“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.