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I remember reading Jed's story on the Arizona State Senate going tenther this morning, and sighing heavily while facepalming. Then when I went to the Mississippi State Capitol today and had a look at Senate Bill 2224, I facepalmed even harder.

This looks like a widespread, meticulously organized teapublican effort to encourage secession without using the dreaded S-word.

More below the fold.

It seems Mississippi State Senator Joey Fillingane (R-Sumrall) is out to prove an election year point by appealing to the most extreme fringe of the far right time and again.

Since the start of the 2011 session, the chairman of Mississippi's Senate Judiciary A Committee has brought forth several tea-soaked bills that reek of partisan pandering and paranoia contrived by right-wing media. Some of the more egregious ones include SB 2179, which essentially replicates Arizona's SB 1070 in the state of Mississippi. Another dubiously xenophobic race-baiting measure authored by Fillingane includes SB 2255, which forces providers of international monetary wire transfers to levy a tax that goes toward financing the construction of a border wall on the U.S./Mexico line, instead of, say, the drastically underfunded Mississippi Department of Public Safety. Not to leave out a tip of the hat to the Evangelical Right, Fillingane attempts to reinforce the patently false narrative of Christian oppression in public schools with SB 2101, the so-called "Mississippi Student Religious Liberties Act of 2011." Even though children are free to pray in public schools whenever they please, this bill subtly implies that the civil liberties of students in a overwhelmingly Christian state are somehow under attack and need protection.

These bills are all blatantly partisan in their own right. But the icing on Fillingane's anti-American tea cake is SB 2224, a bold appeal to the "Tenther" vote. If passed, this legislation would effectively create a six-member House and Senate panel, called the "Restoring the Tenth Amendment Committee," with the explicit job of pointing out any federal law  or "unfunded mandate" they deem to be "unconstitutional." Fillingane makes no bones about which "unconstitutional" laws his proposed committee would focus on:

"This definition shall specifically include legislation relating to health care, financial reform, and gun control, or any other legislation not provided for or sanctioned by the Constitution of Mississippi or the Constitution of the United States." (diarist emphasis in bold)

I'm sure Senator Fillingane obviously wouldn't use the term "secession," but states choosing to ignore the law of the U.S. government carries out the same intent as seceding. Besides, the mere attempt to dismiss existing federal law is unconstitutional, so says the Supremacy Clause in Article 6, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made...shall be the supreme law of the land."

The U.S. Constitution refutes the Tenthers yet again in the Privileges and Immunities clause in the 14th Amendment.

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

I'm sure Jed Lewison and readers of his piece yesterday would agree with me that Senator Fillingane's rejection of the supreme law of the land is also his rejection of the U.S. Constitution, pure and simple.

Perhaps his actions this session are simply the result of pressure from dedicated right-wing activists in his constituency and his attempt to meet their demands. Although in a statewide election year, perhaps Senator Fillingane's desperate attempts to appeal to the far right are instead based out of fear of losing his senate seat this fall to a primary challenger, who might choose to acknowledge that the freshman senator is a 39-year-old public official without a wife or children, living in a district full of traditional Christian conservatives.

Progressives be warned; the tea virus is seeping into the halls of statehouses all over the country. Americans thirsty for real solutions to hemorraghing jobs, rapacious income inequality, declining public health and lackluster public education should focus on electing leaders that act in the interests of working families, not the interests of Fox News viewers.

We can start by showing up to the statehouse and encouraging our representatives and senators to govern with their minds and hearts, not their teacups.

Originally posted to Free Chicken and Beer on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 02:21 PM PST.


Are your state legislators drinking the tea?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    "God made us number one 'cause he loves us the best. Well maybe he should go bless someone else for awhile, give us a rest." -Ben Folds

    by Free Chicken and Beer on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 02:21:02 PM PST

  •  You need another poll option (11+ / 0-)

    I live in AZ and lobbying at the capital is useless.  I am working to get more dems elected in 2012, and supporting groups sueing the state to prevent these laws from going into effect in the meantime.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 02:27:05 PM PST

  •  I'm so sorry that this disease is spreading (5+ / 0-)

    to your state.  It's bad enough that we have to deal with it here, without exporting it all over teabagger country.

  •  These tenther bills (7+ / 0-)

    are a prime example of government waste, fraud and abuse because they are obviously unconstitutional.

    But that bill about a MS state tax on international monetary wire transfers that will be used for a border fence that will not be in or near the state is even more absurd.

    Though the entertainment value of a tea party Republican Congress is substantial, what happening in the states (e.g., Georgia) is far more whacked-out and mockable.


    A public option for health insurance is a national priority.

    by devtob on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 02:34:14 PM PST

  •  Future Conflicts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wreck Smurfy, Larsstephens

    So, when a state legislature votes to nullify a federal law, and someone wins a ruling in federal court that the state nullification is unconstitutional, and that ruling withstands appeal, and the state refuses to rescind its nullification of the federal law...what then?

  •  I heard this morning on MSNBC that MS has (5+ / 0-)

    the highest percentage of folks per capita on food stamps than any other state.

    I love to see how the state would manage all those hungry, less fortunate people if they did actually manage to secede.

