The jaw dropper of the day has been Texas Governor Rick Perry’s announcement–and refusal to disavow–that he may be contemplating secession (or a similar process) for the Lone Star State. But members of the Georgia Senate, the South Dakota House, and both chambers of the Oklahoma legislature must be wondering what all the fuss is about.
On April 1 of this year, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution affirming their belief that the U.S. government is on the verge of nullifying the Constitution–that, for instance if Congress passes any “[f]urther infringements on the right to keep and bear arms,” that’ll be it, in their eyes, for the olll’ U.S. of A:
all powers previously delegated to the United States of America by the Constitution for the United States shall revert to the several States individually. Any future government of the United States of America shall require ratification of three quarters of the States seeking to form a government of the United States of America and shall not be binding upon any State not seeking to form such a government.
The vote was 43-1. Jay Bookman of the (perhaps ironically named) Atlanta Journal Constitution offered a couple caveats, though:
the resolution passed because it was snuck unnoticed onto the Senate resolution calendar on the 39th day of the 40-day legislative session, when senators were trying to handle dozens of bills and scores of amendments. Most did not have an opportunity to read the six-page resolution, which in its description claimed to merely affirm “states’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles.”
However, those who introduced and sponsored the measure have no such excuse. Presumably they read and understood what they asked their fellow senators to endorse. And those sponsors include some of the most prominent members of the Senate — Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers of Woodstock, Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams, Transportation Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis of Chickamauga, and Chief Deputy Whip John Wiles of Cobb County, among others.
Lest you think this might be a complete fluke, though, the similar South Dakota House resolution passed 51-18, and the Oklahoma version passed 83-13 in the House, and 25 to 17 in the Senate.
These resolutions have their roots in the sort of radical right wing movement the Department of Homeland Security has warned law enforcement officials about. And though they have no binding force, they aren’t meaningless either. Bookman writes that the Georgia resolution “has been hailed by, among others, those fighting the conspiracy to create a single North American country, by the Confederate States Militia, by the John Birch Society, and the League of the South, which still pines for the cause of an ‘independent South’ and believes that ‘Southern society is radically different from the society impressed upon it by an alien occupier.'”
Good times. At least we know this isn’t astroturf, though. If it was, they would’ve timed these stunts to fall on Tea Party Day.