Senator Hatch and Rep. Bishop Want to Reverse the Outcome of The Civil War

Civil War 150

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” — William Faulkner

I was one of the few who watched C-SPAN coverage of the ceremony at Fort Sumter to mark the 150th anniversary of the first battle of the Civil War. There is a shadow over the sesquicentennial, because the political climate in America still contains many echoes of the issues we used to think were settled for all time by the worst war in U.S. history.

Via TPM we learn that our own Senator Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop want to revisit the question of states’ rights with a constitutional amendment. Here’s how the plan would work, from an op-ed Bishop wrote in Daily Caller:

[I]f two-thirds of the states collectively find a federal law or regulation abhorrent or misguided, they should have the power to repeal said law or regulation. The law would then be sent back to Washington for further consideration, at which time Congress may choose not to act again on the matter, or they may vote to override the states’ repeal and pass it in finality.

“American society itself is so diverse, so organic, so varying in its geography, culture, and demographics that we see the same fatal conceit when government tries to manage it from one central location,” Bishop wrote. “That is, unfortunately, what we have done over the past 80 years.”

Look, if two-thirds of the states are unhappy with the Union they can call a constitutional convention. This proposed amendment is absurd. But it underscores the way some people insist on re-fighting the Civil War.

UPDATE: A TPM commenter points out a major flaw:

Total Population of 16 most populous states = 209,696,126
Total Population of 34 least populous states = 98,450,632
— Numbers from 2010 census.

I think it’s pretty self-evident from those numbers that there are numerous myriad paths to a two-thirds majority of states that would constitute a minority of the population.

UPDATE: Rep. Rob Bishop (R-GA) told reporters at a press conference Thursday announcing the introduction of the so-called “Repeal Amendment” that the proposal isn’t nullification.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on May 12, 2011 - 8:55 am

    Via TPM, a must-see. Mike Huckabee Fixes American History.

    In Huckabee World, kids learn “history” on time traveling bicycles, Hitler speaks English, and the USA declared war on Germany and Japan. “So what?” says one of the cartoon kids. “We know the truth. And that’s good enough for us.”

  2. #2 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 11:30 am

    You seem to have a habit of making mathematically incorrect statements.

    There were 34 states in the Union as of 1961. Under this 2/3 idea, it would have taken 23 states to over rule any Federal law. Only 11 states seceded from the Union. So, your statement of “Reversing the Outcome of the Civil War” makes no sense. If this amendment had existed in 1861 the seceding states would have had less than half of the votes required to reject Federal law, so it still would not have happened then. They still would have been pissed off and they still would have seceded. So all this bunk about “Reversing the Outcome of the Civil War” is just nutty and objectively wrong.

  3. #3 by Richard Warnick on May 12, 2011 - 11:47 am

    I’m pretty sure the number of states in 1961 was the same as now.

    The title of this post does make sense. The Civil War was about secession, and secession was about nullification (and nullification was about slavery, lest we forget). States cannot overrule federal law. Certainly a minority of Americans should not be able to rule over the majority. It has nothing to do with the number of states in the Confederacy.

    Maybe you can tell me why Republicans are always trying to change the Constitution.

  4. #4 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    Sorry, 1861.

    There are some changes to the constitution that conservatives would like and there are changes to the constitution that lefties would like. I don’t think either side has any monopoly on how many changes they would like to see.

    I would like the birthright citizenship eliminated, as it has been in many progressive countries.

    I would like to see the phrase natural born for the purpose of running for president clarified so that babies born as US citizens to US citizens at the time of birth but outside of the US and its territories (like my brother) would be defined to be natural born.

