Sanctuary Cities

A Sanctuary State of the Right

Montana's new law refusing to help enforce federal gun restrictions is similar to liberal "sanctuary cities'" refusal to assist in federal immigration enforcement. Both are protected by Constitution.


Montana's GOP-controlled legislature recently enacted a law barring state and local law enforcement from helping to enforce federal gun restrictions. While much media coverage portrays this as a case  of "nullification," it is actually quite similar to liberal state and local governments' sanctuary laws, restricting assistance to enforcement of federal laws targeting undocumented immigrants for deportation.

Both immigration sanctuary laws and Montana's gun laws deny state and local assistance to federal officials seeking to enforce the laws and regulations in question. But, unlike true nullification efforts (such as those advocated by John C. Calhoun and others in the nineteenth century) they do not deny that those laws apply within the state, and do not prevent federal officials from trying to enforce the laws in question themselves.

Importantly, sanctuary laws do not protect state and local officials against having to follow federal law themselves (e.g.—they don't authorize them to violate federal constitutional rights). They merely block them from enforcing specific federal laws against potential violations by private parties.

USA Today has a helpful summary of the Montana law, which belies its own headline's misleading description (which wrongly describes the Montana law as "nullifying" the federal one):

Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday signed a bill that prohibits state and local law enforcement in Montana from enforcing federal bans on firearms, ammunition and magazines….

Montana law would prohibit law enforcement officials and other state employees from enforcing, implementing or spending state funds to uphold federal bans on particular kinds of firearms, ammunition and magazines.

While sanctuary laws do not render federal law inoperative, they do make it harder to enforce. In many cases, the federal government simply lacks the resources and personnel needed to enforce its laws without substantial state and local assistance. There are vastly more state and local law enforcement officers and than federal ones.

Trump-era efforts to use ICE raids to offset immigration sanctuaries had only very limited success. If the Biden administration tries to use federal ATF agents to offset Montana's policy, it may well run into similar constraints.

The Trump administration launched an extensive campaign to try to pressure liberal immigration sanctuary jurisdictions into giving up their policies. Most of these efforts were struck down by courts because they ran afoul of constitutional prohibitions on federal "commandeering" of state and local government, and executive imposition of conditions on state recipients of federal funds without congressional authorization. Liberal Democrats were happy to use constitutional protections for federalism to protect sanctuary cities and states against Trump, while  many Republicans advocated broad theories of federal power to try to get around those limits.

Now that there is a Democrat in the White House, and  the issue is gun rights, rather than immigration, the shoe is on the other foot. Many of those who defended liberal sanctuary jurisdictions are likely to denounce the Montana law, and vice versa. "Fair weather federalism" is a ubiquitous element of American politics, and will probably  crop up again in this case.

I am one of the relatively few people who sympathize with both liberal immigration sanctuaries, and conservative gun gun sanctuaries. To my mind, both are countering federal laws that are at best counterproductive, and at worst deeply harmful and unjust.

But, even aside from the merits of specific policies, there is great value in having a federal system that leaves room for sanctuary jurisdictions of various ideological stripes. I outline some of the reasons why here:

[T]here is a good deal of inconsistency and "selective morality" in the discourse over sanctuary cities. People who sympathize with left-wing sanctuary causes tend to condemn right-wing ones, and vice versa, even in cases where the legal and moral issues involved are remarkably similar. Such ideological—and often even purely partisan—bias is part of the broader phenomenon of "fair weather federalism," where both Republicans and Democrats all too often condemn or praise limitations on federal power depending primarily on whose ox is being gored…..

I would prefer a broader and more principled commitment to limiting federal power, on both left and right. But I fear we may not get it anytime soon.

In the meantime, even hypocritical sanctuary movements can still provide valuable foot-voting options and protect people against overreaching federal government policies. Immigration sanctuaries can still provide valuable refuge to undocumented immigrants, their families, and those who seek to engage in various economic and social transactions with them. Gun-rights sanctuaries can do the same for those who place a high value on the right to bear arms. And they can serve that purpose even if the politicians who enact such policies are doing so primarily out of ideological or partisan bias, rather than any principled commitment to limiting federal power.

