Newly minted state senator Mike Parry from Owatonna was one of the few legislators in attendance at the Tea Party rally at the Capitol on April 15th. I asked him about his support for gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer and about Rep. Emmer’s authorship of a bill to amend the Minnesota Constitution to authorize the legislative nullification of federal law. (Lest you think that Marty Seifert provides the anchor of sanity here, you need to know that Rep. Seifert has authored a similar bill.)
Emmer’s bill hasn’t gotten a hearing, of course. It’s a waste of paper, unless your audience is the Tea Party crowd. And Parry’s answers were pure Tea Party.
Sen. Parry supports the idea of the permissible state nullification of federal law, even if the federal laws being nullified are civil rights laws in Mississippi. It’s “their state,” after all, says Sen. Parry.
As has been discussed here before, by both MNO and me, the recent health care reform bill and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are both based on the grant of authority to the Congress by the Commerce Clause in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.
Further Update: Jack Balkin, the law professor at Yale, has a post today about the Heritage Foundation, which proposed the individual mandates in the health insurance reform bill in the first place. Now the Heritage Foundation is against the individual mandate, but in the process of making its argument, demonstrates why it is constitutional.
Sen. Parry and many of the Tea Partiers — and let’s not forget Tom Emmer, Marty Seifert and Tim Pawlenty, too — have a childish understanding of federalism and the way that constitutional disputes are resolved.
Update: I put this in a comment, but it is getting buried. Apparently, Mitch Berg is claiming that The Uptake crew at the Tea Party rally, including me, did not identify itself to potential interviewees. But here is a brief video clip of the introduction to the interview of Mitch himself.