The Montana TEA Party jumped into the Montana Supreme Court race this week. A shadow group for TEA Party Republican Jason Priest has put out a mailer on behalf of right-wing Supreme Court candidate Laurie McKinnon.
Yet while Priest depicts McKinnon has the rule-of-law candidate, her biggest supporters--Priest and the TEA Party--are intent on forcing a law that would mean the exact opposite.
I'm talking about nullification. Montana State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is one of the nullification movement’s leaders. The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session. However, the fact that the Supreme Court would declare the bills unconstitutional helped Democrats and moderate Republicans join forces to defeat the nullification bills time after time. Governor Schweitzer called the bills “anti-American.”
Besides seeking a nullification-friendly Supreme Court, TEA Party Republicans are also pushing a constitutional amendment to let state legislatures nullify federal laws.They're calling the amendment the "Repeal Amendment".
Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is listed among the dozen or so supporters of the amendment.
“Montanans are a liberty-minded people and I will proudly sponsor the Article V application for the Repeal Amendment in the Montana Legislature to send a clear, strong message to Washington that we are a sovereign state with Montana-made solutions to today’s challenges.”Priest is the TEA Party Republican who made national news for posting comments to Facebook using “hateful, homophobic talk” to argue his dislike for paying taxes.
Priest set up a shadow group to put out the mailer with the innocuous sounding name "Montana Growth Network." It has the look and feel of a mailer put out by a mainstream group so as not to alert the public about the impetus behind it. Speaking to group of Tea Party followers, apparently unaware of a running camera, Priest said, it was important to talk to non-TEA Party types “in ways that aren’t offensive to them. That’s a good lesson to learn. I would rather tell them they’re insane… Is that camera on?” Supreme Court judges are elected in statewide, nonpartisan races in Montana.
I've posted a PDF of the mailer at the Montana Cowgirl Blog where this diary is cross-posted.