NEXT: Clifford Winston (Brookings) Guest-Blogging on "Trouble at the Bar: An Economics Perspective on the Legal Profession and the Case for Fundamental Reform"

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  1. My prediction is that this will be viewed as “different” and result in the full resources of the Federal government bring employed.

    What I think is going to be more interesting is the result of the Arizona ballot integrity audit.

    1. You mean the incompetent “audit” being conducted by Trump partisans, using an unknown FL firm that couldn’t accurately audit a lemonade stand?

      Get over it, Ed. No fraud, a legitimate election. You and many other Republicans are supporting an attempt to destroy American democracy.

      1. American democracy has already been destroyed by (a) fraud and (b) censorship about the fraud.

        Audits like this are how we restore integrity and rebuild faith in American democracy.

        1. You’re a moron. You repeat crap that there is no evidence for, even after recounts and the like.

          Destructive BS.

          1. And you are a Nazi fascist.

            This is NOT a recount, although there was one in Windham, New Hampshire — requested by the losing (Democratic) candidate for a state rep seat — and the answer wasn’t what she expected. Seems that the machines had stolen about 300 votes from each of the (still victorious) Republican state rep candidates — and she had 100 too many votes.

            Now it has to go through the state legislature on a pro-forma basis but the State Secretary of State (not QAnon) is calling for a “forensic audit on Windham’s Diebold AccuVote voting machines AND the November 3, 2020, general election ballots.” See:

            But Arizona doesn’t involve a recount of stuffed ballot boxes — it involves a forensic evaluation of the actual ballots. If a whole bunch of them were never folded, then they weren’t mailed to actual (living) voters, were they? Likewise if the paper they are printed on came from a different mill than the paper that official AZ ballots were printed on, or if the ink came from a different mix, then they are counterfeit. (The USSS (and banks) routinely use these facts to identify counterfeit US currency….)

            Now if you honestly thought that the election hadn’t been rigged, you’d welcome these inquiries because they would show that it had been a fair election — and the fact you don’t speaks volumes…

            1. How many fucking times do you have to be told that there’s been NO evidence found that the election was anything other than free, fair, and accurate?

              They’ve looked. People even more desperate and idiotic than you have looked. Lawsuits were filed. Audits were performed.

              NOTHING. You’re just a moron who refuses to accept reality.

              1. How many times do we have to tell YOU, that if you refuse to let people look for fraud, sure, you can claim “no evidence has been found”, but people will continue to be convinced there must have been fraud.

                Because otherwise, why would you be so determined that they not be allowed to look?

                Yes, ‘audits’ were performed. They weren’t the sort that would find what was alleged, but instead the sort that would confirm nobody made math errors.

                1. Here is your fucking “audit.”

                  The head of Cyber Ninjas, the Florida-based firm that Republican senators hired to oversee the audit, has embraced Mr. Trump’s baseless theories of election theft and has suggested, contrary to available evidence, that Mr. Trump actually won Arizona by 200,000 votes. The pro-Trump cable channel One America News Network has started a fund-raiser to finance the venture and has been named one of the nonpartisan observers that will keep the audit on the straight and narrow.


                  In fact, three previous reviews showed no sign of significant fraud or any reason to doubt President Biden’s victory. But the senators now plan to recount — by hand — all 2.1 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, two-thirds of the entire vote statewide.

                  Keep looking, Ed.

                  Ms. Fann, who in the past had been seen as a moderate conservative, said the Senate wanted a stricter review. Senators said they had hired “an independent, qualified forensic auditing firm” for the task.

                  Then it developed that their selection, Allied Security Operations Group, had asserted that Arizona voting machines had been hacked in an “insidious and egregious ploy” to elect Mr. Biden.

                  Continue reading the main story

                  The senators backtracked, but Jack Sellers, the chairman of the Maricopa County supervisors, charged in a Facebook post that they had chosen “a debunked conspiracy theorist” for the audit.

                  Yeah. Objective.

                  The second firm hired to analyze the audit results, Cyber Ninjas, says it is an industry leader. But The Arizona Republic soon reported that the company’s chief executive, Doug Logan, had posted a litany of stolen-election conspiracy theories on a Twitter account that he had deleted in January.

