Arizona now mature enough to be its own boss
Self-proclaimed constitutional expert Jack Biltis has determined the Supreme Court of Justice with the professionals who comprise it is entirely incompetent in determining the constitutionality of federal law, and has thus set out to create an initiative that would allow the state of Arizona and its voters to override federal law deemed unconstitutional.
A portion of the initiative reads, “To protect their freedoms and preserve the checks and balances of the United States Constitution, the people of Arizona shall be empowered to reject any federal action that they determine violates the United States Constitution.”
That’s cute, really—power to the people—and up yours federal government with your taxes and ever-expanding power that has so far forced us to purchase health care and not buy environmentally destructive light bulbs.
What is particularly problematic about this initiative is these “checks and balances” replace our Justices’ reason and justification in their published deliberations when interpreting the constitutionality of federal law with loud noises of grumpy citizens who have access to a pen and ballot.
The average Arizona resident does not have the training or expertise to determine the constitutionality of federal law that it requires. Few have ever laid eyes on the U.S. constitution, and even fewer have read in its entirety the Affordable Care Act. Even if we all assembled monthly to read over the laws and choose whether to obey them or not—it would be of little help if we don’t have prior training in jurisprudence, political philosophy, economics, criminal justice, and numerous other disciplines.
Leave surgery to the surgeon. This does not mean abandoning democracy altogether. We have not only a right, but an obligation to participate in this country’s politics; choosing who is competent or incompetent as a professional in enacting laws is enough power, and we exercise it every time we elect a candidate to office. If our senators or representatives have been crafting constitutional but distasteful laws, don’t re-elect them.
Not only do we have access to the resource of voting, we can become the very lawmakers, law enforcers, and law interpreters if we dedicate our time and effort in gaining the necessary expertise for our fellow citizens to trust us with the power.
Ignoring federal law altogether ought to be punishable to the fullest extent. The south would have rejoiced with a similar measure during the times of civil-rights movements, “no—racial integration is not mandated in our constitution, the courts are acting outside of their power.” Bigotry, ignorance, and incompetence are not qualifying credentials to overthrow the federal government altogether.
Yet, Biltis and his squad of mystically inspired constitutional experts managed to provide the State of Arizona with more than 320,000 signatures requesting this initiative amends Arizona’s constitution. He accomplished this—at least partially—through dishonest measures. At NAU, some of his representatives were pushing pens and paper at passer-byers soliciting signatures. When I asked one of them what the law would do, he replied “it gives Arizona voters the power to override unfair federal laws. For example, it would allow us to have access to medical marijuana despite the federal ban on it.” That’s dirty, waiving the promise of marijuana over Arizona’s college students’ noses; I’m surprised they only managed to gather 320,000 signatures.
We already participate in our courts as a jury—and too often we hear the groans and extensive complaints of citizens too busy to participate in democracy. Finding the fact to the guilt of our accused is an inconvenience we would rather do without; I doubt we would be much more willing to provide legal deliberation and rational defenses for our decisions: a game of football or a trip to the shooting range would prove far more rewarding an experience.
It wasn’t the Supreme Court who passed the Affordable Care Act; we did, together as a nation by electing our officials to represent our interests. The Supreme Court merely determined that what we did via proxy was within the scope of the constitution. Let us not broadcast our stupidity to the rest of the nation by voting in favor of this bill in November, only to later be overturned by competent Justices once again.