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President Obama's gun control proposals have predictably—and disturbingly—spawned protests with names like "Gun Appreciation Day" and the Feb. 23 "Day of Resistance." But with their bills calling for the nullification of new national gun laws and the imprisonment of federal officials enforcing them, some supposed defenders of the Second Amendment have apparently confused the Confederate Constitution with our own.

The Article VI Supremacy Clause is unambiguous in stating that the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States "shall be the supreme Law of the Land." Nevertheless, tea party inspired Republicans did not read the document they claim to love. As ABC News explained:

From the Mississippi governor to lawmakers in Texas, Missouri and Wyoming, even local sheriffs in Oregon and Kentucky, many of those who oppose the president's proposal believe it is within their legal right to not only refuse to enforce federal legislation, but to make it a crime for a federal agent to try and enforce the law in their states.
Despite near-universal condemnation from legal scholars calling their proposed state statutes "outrageously unenforceable" and "pure political theater," Republicans in Arizona and Texas are advocating for "gun secession bills" nullifying federal laws and making their enforcement within state lines a felony. Encouraged by Gov. Phil Bryant, Mississippi Republican state Reps. Gary Chism and Jeff Smith filed a bill this month to form a "Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Laws." The Mississippi Balance of Powers Act reads in part:
If the Mississippi State Legislature votes by simple majority to neutralize any federal statute, mandate or executive order on the grounds of its lack of proper constitutionality, then the state and its citizens shall not recognize or be obligated to live under the statute, mandate or executive order.
But while these and other Republicans claim the Tenth Amendment is the basis for their ridiculous assertions of state sovereignty, their real inspiration seems to come from the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.

Continue reading below the fold.

In most respects, the CSA Constitution is nearly identical to the American one, even including its own Supremacy Clause. Otherwise, that document produced by rebels and traitors was one only a tea partier could love:

Language promoting "the general welfare" was omitted, while the right to own slaves was explicitly guaranteed although foreign slave trade was forbidden).

The president, serving a single six-year term, was given line-item veto power over the budget, and his cabinet awarded nonvoting seats in Congress. To guarantee Southerners their much-desired states' rights, the federal government had no authority to levy protective tariffs, make internal improvements, or overrule state court decisions, while states had the right to sustain their own armies and enter into separate agreements with one another, and were given greater power in amending the constitution.

That's not all. Starting with its Preamble, it is the CSA Constitution which seems to provide talking points for today's Republican gun control foes:
We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.
And in the Article I, Section 2 of the Confederate Constitution, supposed Second Amendment defenders can find the grounds for removing federal judges and officials in their respective states:
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment; except that any judicial or other Federal officer, resident and acting solely within the limits of any State, may be impeached by a vote of two-thirds of both branches of the Legislature thereof.
But Republican opponents of the president's common sense—and popular—proposals to curb violence don't need to take his word for it that their schemes are suspect under the United States Constitution. As Justice Antonin Scalia explained during their last bout of secessionitis over what became the Affordable Care Act, "If there was any constitutional issue resolved by the Civil War, it is that there is no right to secede." And as the New York Times reported in December, Scalia in his majority opinion in the Heller case made clear that a wide range of firearms regulations would still pass constitutional muster:
Still, the decision also contained a long list of laws and regulations that would, the court said, be unaffected. Among them were "laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools."

"Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill," Justice Scalia wrote. Government buildings in general could still ban guns. And the court said it had no quarrel with "laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms."

Justice Scalia added that laws banning "dangerous and unusual weapons" are "another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms." He gave an example: "M-16 rifles and the like."

When the case was argued in 2008, Justice Scalia suggested that other kinds of weapons and ammunition could be regulated. "I don't know that a lot of people have machine guns or armor-piercing bullets," he said. "I think that's quite unusual."

Not as unusual as Republican claims that states can nullify federal guns laws and imprison federal law enforcement officers. Just because they're not happy that Barack Obama is sitting in the White House in Washington in 2013, they can't pretend Jefferson Davis is sitting in the Confederate White House in Richmond in 1863.

Originally posted to Jon Perr on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:17 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Confederate Constitution? (7+ / 0-)

    Are they really going to put the country through this shit again?

    "Hey----Hey---NRA---How many kids have you killed today?"

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:25:39 PM PST

  •  John C. Calhoun and nullification redux (13+ / 0-)

    We had this argument back in the middle of the 19th century.  The nullification side lost.  But right wingers and the gun crowd are still howling at the moon, hoping to revive this long-dead doctrine to stop President Obama and his nefarious scheme to confiscate their precious guns.