                  Among them was a retweeted post suggesting that Dominion Voting Systems, a favorite target of the right, had robbed Mr. Trump of 200,000 votes in Arizona. Dominion says Cyber Ninjas is “led by conspiracy theorists and QAnon supporters who have helped spread the “Big Lie” of a rigged election.

                  More objectivity.

                  So fuck you, and fuck Dr. Ed.

                  There have been plenty of reviews and recounts and not a shred of evidence has turned up of fraud, but you keep asking for more and more and more BS “audits” and whatnot.

                  Which is why I’m opposed. You simply will not accept any result that shows Trump lost. If you counted them yourself you’d say you weren’t given all the ballots.

                  So forget it.

                2. How many times do we have to tell YOU, that if you refuse to let people look for fraud, sure, you can claim “no evidence has been found”, but people will continue to be convinced there must have been fraud.

                  How many fucking times do you get to look for fraud before you don’t get any more chances? How much evidence, just a bit, a suggestion, do you have to produce to justify yet another search? How many lawsuits do you have to lose?

                  Do you honestly believe election officials in GA – two recounts – and AZ – a number of reviews – with four GOP election commissioners and one Democrat, rigged the election.

                  The fact is, you won’t accept a result that shows Trump lost. You’ll come up with more BS – there will always be some idiot to make claims – and demand more investigations, etc.

                  1. Personally? I believe the election was ‘rigged’ by a variety of means that did not technically constitute ‘fraud’, such as running local GOTV efforts routing money through donations to elections officials instead of the party, so as to evade campaign donation limits and reporting requirements, and by extra-legislative alterations to election rules.

                    Wouldn’t shock me if there was some actual fraud going on, too, though.

                    Still, as a general rule, you don’t persuade people there wasn’t any cheating by obstructing their efforts to look for it.

                  2. GA didn’t have the signature match verification. It was a waste of time. All it you did was send a bunch of ballots, with no chain of custody documents, though the scanners again.

                    I’m shocked, shocked, the machines counted something we told them to count the same way twice arrived at the same results twice.

                  3. Bernard,

                    After the 2000 election was finished, there was a comprehensive recount in Florida


                    Why not just let a recount go, and look at what the results are? They won’t change the election now. What’s the harm?

              2. If you close your eyes, you don’t see anything. If you close up or stuff your ears, you don’t hear anything. If you close your mouth, you don’t say anything. BUT that does not mean that there is nothing to see, that there is nothing to hear & nothing to say. The innocent dies not have to protest their innocence, only the Guilty protests their innocence.

                1. The innocent dies not have to protest their innocence, only the Guilty protests their innocence.

                  Congratulations! You win the Stupidest Comment of the Day Award!

            2. Not just a fascist – a NAZI fascist!!!

          2. Hey, they did a full stem to stern review after 2000. Dems got involved and the result was the Help America Vote Act. What gives?

            1. This isn’t a policy review, chief.

              1. Yep, it’s an audit. Again, like they did after 2000. Policy prescriptions typically come AFTER we do an after action report. That’s kinda standard, eh?

                You’re already laying the mental groundwork to deny the results, if any, that you don’t like.

                1. No, this is not that kind of audit.

                  Policy audits look for policy failures, and have associated findings that are generally met with a corrective action plan.

                  This is an re-examination of ballots, and if it does have associated policy findings that’ll just show the auditor is a hack.

              2. p.s.

                What are you afraid of? If nothing is found, this buries Trump.

                1. I’m afraid of shit being made up, or smoke being tossed into the air by this, by all evidence partisan and ignorant auditor that y’all seize on forever.

        2. Exactly. And by wholesale replacement of Americans with illiterate third world savages, like Omar.

      2. The fraud occurred by turning tens of millions of third worlders into citizens against the will of the people.

        Trump won by a landslide if you exclude the votes of those admitted after 1965 and their equally useless descendants.

        1. Trump won by a landslide *anyway* — that’s why they had to stop counting, they hadn’t prepared enough fake ballots…

          The BLM riots alone were enough to give Trump a landslide victory — just like Nixon in 1972. Riots *don’t* work in that — given a secret ballot — people fearful of them will vote for the “law & order” candidate.

