You’ve seen them before; Comedy Central stories with the “Arizona” dateline. Sometimes I think the network should be paying us for so regularly supplying prepackaged material for their staff writers. I mean, where else could they have found “Creationist” Rep. Sylvia Allen and her belief that the Earth is 6,000 years old…and now bring her back as the Chair of the Senate Education Committee?
While it is still early in the legislature’s season, they’re brewing up another one down at the Capitol: HB 2024.
It is not as clearly goofy as Ms. Allen’s material, but given the increasing antics of self-described “patriots,” it is timely. This one has to do with HB 2024 and it’s creartor Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley.
Basically, HB 2024 would provide ample opportunities for the State of Arizona to cut off ties with the federal government. So take that Texas!
But I digress and I want to provide some genuine assistance to Mr. Finchem.
First off, I believe that Mr. Finchem may have been misled on a number of matters that he suggests ought to be remedied by his proposed HB 2024. https://goo.gl/OP9nGi
If enacted, his legislation would put the brakes on any Arizona government spending to implement any presidential “executive order” until approved by Congress and found to be “constitutional.”
Now, to be fair to Mr. Finchem, his legislation is not limited to presidential executive orders. He also wants to protect us from the evils of “policy directives issued” by federal agencies. And as they say, “But wait! There’s more!” HB 2024 would also apply to the United States Supreme Court.
For those who are fans of “circular logic,” as with “orders” and “directives,” HB 2024 requires Supreme Court rulings be determined as being “IN PURSUANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.” That suggests Mr. Finchem envisions a Supreme Court that issues its rulings, adjourns and then reconvenes for the purpose of determining whether what they just did was constitutional or not, don’t you think?
A review of Mr. Finchem’s proposal suggests that his view of presidential “executive orders” in particular seems to have been shaped more by talking points than facts. He might be better informed by a quick Google search of “presidential executive orders,” the first of which was issued by President George Washington. Washington ordered the “federal prosecution” of any citizen who was caught interfering with the war between England and France.
(By the way, given that the framers of the Constitution were still around and, we can safely assume, keeping a close eye on the government they just created, General Washington’s “executive order” was pretty much fine with them.)
The Google search would show him that most of the nearly 50,000 presidential orders tallied since the Nation’s founding are relatively mundane items dealing with the composition of committees, commissions and so forth with some clarifications of the administrative rulebook on how laws are enforced, while Congress deals with what the laws are. Mr. Finchem might be more informed on this by looking up President Obama’s recent order regarding guns in the Federal Register https://goo.gl/UXKC5W . If he needs help navigating the Register, they’ve produced a handy dandy video https://goo.gl/X2N3IZ
All of that levity aside, HB 2024 would also apply to significant matters that have helped to form the bedrock of the United States. I’m sure it was an oversight, but perhaps he could be persuaded to amend his proposed legislation to exempt some “executive orders.” The “Emancipation Proclamation” issued by President Abraham Lincoln ending slavery comes to mind. (http://goo.gl/Ejr6F). They’ve even done a film about this: https://goo.gl/BKzDsC
But that’s not the end of it.
What should cause universal concern about HB2024, is that Mr. Finchem proposes the State of Arizona turn back the clock to 1803 before the Supreme Court decided Marbury v. Madison, the case establishing the Court as the body that decides what is or is not “constitutional.”
Because in Mr. Finchem’s HB2024 world, Supreme Court rulings would then be treated as little more than ‘suggestions,’ thereby incurring the expense of changing all middle school textbooks to delete references to “three coequal branches of government.”
So keep an eye on HB 2024 and Mr. Finchem. This one has “Comedy Central” possibilities.