GOPer Ernst: Congress Shouldn’t Be Passing Laws States Would Nullify (VIDEO)

State Sen. Joni Ernst speaks to supporters at a primary election night rally after winning the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, Tuesday, June 3, 2014, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) argued that Congress should not be passing laws “that the states would consider nullifying.”

Ernst, the Republican nominee for Senate in Iowa, made the comments at a forum at the 2013 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition and were flagged by The Daily Beast on Monday.

“You know we have talked about this at the state legislature before, nullification. But, bottom line is, as U.S. Senator, why should we pass laws that the states are considering nullifying? Bottom line: our legislators at the federal level should not be passing those laws,” Ernst said. “We’re right…we’ve gone 200-plus years of federal legislators going against the Tenth Amendment’s states’ rights. We are way overstepping bounds as federal legislators. So, bottom line, no we should not be passing laws as federal legislators —as senators or congressmen— that the states would even consider nullifying. Bottom line.”

Of course, as the Daily Beast pointed out, states can’t nullify federal laws.

Ernst’s comments allude to a discredited argument that states can void federal laws that they disagree with. That argument was strongly supported by slavery advocate John C. Calhoun before the Civil War. It was also resurrected by segregationists in the 1950s and 1960s.

Recent polling has shown an increasingly tight race between Ernst and Democratic nominee Rep. Bruce Braley (IA).

Watch the video of Ernst below:

Latest Livewire

Notable Replies

  1. Ernst seems to think that Iowa is South Carolina or Mississippi. She also needs a crash course in Constitutional law.

  2. Avatar for zoran zoran says:

    And down the rabbit hole she goes. . . . grinning and nodding as she clutches the “states rights” blankie just before she hits absolute bottom.

  3. Is it possible to de-certify a candidate due to their staggeringly arrogant ignorance of the OFFICE THEY ARE RUNNING FOR and its DUTIES?
    (probably not. After all, we did have Sarah Palin for V.P.)
    States CANNOT NULLIFY FEDERAL LAW!!! That whole issue was settled in 1865. Even though it has ALWAYS been a part of the US Constitution: Article 6, Clause 2. RE: FEDERAL SUPREMACY.

  4. Joni Ernst shouldn’t be as stupid as she while running for the Senate but there it is.

  5. Avatar for jsfox jsfox says:

    And here I thought no female politician would ever give Sarah a run for her money.

Continue the discussion at

103 more replies


Avatar for keith_m_ellis Avatar for jw1 Avatar for littlegirlblue Avatar for old_curmudgeon Avatar for pickwick Avatar for Patriott Avatar for bluestatedon Avatar for grindelwald Avatar for trippin Avatar for granna129 Avatar for sylhines Avatar for cvilledem Avatar for frankly_my_dear Avatar for EqualOpportunityCynic Avatar for left_in_washington_state Avatar for ottnott Avatar for andy49 Avatar for serendipitoussomnambulist Avatar for careysub Avatar for jaybeeraybee Avatar for kh Avatar for smokinthegotp Avatar for whateverdude Avatar for sherron

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: