily Beast, Ernst said on September 13, 2013 at a forum held by the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition that Congress should not pass any laws "that the states would consider nullifying."

"You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator why should we be passing laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws. We’re right...we've gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment's states' rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators -- as senators or congressman -- that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line."
(The clip is posted below.)

Over at NewsBusters, Ken Shepherd challenges the Beast's characterization of Ernst's remarks -- and he has a point:
Jacobs includes for his viewers a video clip lasting about a minute long. Of course, nothing in the video suggests an explicit endorsement of nullification, and Ernst's point is that it is incumbent on federal legislators to not vote for unconstitutional intrusions on the areas of policy best left states and localities.
Well, that's true. Ernst avoids saying explicitly that she supports nullification. She's says only that the federal government should never enact a law that will be challenged in the states on Tenth Amendment grounds.

But think about that for a moment. Ernst thinks that no law should ever be enacted in Washington "that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line."

Really? No law? Ever?

So the federal government should never have passed the laws listed below, all of which the states (or others) considered nullifying -- and in some cases succeeded in nullifying?

(The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, struck down the Child Labor Act in 1918 on Tenth Amendment grounds.)

That's from William Leuchtenburg's essay "The Tenth Amendment Over Two Centuries." That's a list of laws states individuals "consider[ed] nullifying" under the Tenth Amendment -- which means that Joni Ernst thinks none of those laws ever should have been passed.

Isn't that right, Joni?


Tom Hilton said...

The thing that leaps out at me is "200 plus years". Usually the nullification movement pegs it at 150, with Lincoln's tyrannical war against the freedom-loving slave states being the original sin. Ernst seems to be looking back much further...to, I dunno, the Louisiana Purchase maybe?

Dark Avenger said...

Marbury Vs Madison, perhaps?

Yastreblyansky said...

@Tom--It really is 200+ years, first rejected by the Supreme Court in 1809. But as Mr. Pierce says, the "nullification movement" has written the actual history of nullification out of the discussion, though, and especially the vile figure of John C. Calhoun and the Nullification Crisis of 1828, in pretending it isn't about slavery but about freedom.

Roger said...

Joni needs to hog castrate the guy to her left ... he's sportin' wingnut wood.

Then, a drum solo.