I wrote yesterday about Mike Huckabee’s proposition — channeling ghosts of Faubus, Wallace, Maddox and more — that states could simply refuse to obey a U.S. Supreme Court order overturning bans on same-sex marriage.
The Atlantic writes further about the rise in nullification theory among far-right Republicans (think Ark. Rep. Bob Ballinger, nominally a lawyer.) It’s more of what was discussed here, but also notes that nullification is a double-edged sword.
… some Republican officeholders have suggested states can nullify laws, including Senator Joni Ernst, who gave the GOP rebuttal to the State of the Union. Missouri legislators passed a bill that would have nullified all federal gun laws and prohibited their enforcement. My colleague James Fallows has described efforts by Republicans in Congress to block duly passed laws—refusing to confirm any director of an agency established by an act of Congress, for example—as a new form of nullification.
Add Huckabee’s pure nullification of Supreme Court rulings by states and consider:
As Americans become more geographically sorted along ideological lines, states seem to be drifting apart in many ways. More states have single-party control than any time in recent memory, and that means increasingly divergent state laws. Red states pass more stringent abortion regulations, blue states pass more stringent gun controls, greener states pass less stringent marijuana laws. That makes (at least a bare majority of) the people in those states happy.
The idea that state governments or for that matter the Congress can go their own way by ignoring duly passed laws and duly decided Court rulings seems like a less salubrious development. In fact, it’s one of those slippery slopes so feared by gay-marriage opponents. Huckabee wants conservative states that oppose gay marriage to be able to keep opposing it, but he isn’t suggesting dissolving the federal government wholesale. He still wants states to generally be bound by national laws.
But if some states can pick and choose laws, others will surely do the same—and in such a polarized national landscape, they’ll start picking and choosing increasingly contradictory options. Liberals states will start refusing to enforce laws they don’t like. (This happened with the Fugitive Slave Act, in fact; Wisconsin ruled the law unconstitutional; southerners who otherwise championed states’ rights objected; and the Supreme Court overruled it.) It’s a ticket to dissolving the union, all in the name of preventing same-sex unions.
UPDATE: Even the Washington Post’s right-wing columnist Jennifer Rubin is pounding Huckabee on this.
Huckabee exemplifies the triumph of crank right-wing rationalizations over common sense and mainstream thinking. You think the average American would support a candidate who doesn’t abide by the courts’ rulings? He can disapprove of gay marriage. He can call for broad conscience exemptions. He can refuse to officiate or attend gay nuptials. But he cannot in good faith tell court clerks not to follow the law. Huckabee’s comments are a recipe for constitutional chaos and political oblivion. Enough already. Just stop it.
ALSO: Huckabee thinks Beyonce is crude? Christian Post suggests Huckabee is crude.