I’ve Got Georgia on My Mind

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

With apologies to the famous song of the same title, the State of Georgia has produced some interesting legislation and proposed legislation these days.  The latest in that long list of specious legislation is the proposal pushed by five Georgia State Senators that would set up a commission to review Federal laws.  Any laws not approved by that commission would be nullified and would not be upheld in their state.  If I understand the proposed legislation correctly, the State of Georgia, if this law is passed, would claim supremacy over Federal law. I realize that in some Tea Party view of the Constitution this makes sense, but not in the real world where the Constitution and court precedent makes it very clear that Federal law supersedes any and all conflicting State laws.

“The Constitution provides that acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land” which is why states do not have the power to ignore federal law. Nevertheless, five Georgia state senators — including Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R) and senate President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams (R) — apparently do not believe that the Constitution applies to them. All five lawmakers introduced a wildly unconstitutional plan to have Georgia and its citizens simply ignore laws that its conservative leadership doesn’t want to follow:

(1) There is created the Joint Commission on Recommendation, which shall be charged with recommending and proposing for a vote by a constitutional majority the nullification in its entirety of a specific federal law or regulation which is deemed to be outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution or at odds with the Georgia Constitution . . .

(4) Upon recommendation for nullification, the General Assembly may vote to nullify following such recommendation. The appropriate documentation reflecting the vote shall be documented in legislative journals of the House and Senate. In the event the General Assembly votes by a constitutional majority to nullify any federal statute, mandate, or executive order on the grounds of constitutionality, neither the state nor its citizens shall recognize or be obligated to live under such statute, mandate, or executive order.”  Truthout

Our friends in Georgia are taking the same path as Gov. Rick Perry chose in Texas when he pushed through a bill that would nullify a Federal law concerning light bulbs.  Light Bulb  It is amazing to me that in the year 2012, we are even having this discussion.  The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, Article 6, Clause 2, makes it very clear that Federal law is the “law of the land”.

“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.” U.S. Constitution  The Supreme Court has upheld and confirmed the supremacy of Federal law over conflicting State legislation. But this idea of States nullifying Federal legislation continues to fester.

I question whether these State attempts to nullify Federal law is actually an attempt to discredit the current administration in the eyes of the supporters of these State officials rather than an effort to stop what they consider to be unjust laws. Are politics involved in these decisions to attempt to nullify Federal law?

Are these Georgia legislators trying to re-fight the Civil War with these claims of States superiority over Federal law?  Are these nullification efforts related to the Tenther movement?  Even our old friend, Ron Paul has come out as a supporter of this alleged power of States nullification of Federal law.  Ron Paul   Does it surprise you that a sitting U.S. Congressman would have these views?

Finally, while the attempts by States to nullify Federal laws isn’t new, the calls for nullification seem to have increased since President Obama came into office.  Will the nullification movement die out if Obama is not re-elected?  Let’s hear what you think!

Additional Sources:


James Madison letter to Edward Everett

Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council

Cooper v. Aaron

219 thoughts on “I’ve Got Georgia on My Mind”

  1. Well AN….OS informed us Saturday that the great state of wyoming was going to buy an assault aircraft of some sort….

  2. AN,
    Listnin for so many minutes. Gimme a break. What’s your take?
    What do the guys want, and why not?
    Got the time? Be an advocate, not just a linker. Am ready to get excited, but show me a trailer first, please.
    Lazy id707

  3. “Better to keep the nation together, and work things out, carefully. We don’t have an alternative, beyond facing down F-16s and tanks with our little ’2nd Amendment’ popguns.” -Bob Kauten

    Yes. (lol, regarding “our little 2nd Amendment’ popguns.)

  4. Bron,

    Montezuma is even harder to read than Hamilton! I disagree that Madison, Jay, and Hamilton thought that everything would work out all right. Please don’t put thoughts in their deceased heads.

    They seemed to agree that the survival of the new republic would require diligence, and a lot of hard work, from its citizens. That’s not what we got, obviously. We got greed, fear, and stupidity.

    “A consolidated government is a tyranny”? What’s the alternative? Many small, nation-states, warring with one-another, until some group of states bands together to conquer the rest?
    Or perhaps foreign domination of the weaker states, leading to proxy wars between the foreign powers, again until one power has control of the continent? Like the games we played in SouthEast Asia and now, in the Middle East?

    Notice anything? We just got consolidated government, again. Just not one that we chose.

    It was worth a try. Montezuma lost, and it’s just as well.

    Nullification of federal laws and regulations is not going to work. Neither will the resorting to violence that those cowardly Georgia legislators imply with their “all measures” posturing.

    Better to keep the nation together, and work things out, carefully. We don’t have an alternative, beyond facing down F-16s and tanks with our little ‘2nd Amendment’ popguns. We armed them.
    The National Guard is the militia, the “…well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…”, the part of the 2nd Amendment never emphasized by the NRA.

    Ha…memories…they called out the “well regulated militia” when we marched on DC, in 1969. They were totally non-confrontational, but they had their rifles out. They didn’t engage in conversation, like the cops did. The Guard was there to shoot us, if given the order. But I digress.

  5. Bron,
    Interesting even for a dummy as I. But give me a starting point and a summary for dummies. Who is quoted, and what does he support, we?, they?, etc.
    Ignore if you wish. Just peeping with an open red mouth, waitin’ for a worm.

