by Justin D. Lowry
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is at it again. Recently, an editorial by Jay Bookman, Georgia Senate endorses radical idea, was published in response to the state senate passing SR 632. Bookmanâ€™s commentary is full of slander, not only of the resolution, but of our senate itself. In short, he equates this resolution to nearly firing on Fort Sumter!
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Bookman questions the resolutionâ€™s intent of the Federal government defining laws. According to the resolution, the Federal government can only punish treason, piracy, and slavery, but Bookman questions the validity of this claim. He really should read our Constitution. Article I, Section 8 gives Congress the ability to define and punish piracy and counterfeiting money. Article III Section 3 gives Congress the power to declare the punishment for treason. And, the ratification of the 13th Amendment banned slavery. So, the resolution is correct by stating that these are the only crimes mentioned in the Constitution.
What the resolution is saying by this is the state governments are responsible for all other crimes. So, contrary to his belief, Madoff should be under the jurisdiction of New York, Michael Vick should be under the jurisdiction of Virginia, and the same applies to the inmates in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary.
The editor then turns to the nullification clause and its role in the Civil War and Civil Rights movement of the 1950â€™s-60â€™s. While it may have had a role in the Civil War, the debate of Civil Rights in the 50â€™s and 60â€™s didnâ€™t include nullification, but instead the theory of Interposition, which claimed that a state has the right to interpose its sovereignty against the encroachment upon the reserved powers of the state.
Nullification, on the other hand, is the legal theory that states have the right to invalidate any federal law it deems unconstitutional â€“ this is done to keep Congress in line with its enumerated power.
Bookman then goes on to question the part of the resolution which states that if the Federal government oversteps its bounds, the Constitution is null and void. Since we are governed by law, who is to make sure that the ones we elect obey the Constitution?
The Constitution does not grant the power of judicial review to the Supreme Court, that power was assumed with the Marbury v. Madison decision of 1803. Thomas Jefferson was greatly disturbed by this decision because it placed so much power in the hands of the Courts.
It does seem a bit foolish to believe the Federal government can be trusted to keep itself in check. Remember, it is made up of humans and humans are so easily corruptible, especially those in the pursuit of power.
The question becomes this: Who is to protect the people from the Federal government?. If this duty is placed in the hands of the people, riots and violence may occur, resulting in a further infringement of liberties. If placed in the hands of the peopleâ€™s agents in the state governments, it can provide a means of peaceful debate over these infringements.
Moving forward, Mr. Bookman then makes the absurd claim that, in his opinion, the only reason this resolution passed was because no one had time to read it. Actually, the resolution is only 4 1/2Â pages and took me about 10 minutes to read. (click here to read it yourself)
To say that no one had time to read it is very humorous as I suppose we are to drop to our knees and thank God Almighty for the wisdom of our Federal government for passing a â€œstimulusâ€ bill that no one was allowed to read. He shows great logic in that assessment, doesnâ€™t he?
But this resolution wasnâ€™t â€œsnuckâ€ in, it was read twice, referred to committee, read again, and then adopted by the senate with a vote of 43-1. In my opinion, thatâ€™s the fact that shocks him the most.
It appears to shock him so much that he slanders the Senators that sponsored the resolution by saying they used â€œdeception.â€ He then equates this to being part of a radical right wing conspiracy, because no one in their right mind could possibly condone such a stand against actions of the Federal government. You would have to be crazy to question this government, right?
I honestly wasnâ€™t aware that believing in our founding principles was so radical. I find great logic in listening to the wise words of Great Americans that risked everything to establish our republic. Why should they be vilified and slandered in such a way?
I believe its is the better patriot who questions and demands the best out of his government than the one is blindly loyal and assumes the government is looking out for his best interest.
The editor then goes to declare this resolution legally meaningless. This is something else that I wasnâ€™t aware of, resolutions in the Georgia Senate can now be nullified by a newspaper editorâ€¦talk about the Power of the Press!
Bookman finishes his rant by claiming that we â€œhave to question the judgment of those who would have any truck whatsoever with such nonsenseâ€¦â€
But, in reality, his editorial proves one thing that the rest of Georgia has known for decades – that the AJC, as well as much of Atlanta itself, has lost touch with the rest of Georgia. Seems to me that its quest to be the New York of the South is nearly complete.