          1. Oh STFU.

            You are utterly deranged. You have not the slightest reason to think that.

            It’s insanity.

      3. using an unknown FL firm that couldn’t accurately audit a lemonade stand?

        So let’s break this down.

        I’m going to take a wild guess (check me on this one) that you’re not suggesting a group of white hat hackers don’t know how to count.

        And you’re certainly not saying that a group of white hat hacker don’t know how to count as well as a bunch of volunteer bureaucrats whose greatest qualifications generally are to have been willing to show up.

        So why ELSE could you be trying to preemptively invalidate the conclusions of a group of white hat hackers about electronically captured and tabulated election results in Arizona? Hmmmmmmm.

        1. There is a lot more involved in investigating the validity of a state-wide election than knowing how to count. That’s why when someone wants to mount a serious investigation, they hire people who have knowledge in how election canvassing actually works. I’m guessing you know this, but it is inconvenient to your ideologically driven narrative.

          1. That’s why when someone wants to mount a serious investigation, they hire people who have knowledge in how election canvassing actually works.

            Interesting. So specific knowledge of “election canvassing” (whatever you actually mean by that) apparently can affect one’s conclusions about the resultant vote. Care to explain why that’s not just another preemptive effort to explain away whatever objective results emerge from this process? (“You just don’t UNDERSTAND, man!”)

            1. Auditors that don’t have specific knowledge of the process being audited are going to turn up spurious nonsense.

        2. What did you “break down?”

          Nothing. The firm chosen is led by a Trump conspiracy theorist.

          The second firm hired to analyze the audit results, Cyber Ninjas, says it is an industry leader. But The Arizona Republic soon reported that the company’s chief executive, Doug Logan, had posted a litany of stolen-election conspiracy theories on a Twitter account that he had deleted in January.

          Among them was a retweeted post suggesting that Dominion Voting Systems, a favorite target of the right, had robbed Mr. Trump of 200,000 votes in Arizona.

          Yeah. They’ll be honest.

          1. You don’t prove somebody incompetent by demonstrating they don’t share your politics.

            1. The left’s intellegensia is telling the lumpen proletariat , like benard, that the audit won’t be fair.

              Maricopa county went GOP for a long, long time, then suddenly swings for Biden? The County Board there fights like hell with all legal avenues, and illegal ones (shredded ballots were found in a dumpster).

              Now, will be be some big reveal? Maybe, maybe not. The guilty flee when no one peruses. But if they didn’t have something to hide, why are they fighting so hard against the audit? If it was a legit election, it would confirm things and essentially, shut Trump down for good.

            2. You don’t prove somebody incompetent by demonstrating they don’t share your politics.

              No, but when they make utterly baseless, wildly partisan claims you can conclude that they are not all there, and hence likely to be out of touch with reality.

              And even if you don’t buy that, you certainly don’t trust them to conduct an impartial recount.

              Besides, there is other evidence of their incompetence.

              1. Are you aware that you’re, right here and right now, making mostly baseless, wildly partisan claims that are out of fairly out of touch with reality? When confronted with it, you say STFU?

                It’s certainly interesting, to say the least.

                Anyway, you’re thoroughly a party man, and no person can be a thorough partisan for a long period without sacrificing their moral identity, as was long ago noted by J.Q. Adams.

                1. The claim that someone is partisan based on a factual example of partisan behavior is itself a partisan claim?

                  No, that’s not. Are you saying he’s lying?

          2. Well, we will see. There are questions people have. An audit will be done.

            If nothing comes up, you’ll be vindicated. If something does, more investigation will be called for.

            1. If nothing comes up, you’ll be vindicated

              Except no, the same people on here who yell FRAUD!!!! will continue to say so.

              1. That’s not was vindicated means, but oh well.

                1. The point of vindication when no one changes their mind is lost on me, then.

                  1. The review could show distinct fraud.

                    Would that change your mind?

            2. If nothing comes up, you’ll be vindicated.

              I would support this audit if you Trumpkins would pre-agree that when it finds nothing you will say, “Yes, I am really stupid, gullible, and dishonest. Trump lost bigly and I will never question the election again.”

