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When Is It OK To Disobey The Law?

In the news recently, Arizona has decided to enforce federal immigration laws at the state level.  While many of their ideas were struck down by the US Supreme Court, some parts of their new law remain in effect.

Arizona basically lost confidence in the US Government enforcing its own laws, so Arizona decided to enforce it for them.  For some reason, the US Government has a problem with that...

You see, if the law is the law, it should be enforced.  If you don't like the laws, change them.  If they're not changed, they must be enforced.

Conversely, the US Government has banned the sale or use of marijuana in all shapes and forms.  Fifteen states (and the District of Columbia), thumbing their nose at the government, decided to pass laws making it legal to use marijuana legally if used for medicinal purposes.

State law tried to overrule Federal law, and the DEA and Dept of Justice cried foul.  (Again, for some reason, the US government has a problem with state laws...)

So, in a nutshell, states cannot enforce federal laws if the federal government doesn't want to, and states cannot pass laws that overrule government law.

...but what about States passing laws that overrule federal laws that the government doesn't want to enforce?

Even though the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 2006, defining as law that marriage is between one man and one woman, the government doesn't feel like enforcing the law.  States jumped on this, and now gay marriage is legal in six states, with another six having odd rules about recognition and certain timelines.



On a personal level, I am pro gay marriage, pro marijuana (safer than alcohol), and mixed about immigration.  On a logical level, I am completely baffled why the government (state or federal) can't make up their mind one way or another on these laws.

And now that the Supreme Court has ok'd the Affordable Care Act (aka 'Obamacare'), it will be interesting to see how the battle of 'Federal vs State' plays out in the next few years.  (Speaking of Obamacare, I love all the idiots saying 'if it gets enacted, I'm moving to Canada/Costa Rica/etc.'  Most of their examples already have laws like this in place!)

Both sides of the political fence are crying '10th Amendment' for these various laws in one way or another.  While there have been clauses and exceptions made on behalf of the 10th Amendment, the line between who is really in charge gets blurrier and blurrier.

Can someone explain to me how we let things like this get so out of hand?  I really don't care if you're for or against any of these laws, I just want to make sense of the muck.

Should these types of laws be handled on a federal level or by the states individually?  And why?  I would love to hear your opinions on this.
Please Share it! :)

13 witty retorts:

E said...

Honestly I think the government has you right where they want you, confused. In fact, they want us so confused that even our sound political decisions tend to appear insane. They want to be in charge and not the people, because if the people would get together and figure out what was going on, none of the government officials would have jobs anymore. A few people know, but that is not enough to do anything about.

Besides, all they care about is that "they passed the law" everything will be better, right? They don't ever think through enforcement unless it directly effects them and their job/money.

Powdered Toast Man said...

I think we should have Betty White make the laws. She has been around long enough and everybody likes her.

Zombie said...

I think it really isnt a matter of whether or not it should be mandated through the feds or the state. It should be a matter of what is the right thing to do.

Haven said...

As far as gay marriage is concerned I don't think the state or the federal government should have a say in it. We're all human and therefore deserve equal rights in this country. Marriage is a commitment of love between two people... as far as the government is concerned it should only see a commitment of finances between two people that choose to be legally bound. Money and taxes are not gender dependent.

We're a country of immigrants. As long as it's legal and you apply and get accepted as a legal immigrant, congratulations, you're just like all of the rest of us (except Native Americans, they were here first). This is more a federal matter. To be an immigrant you have to enter the country as a whole. You can enter the USA but it's not like you can just spontaneously appear in Kansas.

squatlo said...

If you leave laws to the individual states you end up with segregation in one state, integration in the next. Gay marriage in one state, and nullification of that marriage if the couple moves across some arbitrary line on a map. You can't trust DEMOCRACY because people often vote with the angry mob instead of the reasoned approach to a problem.
But as a country we should at least have a centralized CLUE as to what we stand for and which laws we absolutely intend to enforce.
But again, you can't leave it to politicians who have to climb aboard the Pander Express every time they open their mouths in order to stay in office with the "base" back home.
a good liberal dictator might be the way to go...

Workingdan said...

Laws are designed for one take out money, nothing more. The seat belt law is a perfect example. We don't have the choice to not wear one. If we don't, we get fined.

I am opposed to any law that affects my ability to make a decision for myself when it's not harmful to others. Like smoking weed. It is hurting no one but myself. Why is it illegal? To take my money! That's why!

I say we put whores in charge...we pay them them to do what we want!

The Management said...

You are soooo not the only confused person.

The law is effed, plain and simple. It protects the wrong people from the wrong things.

Youngman Brown said...

That's why I just don't pay attention. I honestly have no idea what Obamacare is or means, and I like it that way. Ignorance is bliss.

Melanie said...

Maybe if the Federal Government let states take care of business on a local level and they just worried about bigger things that effect the country as a whole...I don't know. I live in a state where medical marijuana was legalized and we still hear stories in the news about people who have legitimate licenses for growing or using or selling getting harassed. A couple of years ago an elderly couple had their whole house tossed and their six plants they had growing destroyed. Nice.

Its amazing to me that as a people we are supposed to be able to vote for laws to pass...and we can, unless certain people in power don't want it. Then I guess it is ok for them to harass the shit out of the people who are following those laws. I wonder what the writers of the Constitution would think of the sad state of affairs we now live in...

Lady Estrogen said...

This is probably the exact reason why Napoleon said "EVERYONE JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP; I'M GONNA BE THE EMPEROR OF EVERYTHING."

Just saying.

ibookonbooks said...

I hate political blogging you're better than that. Just saying.

ibookonbooks said...

No more politic blogs I thought tfp had something interesting to read don't disappoint me now!

Thank, Q said...

First of all, to ibookonbooks, Brandon has like 5,000 other blog posts for you to read that are funny, so let him do his thing.

Anyway, Brandon, to speak on your topic that only adults can appreciate, it's a great blog post. It's something that's needed to be said for a while. The state and federal levels of government haven't a clue of what they're doing. Then again, they do. Like E stated above, confusion makes them money.

It would make sense to me, being that we're the "United States of America" and all, that we would all fall in line with federal regulations. One rule governs all. However, this country is about as united as women on "Baketball Wives." Everyone is out for self.

Where did all of this go wrong? Probably way before you and I were even thought of. How can it be fixed? Eliminating political parties is a start.

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