Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kansas Says the Federal Government Cannot Enforce Its Laws in the State of Kansas

Non-Interview with Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback on Nullification and the Like

The Washington Post reports that the state of Kansas has decided that if it does not like federal laws, those laws cannot be enforced by the federal government in the state of Kansas.

In late April, the Kansas legislature passed and Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed a law that blocks enforcement of any federal gun laws on guns produced and used within the state of Kansas. Under the law, “any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.”

Now given that this issue has been long settled, and accepted even by the only-slightly-crazy right wing fanatics

The conservative Heritage Foundation put out a fact sheet last year, “Nullification: Unlawful and Unconstitutional,” that says, “there is no clause or implied power in either the national or the various state constitutions that enables states to veto federal laws unilaterally.” The chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute has written that state officials can refuse to enforce federal laws deemed unconstitutional, but states can’t block federal authorities from enforcing federal law.

The Dismal Political Economist thought it would be helpful to interview Gov. Brownback.  Since he was; not willing to sit down with this Forum (in part because he was never asked) here is what we think such an interview might have been like.

Sam Brownback is challenging federal gun laws. (AP Photo/John Hanna)
Gov. Brownback - About to Throw a Pencil at the Federal Government

DPE:  When you were a Senator didn’t you take an oath to support the Constitution? 

Gov. Brownback:  Well yes, but now I am no longer in the Senate so as a good Conservative I think I have a right to do whatever I want, and if there are Constitutional objections, well, my oath was not binding on me after I left the Senate. 

DPE:  Both the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute say you are wrong?  What would you say to them?

Gov. Brownback:  Well those are just a bunch of left wing commie groups who hate America and hate freedom, even if they are strong Conservative organizations.  Anyone who disagrees with me hates America and hates freedom.

DPE:  Didn’t the Civil War settle this issue?

Gov. Brownback:  No, just because the South lost doesn’t mean that what they fought for lost.  Yeah, maybe slavery is a bad idea but we in Kansas think they won the Civil War on points and the shootout tiebreaker.  If those good folks in South Carolina will just fire on Fort Sumter again, why we are ready to join them in a good rousing fight.

DPE:  Uh seriously, what would you do if Federal officials try to enforce laws in Kansas you don’t like?

Gov. Brownback:  We are a strong pro-life state.  We will shoot them.

DPE:  Doesn’t that violate your pro-life position?

Gov. Brownback:  I didn’t say we would shoot to kill.  Yeah some of them may die but the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of do-gooders every now and then.

DPE:  Speaking of being pro-life, what is the state’s policy towards those who perform or have an abortion?

Gov. Brownback.  We are a strong pro-life state.  We will shoot them.

DPE:  And undocumented residents, will you shoot them too?

Gov. Brownback:  Don’t be silly boy, we will arrest them first, then we will shoot them*.  You know Gov. Palin likes to hunt from an airplane, I think we ought to do the same thing with those suspected of being in the country illegally*. 

DPE:  What is your next policy initiative?

Gov. Brownback:  We in Kansas have to prevent the federal government from cutting any farm subsidies and agricultural support from the budget.  You know, it says in the Bible that the Feds must subsidize and support Kansas farmers, and must operate airports in Kansas even if they are not needed and it also says the Feds must give us all sorts of money.  So my job, as a person who believes deeply in the Bible is to make sure we get all the aid we want from Washington, and to reduce the taxes we pay.

Now pardon me, but I got me some revenue agents to shoot.

*During a Kansas House debate on Monday, State Representative Virgil Peck (R) made the extremely offensive recommendation that we should deal with our immigration crisis the same way that some would deal with the problem of feral pigs: by shooting them from a helicopter.    


  1. U.S. Constitution, Article VI, Clause 2:

    "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, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

    What part of that do these idiots not understand?

  2. Not to mention that, under separation of powers (you know, Kansas, the concept that is central to American democracy), the executive and legislative branches of government can't simply deem laws unconstitutional and then refuse to obey them. Deciding whether laws violate the Constitution is a task for the judiciary.

    What Kansas is doing is un-American, and arguably treasonous.