              But of course we all know that won’t happen. You’ll just make up some other lie and claim more needs to be done.

  2. It’s not enough. Red states should make it clear that any federal officers that show up uninvited to enforce liberal prerogatives will face state police and militias.

    1. Is there any actual precedent that says that Montana has to recognize their CCWs and (most likely) out-of-state drivers’ licenses?
      That Montana has to recognize GSA license plates?

      There *are* non-violent ways to exert the state police power…

      1. Violence is the only thing that these vermin understand.

        1. No. They understand bureaucracy — and having their vehicles seized (towed & impounded) by the State of Montana (for not being lawfully registered) is something that they’d definitely understand.

          Forget violence, there is no reason why you can’t give the federal employee a ride to the state police barracks, let him/her/it use the restroom, maybe even give the person a meal or two while the bureaucrats in DC play with themselves.

          I’m reminded of when the NH State Troopers arrested the MA State Troopers who were trespassing at NH State Liquor Stores — they were decent about it, there was no reason not to be…

          So too here — there is no reason not to be decent about this…

          1. I actually kind of like that idea. I just think violence will eventually be necessary.

        2. I look forward to hearing about how you tried to find your balls and back up your words with actions.

      2. LEOSA would likely require recognition of CCWs as they would be federal law enforcement officers.

        As for drivers licenses and vehicle registrations, I believe that is facilitated by state-level legislation, so the state probably could rescind recognition, but it would almost certainly require a additional law be passed

      3. Law enforcement does not need a CCW while on duty – and yes, Montana has to recognize their right to carry then.
        Yes, they also have to recognize the license plates.

        There might be other ways to apply pressure but those two tactics won’t work.

    2. With the result being the same as it was last time the states decided to resist the feds by force. Ever hear of Fort Sumter?

      1. No, it won’t be. Because the modern left is made up of women and girly men.

      2. Firing on Fort Sumter was a tactical and political mistake.

        Now as to preventing any supplies from reaching Fort Sumter — not so sexy, but a lot more effective…

        The problem is that the Confederacy never thought this stuff through — perhaps it was because they were so convinced that their cause was right (and 60 years earlier, a lot of people in the North would have agreed with them — do not forget the Hartford Convention) — but society had changed, and they didn’t realize it.

        Firing on Fort Sumter was stupid — now forcing Fort Sumter to fire on *you* (i.e. your shipping), that would have been a very different issue, and one which would have backfired as badly in the north as Kent State did 110 years later.

        1. Was it that society had changed in terms of slavery and federal power or that enough people thought that keeping the union together, alone, was a cause worth dying for that the Confederacy didn’t have the ability to defeat them?

          1. It was mostly a consequence of the North being industrialized, and the South being agricultural. That, and that the war was being conducted on the South’s territory, so that as it wore on, the South’s capacity to sustain the war declined a lot faster than the North’s.

        2. The mistake they made was the same mistake Aktenberg78 makes in the comment preceding yours; they managed to convince themselves that Northerners would be no match for Southerners on the battlefield.

          I don’t think Lincoln could have been maneuvered into ordering Fort Sumter to fire on Confederate shipping. Lincoln was a sufficiently capable politician to understand the consequences of doing that, especially since the General Assembly of Virginia spelled out one of the consequences in a resolution on January 21, 1861:

          Resolved by the General Assembly of Virginia, That if all efforts to reconcile the unhappy differences existing between the two sections of the country shall prove to be abortive, then, in the opinion of the General Assembly, every consideration of honor and interest demands that Virginia shall unite her destiny with the slave-holding States of the South.

          Once the Confederacy went to war against the United States, Virginia did just that.

          The Hartford Convention does not support the notion that secession was popular at the time. The resolution produced by the convention does not say anything about secession. The proceedings of the convention were secret, but there was a perception that the Convention had taken the idea of secession seriously enough to discuss it and reject it. The Federalist Party collapsed, and while I don’t know the full story behind that it seems like the perception that the Federalist Party was sympathetic to the idea of secession played a significant role in the destruction of the Party.

