Friday, January 03, 2014

Utah Man on Hunger Strike

A gentleman by the name of Trestin Meacham has been on a hunger strike since December 20th to protest gay marriage in Utah.

Apparently Meacham is an advocate of "nullification," the Right Wing idea that somehow the states can refuse to obey federal laws or court decisions.

According to Meacham, and others, the courts are packed full of "activist judges" that don't obey the constitution.

First let's talk about "nullification."

Article III of the US Constitution states "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

On top of this the 14th Amendment guarantees the "privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States" against actions by the states.

Meacham might want to ask Orval Faubus how well ignoring a court order to integrate schools in Little Rock Arkansas worked out for him in 1957. The idea that "nullification" by the states might be legal died with slavery in the Civil War.

Given how much Conservatives claim to revere the US Constitution, perhaps they should actually READ it to understand what it actually says rather than basing everything upon what they wish it said.

Now let's consider Meacham's claim that the courts are filled with "activist judges" that don't obey the constitution.

This is by definition false. The courts decide what the law is and the Supreme Court of the United States is the final arbiter of the constitutionality of laws and lower court decisions.

Allow me to quote Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury v. Madison, "It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is."

Meacham is within his rights to disagree with the court decision, exercise his right of free speech to criticize that decision and take any legal action, including starving himself, to emphasize that disagreement. However, the officials of the state of Utah can't ignore the court order; they can only appeal it.

So, as usual, Conservatives have their heads up their asses. After they read the Constitution to see what it says, they might want to read the case law to understand what it means.

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