Despite having an amazing mustache, Mississippi State House Representative Jeff Smith is an embarrassment to democracy and the law school that gave him a J.D. Rep. Smith and his colleague Rep. Chism have introduced House Bill 490 also known as the Mississippi Balance of Powers Act. This piece of legislation is meant “to clarify the compact entered into between the state of Mississippi and the United States”, or in other words it:
affirms that the sole and sovereign power to regulate the state business and affairs rests in the state legislatures and that such power has always been a compelling state concern and central to state sovereignty and security.
Ostensibly, this bill was drafted to protect Mississippians right to bear arms, in case Obama should come for their guns. So let us set aside for a moment the fact that this bill is completely unconstitutional–see article VI–and remember that this is not the first time Mississippi has decided that it doesn’t want to play by the federal rules.
Perhaps we remember a small moment in our country’s history known as the Civil War. Mississippi was the second state to secede from the Union. Issuing a Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union stating:
[o]ur position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery–the greatest material interest of the world.
It took more than 4 years of war and an estimate 750,000 deaths to convince Mississippi and other states in rebellion to rejoin the Union. But this doesn’t mean they came along willingly.
Under threat of desegregation, Mississippi formed the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission in 1956 (in reaction to Brown v. Board of Education). This Commission was meant to protect Mississippi from “federal encroachment”. Initially charged with promoting an anti-civil rights agenda, the Commission grew into an agency of surveillance and a method for funneling state funds to white supremacist groups, such as the notorious White Citizens’ Council.
Jump forward to today. House Bill 490 proposes a new commission, the Joint Legislative Committee on the Neutralization of Federal Law (JLCNFL). This committee would review federal laws, regulations, and executive orders to determine if they are:
“outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government in the United States Constitution.”
Federal encroachment has long been a “compelling state concern”. According to Mississippi, the federal government overstepped its boundaries when it put limits on the spread of slavery and again when it ruled against “separate but equal”.
Now this can’t be about race because this is post-racial America! The only thing I can think, and I think the mustache supports my claim, is that Mississippi has a time machine. They have used this time machine to bring back politicians from the past in order to conserve the state’s traditional values. Why else would Rep. Smith introduce this legislation? Clearly, he is not from our time.