Arizona GOP Measure Would Allow Citizens To Ignore Federal Laws

Welcome to Arizona; @PSMag.com

Welcome to Arizona; @PSMag.com

Republicans in states across the nation are pushing measures designed to nullify federal laws. Most of this legislation is specifically aimed at any future gun laws, but Arizona Republicans are going even further.


The Arizona GOP wants to place a measure on the state ballot this year that would allow citizens to ignore any federal law they think is unconstitutional. The East Valley Tribune reports:

On a voice vote, the Senate gave preliminary approval to a measure which allows Arizonans to “reject a federal action that the people determine violates the United States Constitution.” SCR 1016 permits them to do that through legislative action or having a public vote… If approved, the measure would prohibit the state and local government from using their employees or finance resources to enforce, administer or cooperate with any federal action or program they determine is not “consistent with the Constitution.”

A Senate committee approved SC 1016 last Thursday despite the fact that Arizona voters have already rejected a similar measure that appeared on the ballot in 2012. Prop 120 would have amended the state constitution to read, “Arizona declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries,” thus nullifying federal authority over areas of the state controlled and protected by the federal government. The measure was defeated by a wide margin on Election Day last November. Prop 120 was sponsored by Republican state Senator Chester Crandell, who is also the primary sponsor of SC 1016.

Arizona isn’t the only state attempting to nullify federal authority in violation of the Supremacy Clause in the U.S. Constitution. Texas, Indiana, Wyoming, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alaska and several other red states have also been considering similar measures. Such measures are costly to taxpayers because states are forced to defend them in courts which always strike them down as unconstitutional. The only constitutionally sound way to challenge a federal law is through the judicial system, with the final say coming from the Supreme Court. These Republican attempts to nullify federal authority are no more than attempts to revive the issue of state’s rights, an issue that has been settled since the end of the Civil War in 1865. Federal law trumps state law. Republicans need to get over it.