You know how I say it’s hard to be from here sometimes?
Yeah, about that…it ain’t going to get easier any time soon, apparently, because the first thing the jackasses and miscreants in the GOP did was pre-file the same unconstitutional nonsense bills this year that failed last year. Hey, we all know the definition of insanity, right?
About thirty years ago, mental hospitals started shutting down. Well, all those crazy people had to go somewhere, and in Missouri, apparently, we’ve decided to put them in the state legislature. I guess the idea behind that notion was that since the lege is only in session 5 ½ months a year, and their most egregious and blatant nonsense won’t ever see the light of day because the courts will strike it down, what was the harm? They were localized and monitored and it seemed a workable solution for a while.
But lately, I’ve been getting a queasy feeling about the miscreants in the Missouri legislature…like maybe they really are representative of the people who elect them, and if that’s the case, what the hell happened to my state while we were bouncing from billet-to-billet assuring y’all could sleep soundly in your beds at night?
But Brian Nieves – you may remember him from some of his past hits, like brandishing a gun at the legislative aid of an opponent or dreweling upon a constituents assembled arsenal…He manages to stand out in the crowd.
Now look – I realize we live in an era of crazier-than-thou republicanism, but even by today’s in-panoramic-technicolor, tea-party idiots in made-in-China-from-synthetic-fibers period costumes, Missouri’s state lege stands out. There is only one constraint on them – term limits – and under the circumstances, they don’t mean much. It just means that they are really motivated to get in the good graces of the money folks in the short time they have there. That way they can move from their gig as a legislator to a sinecure at a partisan, special-interest law or public relations firm, maybe even become a lobbyist. They sure as hell don’t want to go back to Sikeston or Llamar or Bethany or any of those other god-forsaken hellholes they got elected to get the hell out of.
And I have to hand it to Nieves. He’s really made a name for himself. In the wingnut sweepstakes, he’s really set himself apart. The state was spared the expense of defending an unconstitutional firearms nullification law last year when the House failed to override the Governor’s veto of last year’s model. Well, the gun lobby is back. This year they have already filed the Second Amendment Reinterpretation Act – what’s that? I got the name wrong? It’s actually The Second Amendment Preservation Act? To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, “That word, they keep using that word but I do not think it means what they think it means.” In other words, I think my name for this nonsense is more accurate.
This law is not identical in wording to last year’s run at this particular windmill, but the spirit’s the same. Nieves and company aren’t conservatives and they are an insult to true Republicans. They are neoconfederate revanchists. This fact needs to be pointed out, frequently and loudly, and they need to be brought to heel.
They call themselves “Constitutional Conservatives.” Fine. Let’s start there. Hell, I’ll even go ’em one better and start with the Holy Second Amendment:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
What part of “well regulated” lets them ignore federal laws? Since they all carry their pocket Constitutions with them everywhere they go (so do I – the ACLU gives them away for free; the difference is, I have read mine…all of it…I’ve not just read it, but I understand it, too). Since they claim they’re strict “Constitutional Conservatives” I would ask them to turn to Article VI:
All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
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.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
That first bit just means the founders were men of honor who intended to pay the country’s debts, no matter what the operator’s manual was called. But the rest of it…that means that not only does the federal law reign supreme and therefore it ain’t a gray area that’s open for debate; it means that state laws are subsequent to the US Constitution and the US CODE.
But more than that, Nieves and all legislators are bound by Article VI of the US Constitution not to willfully and blatantly make unconstitutional law, and by filing that bill, he and all the cosponsors who signed on to it are in violation of an article, not a mere amendment, because the oath they take as legislators binds them to uphold the US Constitution.
Besides, we already settled that whole question of nullification back in the 1860s – and it didn’t go particularly well for the nullifiers.
What this bill is, is a thumb in the eye of the city-folk in KC and St. Louis – and to a certain extent that black fella in the White House – but mostly they like spiting us. You remember us, the folks who pay the god-damned bills for the state.
I don’t begrudge rural roads, water, bridges, schools or healthcare. But god-damn, would it be too much to ask for y’all to elect sane representation who don’t want to destroy those things for you just to spite us – when we’re big enough to take care of ourselves and just shake our heads at your idiocy and go ahead and have nice things without you?
I do have an idea for an amendment to our “kitchen sink” state constitution, though, and I bet the voters would approve it with 85% of the vote. The bill for defending in court such blatantly unconstitutional, grandstanding laws that are destined to be struck down should be collected from the grandstanding legislators who filed and voted for the unconstitutional bill, not the taxpayers of the state.