Saturday, May 25, 2013

Louisiana Bills On Gun Rights & Obama Care - Nullification and Misdirection

I have been wanting to talk about an rather idiotic gun rights bill in the Louisiana legislature this past week. Robert Mann ( who just got fired at to write  congrats ! ) give me the opportunity to do that as well as take on another issue. See his post My Nomination For Dumbest Bill Of The 2013 Louisiana Legislative Session

I actually think this is a very clever post and and perhaps a smart tactic. When I read the title of his piece on twitter I thought he was going to be talking about bill in the Louisiana Legislature that makes its a crime for Federal agents to enforce certain gun laws in Louisiana. This is house bill 5.

There is no House bill 5 is a nullification bill that has now been returned to the calender. Which means it might never see the light of the day again despite getting a ton of votes.The Jindal administration might have had something to do this. I don't know this for a fact of course. However I suspect Jindal does not  want to be in a position of vetoing a " gun rights " and on the other  hand having nullification questions hamper here on a national level.

Now the bill that Mann is having problems with deals with the Affordable Care Act aka  Obama Care . Rep Hollis has offered a bill to allow voters to add to the Louisiana Constitution this :

 In order to preserve the freedom of all residents of Louisiana to provide for their own health care, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in a health care system.

Mann goes into the nullification debate right away which of course has the mention of SLAVERY. He says this is push poll kind of amendment. He call Rep Hollis a dim bulb.

The problem is this does not appear to be a nullification law. I am open to be corrected on this but it appears to pass muster to me .  it seems to be me it would be read to apply to State Law not Federal Law . Fed Courts are hesitant to strike now State Constiional amendments and will  often read them in a way most likely to save it if there is conflict. The amendment does not mention Federal law so I think it's in the clear.
  States can have stronger protections for rights than the Feds. We see this in such things the 4th amendment. Further it is pretty settled law that States cannot be forced to be agents of the Federal Government.  That is be forced to enforce a law.

Here is what I think is clever. I think Mann sort of gets this. I can't get into his mind but I think it is probable.

If the House Bill 5 ( the gun bill ) was written in a way that said Louisiana would not help the Feds in enforcing their gun laws it would be fine. This is similar to the sanctuary city laws where political subdivisions refuse to help Federal immigration agencies in some cases. That is not nullification and is  legal.

The problem is the Louisiana Legislature did not want to got that route. Perhaps they wanted to avoid some scenarios where the failure to help Fed agents would prove to be bad optics. So they attempted to pass a bill they know would be stayed by a Federal Judge while " acting " they are all great on gun rights. Also the criminal sanction in the bill above only applies to the Feds and not to Louisiana agents. I think that was intentional.

The bill by Hollis though is different. Getting states on board with the Affordable Care Act is a crucial part of its future success.  Needless to say a Constitutional amendment to prevent Louisiana but being able to partner with the Federal Government is a true threat.

This is one reason I think Mann is bringing in talk of nullification , slavery , talking about a legislator's intelligence , and push polls. Such an amendment would have a practical effect unlike the silly House Bill 5 gun rights law.

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