    It's an effort based on two equally ridiculous things -- a now-discredited theory of constitutional law and a paranoid fantasy that our very deliberately centrist president is secretly plotting to round up the hundreds of millions of guns in this country.  In other words, it's something only the Tea Party base of the Republican Party could love.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:26:57 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary. n/t (5+ / 0-)

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:30:30 PM PST

  •  Jefferson Davis discovered that state's rights (10+ / 0-)

    in time of war didn't work out very well.  Governor Joe E. Brown of Georgia was particularly irksome to President Davis.  Brown resisted the draft as a violation of Georgia's sovereign rights, and eventually pulled the Georgia militias out of the Confederate army.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:35:09 PM PST

  •  I said it before and I'll say it again. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, FrankRose

    The Second Amendment is too damned important to be left in the hands of these yahoos.

    A smart sheriff would challenge the constitutionality of the law, while circumventing it through an entirely legal mechanism: declaring all law-abiding gun owners in their jurisdiction to be county deputies, thereby extending the exemption to the whole citizenry.  That's apparently too much to hope for from these guys.

    •  You don't see any problem with (4+ / 0-)
      declaring all law-abiding gun owners in their jurisdiction to be county deputies
      The law-abiding not abiding the law by becoming phony county deputies ?
      What would happen when that B.S. was challenged in court ?
      What would happen when a phony county deputy gets in trouble ?
      Does a victim get to sue the "smart sheriff" ?

      It would be justice if all the phony county deputies lost their rights to own guns because they didn't comply with gun laws ? Or don't you agree that people who willfully disregard gun laws should lose their right to possess guns ?

      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

      by indycam on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:49:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  None at all. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Answering your questions, in order:

        1. The law-abiding not abiding by the law cease to be law-abiding, obviously.

        2. Challenged on what grounds?

        3. Same thing that happens to any official getting in trouble when not on duty.

        4. If the deputy is acting under the color of the sheriff's authority, yeah.

        But I'll ease your mind.  You setup a reserve or an auxiliary, just like many sheriffs today without uproar, and you secure police powers to those on active duty.  Problem solved.

        I believe people who willfully disregard gun laws should have their day in court, particularly gun laws as onerous as proposed in S.150.  And what would you charge these deputies with?

        •  ... (2+ / 0-)

          1) "cease to be law-abiding" .
          2) Interesting question , never on duty , no pay , no insurance , etc etc etc ...
          3) When would they be on duty ? Never ?
          4) If they are never on duty ...

          But I'll ease your mind.
          Not so much , that's just the same BS reworded . Fake phony county deputy , reserve or auxiliary set up for the avoidance of the necessity of compliance with gun laws .

          Does the name Sheriff Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio ring any bell with you ?

          You would advise games to be played so that people could avoid compiling with the laws re guns . That's not a respectable position to take .

          "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

          by indycam on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:28:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a very respectable position to take. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            These deputies would be complying with the law.  It's not their fault that gun control lobby is displeased with the result.

            There are over 3,000 counties in the United States, and the first one that pops in your mind is Maricopa?  That's your problem, not ours.

            Now to your responses:

            1. Glad we agree on that.
            2. Oh, they could be conceivable called up, paid, and placed on county insurance for the duration of their duty.  But what does that matter?  How are those grounds for challenging the sheriff's prerogative to appoint deputies?
            3. Does that matter?
            4. Again, does that matter?

            •  "not ours" ? Are you more than one person ? (0+ / 0-)
              and the first one that pops in your mind is Maricopa?
              Did I mention a county ?
              Does the name Sheriff Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio ring any bell with you ?
              These deputies would be complying with the law.
              If they are "complying with the law" then why do the phony run around ?
              It's not their fault that gun control lobby is displeased with the result.
              Its not a "gun control lobby" problem , its a "complying with the law" problem .

              "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

              by indycam on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:54:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Gun owners. We're more than one person, yes. (0+ / 0-)

                You mentioned Maricopa's lunatic sheriff.  I assumed you knew what county he runs.

                It's not a complying with the law problem.  These proposed deputies would be in full compliance with the law.  I ask you to show otherwise.

                •  So do I get to post in the "plural" also ? (0+ / 0-)
                  You mentioned Maricopa's lunatic sheriff.  I assumed you knew what county he runs.
                  But I did not mention the county ? You jumped to
                  There are over 3,000 counties in the United States, and the first one that pops in your mind is Maricopa?
                  I still don't see any explanation of why you jumped from "Sheriff Joseph M. "Joe" Arpaio" to "There are over 3,000 counties in the United States, and the first one that pops in your mind is Maricopa?" Is it just some sort of game ?

