If you follow conservative politics, you should be familiar with the Heritage Foundation.
Heritage was probably the most influential Washington D.C. think tank during the Bush Administration. It has long acted as a cheerleader for all kinds of federal power usurpations and rightfully received criticism for proposing legislation that was basically a forbearer for Obamacare. Heritage also frequently criticizes the principles of nullification. The organization often acts as a conservative wolf in sheep’s clothing, advocating for unlimited federal power.
That’s what makes Is the Supreme Court the Final Word? by Rich Tucker, extra surprising. Tucker writes, “Supreme Court decisions are crucial, but they are not the final word. It’s our duty as American citizens to keep pushing back, through all three branches of government, against any proposal that violates the Constitution. That’s the way to make sure our union can endure for another 225 years.”
The article gets even better from there. Tucker argues that pushback “works at the state level as well” listing ballot proposals as a way to circumvent Supreme Court rulings.
It’s unfortunate that he didn’t bring up the Jefferson-Madison-approved rightful remedy of nullification, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Here we have a conservative think tank actually suggesting that Supreme Court justices are not our overlords, their words are not canon, and that we should fight for constitutional government regardless of what asinine opinions they might offer.
It is this line of thinking the Tenth Amendment Center has pushed since its inception. Still, we should remain skeptical and ask questions about this new tact from Heritage. You have to wonder, why is it opening its mind to the idea of resisting the courts all of a sudden? Why are these folks changing their tune? How come it has taken them so long to come to these conclusions when the answers are clear within the writings of the Founding Fathers?
Most likely, the change stems from the fact that the conservative movement is playing offense. Don’t think for a minute Heritage would be talking about how we should ignore the Supreme Court if Romney or McCain was in office. But with Obama as President, conservatives can’t afford to act as federal apologists. As a matter of fact, the Tea Party and liberty movements have sent many federal supremacists scurrying from office in disgrace.
We’ve seen the same phenomenon on talk radio, with conservative hosts changing their tunes. Do you think you would hear Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity going to bat for a whistleblower leaking state secrets during the Bush Administration like they have Edward Snowden? Of course not! But in order to remain relevant within a conservative movement increasingly influenced by principles of liberty, they have to take the correct position on these key issues to remain in step.
Of course, there may be other reasons behind the change in rhetoric over at Heritage. Former Senator Jim DeMint recently took over as president, and he has been a strong fiscal conservative who talks about the importance of bringing the ideas of liberty into the Republican Party.
Regardless of why they’re changing their tune, it shows that the hard work of organizations like the Tenth Amendment Center is paying off and changing the hearts and minds of people throughout the country. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of think tanks inside the Beltway standing up against the federal monolith.