          1. Being in a position to fire on Confederate shipping was literally the only use of investing Fort Sumter.

            This doesn’t mean it had to actually do much firing, as the mere possibility of being fired on would have made it hard to persuade civilian ships to enter the port.

            1. It may have changed the outcome of the war however.

              Remember, a lot of the war rested on which way the border states would flip. There’s a lot of difference between
              1. Rebel soldiers open fire on federal fort, seizing it
              2. Federal forces open fire on civilian vessels, sinking them.

              One is an act of rebellion. The other is an act of tyranny. If the federal government is opening fire on peaceful civilian ships…Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland…all might have gone the other way and joined the war against the Tyranny of the Federal Government.

          2. Every Southern soldier was worth 3 Northern soldiers. Thing is, there were 3 Northern soldiers for every 1 Southern soldier.

            1. You’ve gone beyond lost cause to just parroting Confederate propaganda that was debunked at like First Bull Run.

              1. Well, I can see why you’d say that. But it’s hard to deny that the North lost again, and again, and again, until they could get trained up and staff armies larger and better equipped than the South. And had a general, Grant, that was willing to have acceptable losses to gain victory.

                1. The issue was the generals. Which is well known. That is very different from “Every Southern soldier was worth 3 Northern soldiers.”

      3. Grow up, RTFA, and try to comprehend why this is nowhere near nullification or secession.

        1. Except he’s replying to an Aktenberg post, not the OP.

  3. Many of those who defended liberal sanctuary jurisdictions are likely to denounce the Montana law, and vice versa.

    Maybe. We’ll see. Personally, the Montana law is fine with me.

  4. Ilya, we are going to make your street a Sanctuary Street. All illegals will be moved to it. Then, we are going to make your Law School a Sanctuary Law School. Illegal Indian law professors will be teaching there for $25000 a year, a sum they never thought they could make.

    1. “Illegal Indian law professors will be teaching there for $25000 a year”

      Maybe then law school might actually be a useful investment

      1. Oh, he didn’t say TUITION would go down….

        1. The employers of the illegals always keep the profits. That is why Trump had to go. We were on the verge of having a wage explosion from the labor shortage caused by Trump policies. The tech billionaire owners of the media and of the Democrat Party created a pandemic hysteria to shut down the Trump achievements and to get rid of the greatest President since George Washington. We owe these Chinese Commie agents and traitors big time. All their running dogs must pay as well, such as the scum making Comments here.

          1. These scumbags are still doing it. 300000 people caught a cold in India out of 1.4 billion people. We are having a surge, according to the scumbag press.

            1. I know lawyer math stops at the 4th grade, that needed to count money. Fractions and denominators are taught in 5th grade. That is 1 in 5000 people. Now we have to shut down India.

  5. Idk man, I think I’ve heard of this “nullification” play right before some of the worst events in our nation’s history happened

    Yes, northern states made those arguments too, but there is the supremacy clause and the basis of the anti-commadeering doctrine here seems … weak?

    And the nullification argument I have always been taught was made up my the South or North States to overrule laws they didnt, and it had no basis in what was intended.

    Like Murphy vs. NCAA was about forcing the legislature to pass or not pass certain laws. That seems like a clear you cant do that. Saying you can’t force any local or state official to do anything is a very different story.

  6. I’m fine with any state deciding not to use state resources to enforce federal law. That strikes me as a legitimate decision about resource allocation.

  7. This looks like the law:

    It only applies to new gun restrictions, not to laws or interpretations of laws as they stood in 2020. Trump’s bump stock ban is not covered but Biden’s rules and policy changes will be.

    1. Yeah, kind of lame; Haven’t they heard that you might as well be hung for a sheep, as for a lamb?

  8. Tom Woods wrote a very good book on nullification back in 2010. I never read the Virginia or Kentucky Resolutions of 98 and 99. That said sanctuary cities are different than what Montana just did…govt has a fundamental right to protect our life and liberty back to the original document of our country -DOI (and I don’t care if some judges decided the document has no legal weight…it does). Sanc Cities are govt NOT living up to the DOI and our natural rights by not protecting Americans from foreign law breakers…end of story. When govt at any level decides that it will not protect my life and liberty it as no legitimacy…Jefferson and Madison I think would be in agreement.