                  "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

                  by indycam on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:18:14 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You can post however you want. (0+ / 0-)

                    Counties have these things called sheriffs.  You picked that one out of a hat. I'm asking why.

                    •  ... (0+ / 0-)
                      Counties have these things called sheriffs.
                      And you are pointing that out because ...
                      You picked that one out of a hat.
                      Really ? That's an interesting claim .
                      I'm asking why.
                      You are asking why I picked one out of a hat ? First you say I picked one out of a hat and then you ask why ?

                      "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

                      by indycam on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 04:42:17 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  FYI (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        CA wildwoman

                        I think you're dealing with a troll, so I wouldn't bother engaging any further.  This user has been a member of DK less than a week and from what I can see of his/her comment history, has done nothing other than comment in diaries or posts regarding gun control.  All of the comments are, not surprisingly, opposed to gun regulation, and a number of them are full of ad hom about anyone who disagrees with the user.

                        I suspect this one will be gone before too long, but for the moment, I'd just suggest not feeding it.

                        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                        by FogCityJohn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:56:53 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

      •  owning a gun is MY Constitutional right...and so.. (0+ / 0-)
        Or don't you agree that people who willfully disregard gun laws should lose their right to possess guns ?
        Guess it would depend on the law, if it is a law designed to deny a constitutional right, and with that law it meant I wouldn't have my rights anymore, I would certainly disobey it.
    •  This is gibberish. (0+ / 0-)

      What law are you referring to?  The nullification laws being proposed in places like Mississippi?  That's what this diary is about, btw.

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 05:19:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Virginia and Kentucky Resolves (9+ / 0-)

    seeking to nullify the Alien and Sedition Acts (which themselves really were unconstitutional) never faced a court test, but did provide the underpinnings for the 19th century states' rights movement.

    That states' right movement postulated not only a right to nullify but also to secede.

    Scalia is right that the Civil War settled the question of secession.  Nullification was settled even earlier, when the Supreme Court in a series of cases beginning in 1819 rejected the constitutional theory on which it was based.  The Nullification Crisis of the late 1820s, when Andrew Jackson threatened to send federal troops to South Carolina to overthrow that state's nullification of a federal tariff, further established the principle that nullification has no place in a functioning federal system.

    When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

    by litho on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:45:15 PM PST

  •  ninethers and tenthers, Oh My! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    [Ninth Amendment] The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain
    rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the
    [Tenth Amendment] The powers not delegated to the United States by
    the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
    States respectively, or to the people.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ "We're like a strip club with a million bouncers and no strippers." (HBO's Real Time, January 18, 2013)

    by annieli on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:51:47 PM PST

  •  Or the Articles of Confederation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 01:56:54 PM PST

  •  Articles of Confederation Include Both Sovereignty (3+ / 0-)

    and states' "rights." Obviously predates the Confederate States of America.

    Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.
    The concepts of states rights and sovereignty are not found in the Constitution or any of its amendments.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:02:49 PM PST

  •  and not a word (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Says, FrankRose

    about voters in Washington and Colorado attempting to nullify federal anti-marijuana laws?

    the purpose of the second amendment is to promote a well-regulated militia, in the same sense that the purpose of the first amendment is to promote a well-informed electorate.

    by happymisanthropy on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:13:52 PM PST

  •  Next time, no more Mr. Nice Guy. (9+ / 0-)

    Sherman photo general-william-tecumseh-sherman.jpg

    "My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom."

    So should be our aim.

    I hate Confederates, the lot of them, neo- and paleo- alike.

    There were exactly three decent Confederate general officers:

    James Longstreet, John Mosby and Patrick Cleburne.  Gravely mistaken, but decent men, nonetheless.

    The rest of them were scoundrels as well as traitors.

    Let us not romanticize them or what they fought for.

    Ceterum censeo Factionem Republicanam esse delendam.

    by journeyman on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 02:39:19 PM PST

  •  Anyone who wants to dredge this up is a fool (5+ / 0-)

    This is not a document one should be aligning themselves with. Article IV:

    Sec. 2. (I) The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

    (3) No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.

    Yeah, lets run with that.

