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Left Using States' Rights to Protect Obama's Legacy

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By George J. Marlin
Tuesday, 24 Jan 2017 10:57 AM More Posts by George J. Marlin

With Republicans controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, desperate leftists are suddenly embracing "states' rights" to protect Obama's legacy.

In California, for instance, the Democratic-controlled state legislature retained former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder — the only attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress — to prepare state challenges to any changes the Trump administration makes in healthcare, immigration, education, or climate warming policies.

Regarding the hiring, California lawmakers said, "We have an obligation to defend the people who elected us and the policies and diversity that makes California an example of what truly makes a nation great."

And Holder will be advising them in their efforts "to resist any attempts to roll back the progress California has made."

Sanctuary city proponents also cite states' rights to protect illegal immigrants from what they view as unfair federal laws. Writing in The New York Times, Cesar Vargas, a Latino strategist for Bernie Sanders in 2016, wrote: "localities, not Washington bureaucrats, are best suited to determine local law-enforcement according to a multitude of factors in any given situation."

Vargas' declaration sounds like something straight out of Barry Goldwater's Conscience of a Conservative."

Leftist appeals to "states' rights" is mind-boggling.

For close to 70 years they vilified states' rights advocates, accusing them of supporting Jim Crow laws — resisting racial equality, opposing the civil rights movement and court–ordered busing.

Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were dismissed as racists because they were wary of federal officials encroaching on local governments and argued for the return of powers to the sovereign states.

Even more ironic, to advance their newly acquired creed, leftists will have to stand on the shoulders of three states' rights advocates they have demonized — Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and John C. Calhoun.

In 2015, Democrats nationwide dropped the names of Jefferson and Jackson from annual dinners because the two former presidents were deemed racists.

Defending the decision, Iowa Democratic State Chairman, Andrew McGuire, said the two presidents owned slaves and the party "believes it is important to change the names of the dinner to align with the values of our modern-day Democratic Party: inclusiveness, diversity, and equality."

As for one of the nation's earliest political theorists, John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) radical student protesters at Yale University have been demanding that the name of this notable graduate be stricken from a residential college because he was a racist and employed "states' rights" arguments to defend slavery.

Thomas Jefferson — the author of the Declaration of Independence, defender of the common man, and proponent of religious tolerance — fearing the usurpation of authority from "free and independent states" by the national government, argued for a limited constitutional government.

Certain the 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts signed into law by President John Adams, violated the Constitution, Jefferson authored the Kentucky Resolution which held that such acts exceeding the constitutional authority of Congress the states could declare "not law" and "altogether void."

For Jefferson, the states were the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution. "Where powers are assumed," he wrote, "which have not been delegated [to the Federal Government], a nullification of the act [by the states] is a right remedy."

To protect sectional interests — particularly slavery — John C. Calhoun built upon the principles enunciated in the Kentucky Resolution. Sovereign states established local governments and created the federal government. Since sovereignty was indivisible, the states never lost their sovereignty in entering the union. And while the states had given the federal government attributes of sovereignty, Calhoun postulated the actual sovereign power remained within the people of the states.

Under Calhoun's compact theory, the states could nullify actions taken by the national government. The Congressional numerical majority would be checked by the concurrent majority of the states.

While opposed to nullification, Andrew Jackson championed the prerogatives of the states.

In his first inaugural address, he said "Nothing is clearer in my view, then that we are chiefly indebted for the success of the Constitution under which we are now acting to the watchful and auxiliary operation of the state authorities.   . . . I cannot, therefore, too strongly or too earnestly . . . warn you against all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of state sovereignty."

There you have it.

Will leftists quote three noted Americans they despise to promote their sudden devotion to states' rights?

You bet they will.

Why?

Because these smug, self-righteous ideologues, will employ any tactic to impose their will on the American people — even pledging allegiance to a basic tenet of the U.S. conservative movement, "states' rights."

George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact." He also is a columnist for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. Read more reports from George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.

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With Republicans controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, desperate leftists are suddenly embracing states' rights to protect Obama's legacy.
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