By Robert Mann
In my latest column for the New Orleans Times-Picayune | NOLA.com, I wrote about how Gov. Bobby Jindal has morphed into a “nullifier.” That is, someone who believes that the states can nullify and void federal laws and federal court rulings which state officials, in their wisdom, believe are unconstitutional.
Jindal and these modern-day nullifiers do not recognize the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, nor do they honor the Supreme Court’s authority to interpret the Constitution, as established in the landmark 1803 Court decision, Marbury vs. Madison.
Among other things, I wrote:
Plunging Jindal even deeper into the realm of nullifier is his endorsement of the “Convention of the States Project,” which advocates a constitutional convention “to return the country to its original vision of a limited federal government.” Among other things, the project aims to halt “power grabs of the federal courts” and impose terms limits on Supreme Court justices.
One of Jindal’s allies, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association — which sponsored Jindal’s recent prayer rally at LSU — has forcefully challenge the court’s authority. “Any ruling from any federal court that imposes domestic policy on a state is by its very nature unconstitutional, and no governor has any obligation to obey it,” Fischer wrote last year.
What I did not know at the time I wrote this column is that the Louisiana Legislature is poised to approve legislation, House Concurrent Resolution 2 (HCR 2) that would endorse just such a “Convention of the States.” It is clearly a blatant attempt by radical, right-wing legislators across the country (this bill is literally out of the ALEC handbook) to begin the process of undermining an expected Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.
This extreme legislation passed the state House on May 6 by a vote of 60-28. (See the roll call at this link.)
Here is the text of the resolution:
HLS 15RS-544 ENGROSSED
2015 Regular Session
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 2
BY REPRESENTATIVES GAROFALO, BROADWATER, HODGES, POPE, RICHARD, SCHEXNAYDER, AND SEABAUGH AND SENATOR CROWE
U.S. CONSTITUTION: Applies to congress under U.S. Const. Art. V to call a convention of the states to propose U.S. constitutional amendments to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit federal government power, and provide for term limits for federal officials and members of congress [sic]
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
To apply to the United States Congress, under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of congress [sic].
WHEREAS, Article V of the Constitution of the United States mandates that upon the “Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States”, congress [sic] shall “call a Convention for proposing Amendments”; and
WHEREAS, the Legislature of the state of Louisiana deems amendments to the Constitution of the United States providing for fiscal restraints on the federal government, limits on the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limits on the terms of office for federal officials and for members of congress [sic] necessary.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Louisiana hereby applies to congress [sic], under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution of the United States, for the calling of a convention of the states limited to proposing amendments to the Constitution of the United States that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of congress [sic].
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the secretary of state is hereby directed to transmit copies of this application to the President and Secretary of the United States Senate and to the Speaker and Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and copies to the members of the said Senate and House of Representatives from this state; also to transmit copies hereof to the presiding officers of each of the legislative houses in the several states, requesting their cooperation.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this application constitutes a continuing application in accordance with Article V of the Constitution of the United States until the legislatures of at least two-thirds of the several states have made applications on the same subject.
This bill is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, June 2, at 10:30 a.m. by the Senate Committee on Judiciary B in Senate hearing room E.
Perhaps you think that the Louisiana Legislature should not add to the damage already done to our reputation by Jindal’s recent executive order giving businesses a license to discriminate against same-sex couples. If so, you may contact your state senator to express your opinion about this radical piece of legislation.
You can find a list of the members of the Judiciary Committee B (with their phone numbers and email addresses) at this link.