Earlier today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine observed to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that “Nullification is a code word.”
“For what?” inquired O’Brien.
Sen. Kaine, aggrieved that his colleague Senator Rand Paul used the “N” word in the recent gun control debate, responded: “It’s a states right argument that gets used in times of great controversy. The President is acting by executive power that is legally conferred on him. And as you pointed out, you went over these executive orders. They’re basic, common sense things.”
Indeed, it is precisely the states’ rights argument used by two heaps more famous Virginians, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, when they spat in the eye of President John Adams and his hyper-partisan, First Amendment-trampling Alien and Sedition Acts. And during the time of that other great controversy, i.e., slavery, the “N” word was used by northern states when they interposed against the federal Fugitive Slave Acts of 1850.
You see, Sen. Kaine, nullification, if a code word at all, is a code word for freedom.
And let me save you further tattering of your pocket Constitution: the President has no “legally conferred” powers to spend public money on any of his twenty-three so-called Executive Orders. Article II lists the very limited powers of the President, and the right to make up new powers, commonsensical or not, just isn’t there.
Now no one has ever accused Sen. Kaine of possessing a superfluity of brain, but after learning of his prior career as a law professor, I have lost all trust in the graders of Virginia bar exam.
Speaking of code words, I propose a new one. From now on, to avoid offending the sensitive, feel free to substitute “Kaine” in place of “idiot”.
Benjamin Gross is the legal director for the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center and blogs at www.sweatyfederalist.com.
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