    I’d like the qualifications for President, Senate and Congress to include the following:
    1. Must have attended public school for k-12
    2. All their kids must have attended public school in their district k-12
    3. All white and Asian officeholders and their children can only attend open enrollment universities and not attend any competitive admission university.
    3. All officeholders must complete their own tax returns by themselves with no assistance.
    4. All officeholders must fly commercial coach and use the same security screening as everyone else.
    5. All officeholders, their families and staff must buy their own health care plan in the indivdual market with their own cash.
    6. No officeholder shall have a defined benefit pension plan.
    7. No officeholder or their staff shall be paid any compensation in any year which does not have a balanced budget under the accrual method.

  5. #5 by Richard Warnick on May 12, 2011 - 1:54 pm

    I like the Constitution just fine the way it is, thank you very much. I never supported the Equal Rights Amendment because it was redundant compared to the 14th Amendment. What other amendment has been proposed by progressives?

    Birthright citizenship is necessary to prevent a situation where someone could be born in the USA without any citizenship of any country.

    I’d support some of your new rules for federal elected officials. But no need to amend the Constitution.

  6. #6 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

    Among these are:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

    The right of every family to a decent home;

    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    The right to a good education.


    well, the equal rights amendment which was a litmus test for liberals in the 70’s and 80’s.

    then there is the deletion of the 14th amendment (the Sotomayor Amemdment).

    there is the guaranty of the “right” of free healthcare for all (the Sanders Amendment)

    the “right” to a job (the “Dave” Amendment)

    the “right” for anyone to move here who wants to (the Richard Warnick Memorial Amendment).

  7. #7 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 2:35 pm

    Birthright citizenship is necessary to prevent a situation where someone could be born in the USA without any citizenship of any country.

    Apparently the good progressive people in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, etc. don’t see it that way.

  8. #8 by Richard Warnick on May 12, 2011 - 3:16 pm

    Did FDR propose amending the Constitution? It’s amazing you had to go back 67 years even for that.

    What does Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, etc. have to say about people born in the USA?

  9. #9 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 3:19 pm

    The progrssives in Sweden, Norway and Finland say that people who are born in Sweden Norway and Finand are not automatically citizens of Sweden Norway and Finland.

  10. #10 by Richard Warnick on May 12, 2011 - 3:52 pm

    IOW, Scandinavian laws have nothing to say on the citizenship of people born in the USA. That’s reassuring.

  11. #11 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 4:06 pm

    Tell me you’re not that dense.

    Explain to me why birthright citizenship is necessary to prevent a situation where someone could be born in the USA without any citizenship of any country, but it isn’t inportant to prevent a situation where someone could be born in Sweden without any citizenship of any country.

  12. #12 by Richard Warnick on May 12, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    Because… that’s Sweden’s problem?

  13. #13 by brewski on May 12, 2011 - 5:24 pm

    The status of people who are born in Sweden are the determination of the good progressive people of Sweden. The good progressive people of Sweden determined that granting American tourists who give birth in Sweden Swedish citizenship is a pretty bad idea. That might encourage an industry of birther-tourism as reported by NPR:

    But that’s what you really want isn’t it?

  14. #14 by cav on May 12, 2011 - 6:17 pm

    I want immigrants to come here and do the grunt work we refuse to do, for pennies on the dollar, while I still grind out my exceptionally spoiled life of $500.00 to $1500.00 hours – councelling those trying to stay out of jail, or those faced with having to produce an Environmental Impact Statement for some stripmine or nuke plant their overlord is jambing throught state legislatures across this great great land, or those simply attempting to set up their position in the revolving door between the market and the government. Tough work but some one’s got to be doing it.

    Meanwhile some one will want to do my lawn while I’m shooting 18 on the coast.

    The way I look at it, and I’ll admit the drugs I’m taking to prolong my priviledged and exceptional life are expected to pay off rather handsomely, the continuing success of our great great economy will mean more foreign workers, both here and abroad, lower wages (and let’s not even get into insurance, payed holidays, their retirement and that other nonsense), are going to be required to sustain what I can only begin to reflect on as:

    My Accomplishments.

    The Creator seems to be smiling at me.

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