Could Arizona’s GOP be any more insane? Read this — erase all doubt.
November’s ballot will include a legislatively-referred proposition to amend the Arizona state constitution. Basically, Proposition 122 would usurp the role of the United States Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the law of the land. Instead, that power would be conferred on the State of Arizona. I kid you not.
Arizona’s GOP legislators think they can usurp federal powers.
Put simply, the state government will determine what is constitutional — we’re talking about the Constitution of the United States here — and will have the power to stop every level of government in Arizona from using either manpower or money to cooperate with the federal government. Entitled “Rejection Of Unconstitutional Federal Actions,” the proposition states, in part:
IF THE PEOPLE OR THEIR REPRESENTATIVES EXERCISE THEIR AUTHORITY PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, THIS STATE AND ALL POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THIS STATE ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING ANY PERSONNEL OR FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO ENFORCE, ADMINISTER OR COOPERATE WITH THE DESIGNATED FEDERAL ACTION OR PROGRAM.
The justification is supposedly to maintain the principle of balance of power. He-l-l-o-o-o? That’s why the founders established three branches of the federal government.
Who thought this was a brilliant idea? Well, guess. According to the Tucson Progressive, Proposition 122 is the brainchild of the Goldwater Institute and the Koch brothers. It’s been endorsed by a whole shitload of dysfunctional right wing politicians, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the recalled former Senate majority leader, Russell Pearce, and — get ready for this — the current Republican candidate for governor, Doug Ducey.
The dissenting opposition is exasperated.
Experts who are not inmates of the insane asylum have much to say about just how harebrained this scheme is. Paul Bender, professor of constitutional law at Arizona State University, said:
The state cannot declare its independence from federal law. [Proposition 122] gives people the wrong idea. It might give them the impression that they don’t have to obey federal law, and it can get them in real trouble.
The long-suffering Arizona House minority leader, Democrat Chad Campbell, wrote in his opinion for the Arizona Republic:
… no matter what some people believe, states do not have the authority to tell the federal government what to do. It’s called the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution. Attempting to alter the Arizona Constitution will not change it. If this proposition passes, there will be no substantive changes in how we interact with the federal government. The only thing that will happen, and this is a guarantee, is that we’ll end up wasting taxpayer dollars on a court case we are certain to lose.
Furthermore, if Proposition 122 passes, it will erode our already tenuous relationship with the feds and jeopardize desperately needed funding for transportation, disaster relief and other critical programs. So, not only will we be wasting money in court, but we’ll be sending our already paid federal tax dollars to other states. Sounds like a great deal, right?
Right. It’s Campbell’s opinion that if the proposition fails, or is eventually defeated in court, the only option left for these wingnuts is to try and secede from the Union. Don’t count the idea out. No close observer of the situation doubts that their intent is exactly that.
Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, has engaged in many a battle with the Arizona Legislature. Her assessment is blunt:
I feel like these guys missed a whole section of U.S. history. The Legislature doesn’t get to decide what laws or programs or environmental protections on the federal level are constitutional or not …
The bottom line is the likely result is a lot of litigation, and we just can’t afford that. Arizona has wasted enough money on dumb lawsuits, and it’s time the government stepped up and worked on solving problems.
Here’s what the Arizona GOP really lives for.
The Arizona GOP lives not for financing education, or child protective services, or medical care, or infrastructure, but for using copious amounts of taxpayer money to harass and sue the federal government. The fact that the current Republican candidate for governor is giving full-throated support to Proposition 122 is horrifying. Inexplicably, the local paper, the Arizona Republic, endorsed a whole slate of Democrats for statewide office, except for the office of governor. For the highest office, the paper endorsed Doug Ducey. Now isn’t that special?
Are there any reasonable voices left in Arizona? What about the electorate? Rational minds have to be on-board with Chad Campbell’s bottom line analysis:
… let’s be honest, the only thing more frightening than Congress running the show is putting the Arizona Legislature in charge.
So, will a reasonable and rational electorate save the day? Guess we’ll find out on November 4th.