  •  Nullification =/= secession (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paleo, Larsstephens

    Instead of saying "we don't like the Constitution; we're out of here," they're putting forth a particular interpretation of the Constitution that favors their policy preferences.  I think everyone reading this would agree that it's a nutty interpretation, but it's one that has a fair amount of support in surprisingly high places.  If they were actually fantasizing about secession, we could dismiss them as fringe players who could never affect mainstream discourse.  However, they've been busy over the last 40 years training (at right-wing law schools) and promoting (through appointments) state and federal jurists who really believe this shit.

    It seems like a minor point -- but I find it's generally counterproductive to mischaracterize the opposition.  

    In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people!

    by cardinal on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 02:52:27 PM PST

    •  Sovereignty (4+ / 0-)

      Nullification is about sovereignty.  What if the federal judiciary concludes a state's particular attempt to nullify is unconstitutional, but the state refuses to back down?  The choice appears to be to enforce federal sovereignty or concede the Constitution.

      •  That would indeed be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        a sticky issue.  It's hard to predict what would happen, though, since we're so far from that (at least for the moment).

        In Rand McNally, they wear hats on their feet, and hamburgers eat people!

        by cardinal on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 03:16:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You go Andrew Jackson on them and mean it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, weinerschnauzer

        When South Carolina pulled this crap in the 1820s Jackson basically said he'd send federal troops into the state and start hanging the first rebels he found from the first trees he saw. Jackson's VP, South Carolinian John Calhoun got the hint and the Nullifiers backed down because they knew Jackson would make good on his threat. I've become less and less of a fan of Jackson as I've gotten older but he arguably prevented a civil war with that move.

        Let 'em pass their useless 10ther bills, but if Mississippi, Arizona. or any other state defies a ruling striking down these laws, go iron fist on 'em. Or Iron Fist, if that's your preference.

        Two things are universal--hydrogen and stupidity. --Frank Zappa

        by AustinCynic on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 05:39:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's an important point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The difference between John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis.  I wish they'd secede.  I'd hold the door for them.

      You must compete by working more for less. Mush!

      by Paleo on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 03:49:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please, please, MS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sweettp2063, Larsstephens

    make our day. Go ahead and secede. Then the net drain of MS on the national treasury will be eliminated. How's that for deficit reduction?

  •  there are certain states which... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...are not so critically important to the future well-being of this particular would be very much appreciated not only if they just tried to seceded, but if they were allowed to successfully do so.

    Am not sure if Mississippi is one of those states...
    but with legislators like these holding elective office and feeling they can speak openly about such things...makes me wonder...if they don't have more than their fair share of radical right-wing extremists, homophobes, racists and nutjobs like this particular legislator.

    •  With all due respect... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't much care for the elitist implication that some states are "not so critically important to the future well-being of America" compared to other states, or for the implication that the union would be better off if states like mine were not a part of it.

      And just an FYI, Mississippi is responsible for some of America's most celebrated activists (Fannie Lou Hamer, Medgar Evers, the Freedom Riders) popular literary figures (Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, John Grisham) founders of American music (Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Elvis, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker) and other influential figures in pop culture (Oprah, James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Buffett, etc.) America would be profoundly lacking in culture were it not for Mississippi.

      I'm a Kentucky native and a Mississippi resident, but I'm also a staunch liberal progressive and a friend to many progressive legislators. I'd appreciate it if Kossacks avoided any broad, sweeping generalizations of my state's population based on the remarks and actions of some incompetent legislators.

      "God made us number one 'cause he loves us the best. Well maybe he should go bless someone else for awhile, give us a rest." -Ben Folds

      by Free Chicken and Beer on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 04:03:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Read the bill first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This diary is incorrect.  
    The Arizona bill purported to provide for a mechanism to nullify Federal law.  Such a mechanism is beyond the power of Arizona and is itself unconstitutional.

    The Mississippi bill linked to here merely empowers a committee to (i) issue reports about federal laws it believes unconstitutional and (ii) file comments with Federal agencies when the committee believes the agencies are promulgating unconstitutional regulations.
    Whatever, the wisdom of the Mississippi proposal, it is clearly constitutional and, unlike the Arizona proposal, does not purport to nullify Federal law.

  •  Just wondering. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Just wondering ... if all 50 states plus the District of Columbia independently seceded, simultaneously, who would pay the USA's $14 trillion debt?  Wouldn't the USA be like a shell corporation, left with debt but no assets?

    If 20 states seceded, leaving 30 states in the USA, would seceding states have to pay their share of the debt, and if so, would that payment be calculated by Senate proportionment (1/50th each) or by House proportionment (based upon population).

  •  Missing option in the poll: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Yes.  But I'm in a deep red state where everybody in the legislature is bat-shit crazy, and lobbying those assholes would be as useful as looking for living brain cells down in Outer Glennbeckistan."

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius

    by IndieGuy on Thu Feb 03, 2011 at 06:42:26 PM PST

  •  Nullification is not quite secessionism (0+ / 0-)

    Jefferson didn't think the SCOTUS had the right to decide laws were unconstitutional (at least until Justice Marshall gave him what he wanted) so when President Adams got Congress to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts, Jefferson and his friends got Virginia and Kentucky to nullify them. That didn't mean that President Jefferson was a secessionist, though. It meant he was wrong. Curiously Jackson thought he had the right to decide nullification was unconstitutional, probably because the law South Carolina nullified was one that he had signed. :-)

  •  Let's face it - Lincoln blew it, nt (0+ / 0-)

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