Ugh. Joe Carr. A man who is too stupid to realize that a woman's body can't expel a rapist's sperm is now fashioning himself as a constitutional scholar.
On Wednesday, he had a press conference to explain his most recent brilliant idea. From the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal:
Carr, a Lascassas Republican, is sponsoring legislation that would charge federal agents with a Class A misdemeanor for enforcing or attempting to enforce a federal law or executive order that bans, restricts or requires registration of any semiautomatic gun, accessory or ammunition.
He goes on to explain how he came to believe that this was going to pass constitutional muster:
“In light of recent comments and actions taken by President Obama and Vice President (Joe) Biden, I believe it is necessary that Tennessee proactively promote, maintain and defend Tennessee’s sovereignty guaranteed to it in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution,” he said in a written statement. “Additionally, this blatant assault on the Second Amendment by the Obama Administration is a systematic effort to disarm the law abiding citizens of the United States.”
The 10th Amendment, in case you didn't recall it guaranteeing state sovereignty, just says, "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." (You'll notice that our Republicans are in no hurry to return any powers to the people, but that's neither here nor there in this post.) A lot of folks have built up a kind of mythology around the 10th Amendment, acting like it means the states have all these rights, like we're 50 tiny sovereign nations bound loosely together by a weak federal government. In other words, they're playing pretend, like we still have Articles of Confederation — not a Constitution that says:
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, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
In other words, we have "trickle-down" politics. States can't make laws that negate federal laws. It says so right in the part that says "Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
There are two likely scenarios if this law passes:
1. a federal agent gets arrested carrying out his legal duties and we, as a state, spend a lot of money to discover what Carr could have discovered for himself, for free, if he'd just read the Constitution before proposing this bill; or
2. The federal government will make an example of one of the states that passes a law similar to this and withhold all law enforcement aid and help. Multinational drug gangs running guns through Nashville? Tough shit for us. We want to be able to verify whether someone is here legally? Nope, federal law enforcement agencies aren't returning our calls. In other words, rather than spending a bunch of money in courts to discover our law is unconstitutional, we'll spend a bunch of money combating the social problems that would come if the feds decided our state was an unsafe work environment for their law enforcement agents, and then we'll still lose in court.
I can't wait to see the fiscal note on this bill in either of those cases.