Is Virginia the New South Carolina?

I thought we had worked out this Federal Republic things some time ago but apparently Virgina begs to differ. First they attempted to challenge our Federal system by going after the healthcare reform law and losing. Now they are poised to challenge the Federal vs. State government balance of power with the apparent backing of the House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is part of a class of Republicans who say they want to change the country fundamentally — and to that end, Cantor isn’t dismissing a plan by legislators in his home state of Virgina to blow up the Constitutional system and replace it with one that would give state governments veto power over federal laws.

For several weeks now, conservative legal circles have been buzzing with Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell’s plan to amend the Constitution so that a 2/3 vote of the states could overturn overturn any federal law passed by the Congress and signed by the President. Howell first floated the idea in a September Wall Street Journal op-ed he co-wrote with Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett.

“At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or seek an amendment to the Constitution,” the pair wrote. “A state repeal power provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse.”

The pair say the plan is a response to the federal overreach created by “two ‘progressive’ constitutional amendments adopted in 1913” — the 16th Amendment creating a federal income tax and the 17th Amendment allowing for the direct election of U.S. Senators, which were previously appointed by state legislatures.

Undoing both those amendments has been a key tenet of tea party rhetoric for a while now.

Howell plans to kick off the repeal amendment push by bringing a bill calling for a Constitutional Convention to the floor of the Virginia legislature this January. If he can get 2/3 of the states to go along with calling for a Constitutonal Convention, then that would trigger one of the two amendment processes under Article Five of the Constitution.

I don’t see this getting too far but that is not the point. What strikes me as odd is the pattern of Republican leaders forwarding ideas that will most certainly weaken our Union. Talk about a slippery slope. Where do they see this ending? The repeal of civil rights? Succession?

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