  6. AY,
    Actually it was stimulating. Resistance stimulates growth, well can do so maybe. In some it produces mental grid lock, and not you I’m thinking of. Just in general.
    Life, eating sleeping keeping it all together is a fight, until death.
    That’s the definition of life. But now I’m waxing if not philosophical, at least I’m waxing, like the moon. Nuf for now.

  7. Bob Kauten:

    when I read the Federalist Papers, I am always amused that H, M and J are trying to talk us into believing things will just magically work out all right.

    The Anti-Federalist Papers, in some instances, are closer to what has actually happened.


    “Our friends we find have been assiduous in representing our federal calamities, until at length the people at large — frightened by the gloomy picture on one side, and allured by the prophecies of some of our fanciful and visionary adherents on the other — are ready to accept and confirm our proposed government without the delay or forms of examination — which was the more to be wished, as they are wholly unfit to investigate the principles or pronounce on the merit of so exquisite a system. Impressed with a conviction that this constitution is calculated to restrain the influence and power of the LOWER CLASS — to draw that discrimination we have so long sought after; to secure to our friends privileges and offices, which were not to be … [obtained] under the former government, because they were in common; to take the burden of legislation and attendance on public business off the commonalty, who will be much better able thereby to prosecute with effect their private business; to destroy that political thirteen headed monster, the state sovereignties; to check the licentiousness of the people by making it dangerous to speak or publish daring or tumultuary sentiments; to enforce obedience to laws by a strong executive, aided by military pensioners; and finally to promote the public and private interests of the better kind of people — we submit it to your judgment to take such measures for its adoption as you in your wisdom may think fit.

    Signed by unanimous order of the lords spiritual and temporal.


  8. I707,

    Have a good day…. Enjoy it….from what I’ve read…you’ve have a rough life….take care..post more… If directed towards me… I will either respond or ignore from now on. You and only you know your true motivations….. More than likely I’ll ignore…

    Good day…

  9. This is id707 reporting.for duty.

    Awakened by my operator, my electrons are enjoying their oatmeal breakfast enriched by some prunes for my aged bit bucket.

    The question of the swedish nudist in the cold (or was it norwegian, AYYYYY? which was it??) is easlly solved. We computers enjoy in fact solitude. Wishing the beaches to be empty, we wait for winter to take our nudist vacations, take off our panels, and bathe in the few sunrays strainiing over the horizon between the daylight hours of 10am–2pm.

    AY, has brought up a good point (thank you AY). If having been here only since a relative shorttime, how do I know so many secrets about you all.

    Now who these persons are and what facts I have accessed of personal nature, and how he discovered my knowledge has not been revealed by him.
    Wonder if, in lawyerly terms, that weakens his case?
    I mean one could speculate in the source of his info as to my acquiring, but it is more fun to skip the proof bit, and wallow in the fear instigation of speculating as to my evil intent.

    Everybody here, of course, has been exposed to my omniscient computer mind coupled to the ever-monitoring internet. I mean you do send emaiils, chat, ephone, choose youtube thingys, choose products to buy for your children, friends——yes, it is obvious, I am to be feared. A taste of the evil internet who will soon replace the good god who kills babies, starves children and spreads disease, pestilence and war. You notice AY refers to me as it. That’s proof enough for any reasonable lawyerly inclined bully victim.

    But then I do have a slight tendency to brag at times Please excuse.

    Now, having read this far, that AY’s latest (when I was sleeping no less) had to be answered someway. So I chose the fun-way. A trip to fantasyland.

    In fact, as it usually is between folks, any facts I may have acquired are those given because they trust me. Generates good feelings on both sides.
    No names. you know who you are. We’ll be in contact again as it suits us.

  10. BK,

    The Federalist papers are always a point of contention…. As well you should know…. It was then as it is now…
    Popularity…. I may have my facts wrong…. But Madison directed to Jefferson what to write… And how to write it…. It was felt if he had written the same document that it would be rejected by the several colonies…. In order to have it ratified by most of them… Madison was kinda kept in the closet….so to speak….there were lots of competing egos then as there is today…. So you see not much has changed except time…..

    It is amazing how time changes people’s attitude towards one…. If I further recall the first 5 presidents were known as the virginia dynasty…. The second Adams was despised…and Marbury is based upon this….he did not get his commission as jefferson recalled all that not had been delivered…view suppose these were the first real recess appointments see…. As they occurred I think in March…the end of the presidents term….

    I maybe incorrect but I think jefferson refused to call the supreme court into session until he had a clear understanding of what was going to occur…. Hence the release of the opinion….

  11. Fascinating discussion, minus the nearly endless “who doesn’t respect who” thread.

    The Georgia Senate Resolution says, in part,
    “It shall be the duty of the General Assembly to adopt and enact any and all measures that may become necessary to prevent the wrongful enforcement of any federal laws or regulations duly nullified within the boundaries and limits of this state…”

    Can the Georgia General Assembly do that?

    Well, no, they can’t.

    The Constitution of the U.S.A. does not specify the state of Georgia, or any other state, as the last judge of federal laws or regulations. There is no nullification power granted.

    You may fantasize all you want. No law against that.

    The slave states tried nullification and states rights arguments, pre-Civil War, and again during the Civil Rights movement.
    How’s that workin’ for ya?

    Here’s the Resolution in its entirety:

    You can find the Constitution of the U.S.A., and the Federalist Papers, written by Madison, Jay, and Hamilton, online.

    The Papers set forth arguments for the establishment of the federal government. The Federalist Papers are hard to wade through (85 of them!), but you won’t find the idea that the states can nullify federal laws, anywhere.

Comments are closed.