    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 03:09:01 PM PST

  •  CSA constitution left the national government (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    devtob, Mathazar

    with no power to levy its own troops but instead to have to request troops from each individual state.  This led to the debacle of as Richmond was under siege, both NC and GA refused to send troops to defend their capital on the grounds any remaining military forces were required to defend the states against approaching federal troops

  •  What's funny-sad about the delusion of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the States in the Confederacy and those of the modern day who "long" for the South to have "Won"  is that had they won a Treaty to Secede and been allowed to be a separate  Nation it would have become ether a true Tyranny as The Government of Richmond in the Name of The Confederacy suppressed States Rights till the States were Severn in Name only or States would have began wars with other States causing the Confederacy to collapse and then other True World Powers of the late 1800's plus Mexico would have Allied themselves with various Ex-Confederacy Nation-States in those wars till in the end those lands would have been just another part of the Colonial Empires that began WW1 now how the Industrial Based Westward Expanding United States would have fared with the Conflicts,Wars,Mexican Reconquest and European Conquest of the Defunct Confederacy I wouldn't really hazard a guess but I think the Northern/Western US Government would grow it's ties to the British Empire to the point that British Empire Canada and it would be one huge Block of Allied Power,but no-matter-what the Old South would have ceased to exist before 1800's turned into 1900's.

  •  I thought it was the evil RW TBagopers platform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not just the NRA's desire.

  •  How do you explain enumerated powers? (0+ / 0-)

    Most folks fail to recognize the nuance.

    Sure, the feds have supremacy - in ONLY the powers that have been delegated to the federal government.

    Powers that have been prohibited from being exercised by the federal government are relegated to the states. Note that the mandate in the affordable care act was struck down because the feds did NOT have the power to create a mandate under the interstate commerce clause.

    Repeat, the feds did not have the power to make a mandate for healthcare under the interstate commerce clause.

    Note that the constitution is specifically delegating to the congress the power to tax. Note that the affordable care act mandate was upheld because the mandate IS a tax even though they don't call it a tax. Just because you slap a different label on something doesn't actually change it. If that worked, I'd stick "Jaguar" on the truck and giggle all the way to the bank.

    The Feds are a government that only has powers that are specifically given to them. A few key phrases allow for wide elbow room, with the result that it seems like they have all sorts of jurisdiction, but they actually are limited in what they can do.

    And inside-state affairs is a big area where the power of the federal government is limited.

    All that stuff about the confederacy, doesn't mean anything to me. I'm just addressing the false notion a lot of people have that the feds can make laws for anything, like universal FBI background checks. Inside-state transfers pretty much avoid the federal multi-state legislation because it's not multi-state commerce.

    It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not more gun control, it's people care.

    by JayFromPA on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 10:54:30 PM PST

  •  Confederate Government (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CA wildwoman

    A review of Robert E. Lee's correspondence with the Confederate Congress or the Memoir of Jefferson Davis makes it perfectly clear that the Confederate Government was hopelessly dysfuctional.  A lack of functional national taxation authority and the various protections of state autonomy made it impossible for the Confederacy to raise, deploy and support a functional army.

    The Confederacy survived for four years largely because the Union refused to deploy it's full military capacity until 1863 because the Northern electorate couldn't tolerate the cost and casualites.  After that, the Confederacy held on because the area it had to defend kept shrinking.  In the end the brave men in the Confederate army largely fought on to keep the enemy from their homes.

    The Civil War tested two models for national government and demonstrated the supremacy of the modern, centralized nation state.  My ancestors saw first hand the sort of Army centralized, national conscription, national taxation and internal improvements could deploy and by war's end all of them were either dead or prisoners of war.

    William Hamilton practices Law and is a writer and community activist in the Charleston, SC area. He can reached through

    by wjhamilton29464 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:02:36 AM PST

  •  Teabagger history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TKO333, CA wildwoman

    Consists in large measure of wishful thinking.

    "The test of our progress is not whether we add to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have little. " --Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jg6544 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:12:35 AM PST

  •  Isn't that rich?...and [sadly] not surprising. (0+ / 0-)

    Can't we give them the State of Texas after we let the normal people move out?

  •  I see the media obsession with celebrity BS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sharon Wraight

    has rubbed off on too many state & local politicians, who can't tell truth from fiction any more than most 3yr olds.

    "If a story is on TV or in a movie  or book it must be true !"

    They're thinking that if they want something to be true, it's automatically a fact.
    An obvious symptom of faith based thinking.

    Immaturity or insanity, it doesn't make any difference & these bozos need to be out of political office ASAP for the safety of US citizens.
    Maybe they think money changes truth?

    Something that doesn't make good sense, makes bad sense. That means someone is being deliberately hurtful & selfish. Look for motives behind actions & words.

    by CA wildwoman on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:29:38 PM PST

  •  Reading this story. . . (0+ / 0-)

    makes me think that maybe my visions of a new civil war aren't delusional after all.

    When the United States becomes a low wage country, only bobbleheads shall go forth from American soil.

    by amyzex on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 12:45:50 PM PST

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