Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beavers Disputes Couple of Centuries of Supreme Court Rulings

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 6:40 AM

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Lawyers on the Senate Judiciary Committee wasted more than an hour yesterday trying to teach Sen. Mae Beavers a little bit about our system of government and make her go away.

She insisted that the committee vote for the latest bill she’s printed out from some crazy right-wing website and introduced in the Senate. This one would make it illegal for federal agents to enforce federal firearms laws in Tennessee.

June Griffin, an unusual person and perennial political candidate, testified in support of Beavers’ bill. She babbled something about the book of Isaiah, inviolate rights and the powers of sheriffs and constables. We couldn’t really follow much of her speech. She wore a fur hat and carried a Bible.

“I fear what will come under God if we do not get these guarantees from our legislators,” she said.

The committee’s chairman, Brian Kelsey—a right-winger himself—patiently explained to Beavers why her bill is unconstitutional, and so did another Republican, Sen. Doug Overbey. Beavers acknowledged she’d never heard of the Nullification Crisis of 1832, which settled the question of federal supremacy. But after Kelsey told her about it, she said she disagrees with the outcome.

“The federal government cannot make laws that go against our Second Amendment and try to enforce them,” she said.

“I know many of you are lawyers. You’ve been to law school and you think the Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of many of these laws. I don’t believe that.”

Justices have “essentially set themselves up as a dictatorship within the federal government,” Beavers said. “Generation after generation, we have just accepted that.”

No one wants to vote against this bill because then, in their next reelection campaigns, someone will accuse them of favoring gun control or scheming with President Obama to confiscate our weapons. The committee finally voted 5-4 to ask the state attorney general to give an opinion on the bill’s constitutionality.

More from Tom Humphrey.

Update: "Seriously, this is how the GOP Supermajority intends to spend their time legislating?" Randy Neal asks. "What's next, fluoridation? Oh, wait."

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