Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Fantasy Dictatorship, and John Kavanagh as Josephine

Jared Lee Loughner should run for the Arizona state Legislature. He'd feel right at home, particularly amongst the Russell Pearce Republicans, who are so delusional and high on their own supply right now that I'm half expecting to see state Senate President Pearce dressed up as Napoleon next time I head down to the Capitol.

Pearce's pal State Representative John Kavanagh? All he needs is an Empire dress and a frilly slip, and he can play Josephine to Pearce's Little Corporal. Maybe he'll carry concealed in a dainty lace garter. Zut alors!

Representative Carl Seel can play Pearce's 18th Century footstool. And state Senator Ron Gould? Pearce's fancypants valet, natch.

All this comes to mind in the wake of various proposed dingbat laws that would: 1) exempt Arizona from international law; 2) require federal agencies to register with the local sheriff; 3) undermine the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; and 4) grant the Legislature the power to -- magically -- "nullify" any federal laws that legislators believe have gone too far.

If you don't believe the last one, check the suggested language for yourself below.

Can they do this, you might ask? Well, no. Federal law trumps state law. And the feds are not going to stop enforcing federal law just because Pearce and the nudniks at the state Legislature order them to do otherwise. So here we go with another meaningless, waste of time bill. That is, unless Pearce is ready to call up the Arizona National Guard and declare war on the federal gub'mint.

Kind of reminds me of the Emperor Caligula wanting to make his horse Incitatus a Roman consul. What's next? Will Pearce declare himself Sultan of Sand Land? Anoint himself Allah and pardon his fugitive son Joshua Pearce, who currently has a bench warrant out on him?

Hey, in the state of crazy that is Arizona, the loonies run the asylum a la Marat/Sade. Sadly, I may have just given Pearce and his Republinuts an idea or two.

From SB 1433:

A.  The joint legislative committee on nullification of federal laws is established consisting of the president of the senate or the president's designee, who serves as cochairperson, six members of the senate who are appointed by the president of the senate, the speaker of the house of representatives or the speaker's designee who serves as cochairperson and six members of the house of representatives who are appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.  No more than four members of the senate and no more than four members of the house of representatives may be from the same political party.  Members shall serve two year terms beginning and ending on the convening of the regular session of the legislature each odd‑numbered year.

B.   A majority of the members constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.  The committee shall meet on the call of either cochairperson.

C.  the committee shall recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution.  The committee shall make its recommendation within thirty days after receiving the federal legislation for consideration and process.

D.  The committee may review all existing federal statutes, mandates and Executive orders for the purpose of determining their constitutionality. The committee may recommend for nullification existing federal statutes, mandates and Executive orders enacted before the effective date of this section.

E.  On the committee's recommendation for nullification, the legislature shall vote on whether to nullify the action within sixty days after the committee's recommendation.  Until the vote, the issue in question is of no effect.  The appropriate documentation reflecting the legislature's vote shall be documented in the journals of the respective houses.

F.  If the legislature votes by simple majority to nullify any federal statute, mandate or Executive order on the grounds of constitutionality, this state and its citizens shall not recognize or be obligated to live under the statute, mandate or executive order.

G.  The committee shall ensure that the legislature adopts and enacts all measures that may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal law or regulation nullified pursuant to this section.  The committee shall ensure that the jurisdiction of any cause of action between this State and the federal government regarding nullification of any federal legislation, mandate or executive order with the Supreme Court of the United States alone, as stated in Article III, section 2, United States Constitution.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons