Members of the Arizona Legislature, led by Republican Senate President Russell Pearce, have introduced a bill that attempts to grant the state the power to ignore federal laws it does not want to comply with.
If passed and signed into law, Senate Bill 1433 would create a 12-member committee within the state legislature with the power to review and recommend to the full Legislature laws they think are unconstitutional. The full Legislature would then have the power to nullify the federal statute by a majority vote.
“The committee shall recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution,” the bill reads. “The committee shall make its recommendation within thirty days after receiving the federal legislation for consideration and process.”
According to the bill, “no authority has ever been given to the legislative branch, the executive branch or the judicial branch of the federal government to preempt state legislation.”
The legality of the proposed legislation is questionable, as it runs counter to Article VI, Clause 2 and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which have been interpreted as making federal law trump state law.
Article VI of the Constitution, commonly known as the Supremacy Clause, states that, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
Likewise, in a set of decisions that has come to be known as the “incorporation doctrine”, the Supreme Court of the United States routinely ruled that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment prevents state and local governments from violating most provisions of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
Senate Bill 1433 is not the only piece of legislation in the Arizona legislature that conflicts with the 14th Amendment. In January, members of the Arizona House of Representatives introduced legislation that seeks to eliminate the long-standing 14th Amendment guarantee that all people born in the US and under its jurisdiction are citizens of the US.
“Babies born to illegal alien mothers within US borders are called anchor babies because under the 1965 immigration Act, they act as an anchor that pulls the illegal alien mother and eventually a host of other relatives into permanent US residency,” Senate President Pearce’s website stated.
“With illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the United States, their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship.”