Monday: Constitutional challenges part of American character
BY RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Everybody is a constitutional scholar these days.
From the proposition that the Second Amendment’s sole purpose was to guarantee the right to track down runaway slaves to the resurrection of the long-discarded concept of nullification, the nation is awash with interpretations of the U.S. Constitution.
The 10th Amendment, the Second Amendment and the enumerated powers are particularly trendy. For real connoisseurs, there is the movement to repeal the 17th Amendment, requiring election of U.S. senators by popular vote instead of by state legislatures, which was the practice before 1913.
Nullification, long thought gone with the wind, has also resurfaced. Bills filed for the current Oklahoma legislative session not only declare actual or anticipated federal laws unconstitutional, but provide for felony convictions and prison time for anyone trying to enforce them.
Another bill, perhaps somewhat sportively, proposes a “Constitutional Challenge Cost Revolving Fund” to pay for the state’s many lawsuits involving constitutional questions.
“It’s a theme in the health-care debate that some state attorneys general and legislatures have decided to strut and swagger and prance about .?.?. but the nullification argument, the interposition argument, has never prevailed,” said University of Oklahoma law professor Rick Tepker.
Actual constitutional experts — those who have spent their careers studying and teaching the U.S. Constitution — shake their heads at some of the more recent notions. But, they say, testing the Constitution — and state resistance to federal authority — is ingrained in the American character.
Read more in Monday's Tulsa World.