But there's more to Candidate Emmer's history of dancing around with blatantly unconstitutional proposals. I'm not going to examine past years' proposals, just the ones we saw in the past legislative session. As usual, there's a whole lot o' "freedom" loving going on - unless you're a woman, of course - and it's chock full of jingoistic pronouncements about sovereign citizenship and how the federal gummint is taking away our freedoms.
House File 3012 (chief author) This legislation is one of those "opt in" bills wherein those things deemed federal mandates are inapplicable to Minnesota unless the Governor (in consultation with "appropriate executive agency staff," whoever that might be), the speaker of the house and the majority leader of the senate all determine that the mandate is provided by "explicit authority" in the United States Constitution. And if these folks determine that the Constitution does not contain authority for the mandate? Well, then the "mandate does not apply in Minnesota." Poof! Just like that.
House File 2376 (chief author) "Firearms Freedom Act" This another one of Tom's Tenther moments. This proposed legislation declares that the second, ninth and tenth amendments to the United States Constitution guarantee to the people those rights not granted to the federal government in the Constitution and reserves to the people of Minnesota "certain rights as they were understood at the time that Minnesota was admitted to statehood in 1858." It then purports to exempt from all federal regulations any guns manufactured within the state, and proclaims that Congress has no authority to regulate firearms made in Minnesota. I would think that any number of women, African Americans, and native peoples might take issue with the notion that the rights reserved to them are only those rights as "understood at the time that Minnesota was admitted to statehood in 1858." But I might be wrong on that score.
House File 998 (chief author) Once again setting up his Tenther cred, this proposed legislation - if passed - proclaims Minnesota's sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment:
[T]he State of Minnesota hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States, and that this resolution serves as notice and demand to the federal government as our agent to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.
Even setting aside the fact that this reads like something straight out of the South Carolina Causes of Secession, this is just weird. What's the state supposed to do? Send some creepy cease and desist letter whenever a Minnesotan receives Social Security benefits? Force its farmers to turn down farm subsidies (good luck with that one)? Require that MNDOT refuse federal highway funds? Actually, the law does tell us what's supposed to happen:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Secretary of State of the State of Minnesota is directed to prepare copies of this memorial and transmit them to the President of the United States, the President and the Secretary of the United States Senate, the Speaker and the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives, and Minnesota's Senators and Representatives in Congress.
One is left with the image of Mark Ritchie nailing the memorial to the doors of the White House and the Capitol informing those inside that they're not the boss of us.
House File 171 (chief author) Constitutional Amendment regarding freedom of choice of private health care systems. Needless to say, he's against the notion of his neighbor's kid keeping health insurance after he graduates from high school. Because some kid being covered for a preexisting condition is such a horrible thing so as to require the passage of a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT to prevent it from happening. After all, if God really loved little Jimmy Johnson, he never would have given the kid Crohn's disease, would he? Damn Poop Lobby, messing with our freedoms once again.
Then there's HF3692, which declares the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act an abomination. Same shit, different legislation.
And in the protecting-our-freedoms column, we also have House File 1881, a proposal to address that burning issue in Minnesota and to correct a gaping hole in our constitutional freedoms. Did you know that nowhere in our state constitution is the right to wear fur guaranteed? This bill corrects this frightening freedom loophole once and for all.
In contrast to all the freedoms oozing out of the above proposals, the list doesn't even get close to the ongoing attempts to curtail the constitutional right to bodily integrity that women are entitled to. As a hardcore member of the forced-pregnancy movement, Emmer joins every effort to restrict abortion and birth control rights he can find, even the obviously unconstitutional ones. In this session alone, Emmer's has joined the following efforts to try to stop women from controlling their own bodies. We know he doesn't want the cultural warrior side of his record to receive much attention in this election, but we can't overlook it. After all, it's what he's spent most of his time in the legislature doing.
House File 2228 appears to redefine abortion to include the removal of a "dead unborn child" and forces certain signage at clinics, because Emmer believes most women are apparently too stupid to know they don't have to consent to abortion. House File 1057 requires doctors who perform such services have hospital admitting privileges of a certain type, making sure that we limit access to constitutionally protected health care for rural women. House File 1093 gives even more taxpayer dollars to crisis pregnancy centers to conduct unnecessary medical tests and dish out medically questionable advice with a healthy dose of religious doctrine. House File 1059 purports to stop state money from being used to pay for abortion, despite the fact that such funding is required under the state constitution. House File 1058 tries to prohibit the use of "saline amniocentesis" abortions, even though the US Supreme Court specifically allowed the method in its 1976 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Danforth. House File 1196 purports to prohibit sex-selection abortion, and allows family members to sue the abortion provider. No word yet on how the state plans on unearthing and examining a woman's motivation for exercising her rights.
All in all, what we see in these proposals is... what? A candidate who seems capable of only defining freedom in terms that benefit people who look and think just like him, it seems. A candidate willing to let one of the world's most stable governments with intricate checks and balances to be undercut by radical proposals that pander to extremist elements. A candidate who slept through the vast majority of his Constitutional Law classes, if nothing else.