    1. You raise a good point, and the better example is the PDQ (Quebec Province, not just the city) during WW-II.

      To put it mildly, they weren’t supporters of the British, and notwithstanding the fact that Hitler had already conquered France (whom they were loyal to), they had a lot of draft dodgers — it’s been said that everyone in the PdQ had someone hiding in the woods whom they routinely took food & supplies out to.

      And while the Nazis did land in DownEast Maine, they really couldn’t in the PdQ — but what if they could have? What if the Quebecois had decided to hide Nazi spies?

      That’s a national security issue — which is what I see Sanctuary Cities as — a level exponentially worse than a debate over federalism…

  9. 2A stuff and seemingly fluid immigration laws and EOs are one thing but there are what may be more significant laws may prevent bigger issues. As an example the currently proposed voting bill might well be ignored by states under the guise of federalism. Already we have seen the House threaten but then back down to seating a seemingly legit elected member because they did not like her politics. What would happen if the House would not seat seemingly legit Electoral College members because of states ignoring the proposed voting bill. Same goes for what I will describe as federal tax laws some states are unhappy with. I am not looking forward to possible results.

  10. The “rule of law” is only for right wingers to follow. Libbies ignoring the law is heroic and standing up against oppression. When people on the right do it just flip the script.

    The double standard is so obvious now they don’t even try to cover it up.

    1. Ha ha yes, I’m sure you made a principled “rule of law” stance in favor of immigration sanctuary cities here.

      1. “a principled “rule of law” stance in favor of immigration sanctuary cities”

        Do you believe in the sky fairy too?

    2. Yes, they were thrilled when Newsom gave illegal “marriage” licenses to homosexuals

  11. Printz v. US pretty much sums up any state that wants to tell the feds they’ll have to use their own forces to get something done the state doesn’t otherwise support.

    1. Note that Printz was the sheriff of Rivalli county, MT (adjacent to the county we live in).

      Personally, as a Montana resident, I think that this is great. My bet right now is that the Democrats in general, and former Gov Steve Bullock in particular, are regretting letting Chuck Schumer talk him into giving up the governorship to run for the Senate (which race he lost). You just have to look over at KS, where the Dem governor just vetoed Constitutional Carry.

  12. I’m sad to see this (and the earlier sanctuary laws). A country is like a marriage, and needs constant compromise. We seem to be forgetting how to do that.

    1. And why do you think that is?

      1. Well, I can tell you which side started using compromise as a bad word and accusing the other side of bad faith.

        But now both sides do it, and we’re in full prisoners’ dilemma territory.

        1. People in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones. But yea, I agree, politics ain’t beanbag.

          I was hoping someone would pipe up and say we don’t have shared values anymore, but that’s perhaps a connection that most people cannot make.

          1. Except you’re wrong. Zealots think we don’t have shared values. Normal people who are not so terminally online realize we mostly agree except on the margins.

            But, of course, policy is made on the margins.

      2. Good question, and I can only guess.

        News silos are one. Having local papers with differing viewpoints was once common, but with only three networks and only a half hour of news a day, most people only heard the centrist viewpoint. I have heard speculation about advertising as well – if you placed ads for Mayberry Furniture, you didn’t want the local rag being too divisive.

        With cable, and now the internet, a news outlet can afford to lose all the people on one side of the debate, if it can attract as many from the other side. Or, for that matter, being outrageous can pay off not only when people who agree with you forward the link, but also when people disagree forward the link as an example of how nuts the other side – you get paid for clicks either way.

        Matt Taibbi has a book out called ‘Hate Inc’ that goes into this.

        I also think that the internet lets wackos find each other. I hear stuff in these comment threads that I have never heard in real life – without the internet people with very fringe positions feel pretty alone. Finding the other wackos makes them think they aren’t so far on the fringe and emboldens them.

        People have always had political differences before, but people used to disagree a lot more cordially than they do now.

  13. This anti-commandeering rule is one of those things that seems “penny wise, pound foolish” from a federalism point of view. By making the Feds implement their own policies, you end up with a much larger Federal government than if you allowed the Federal government to require the states to do this.

    (For examples of the opposite, see the EU and Germany.)

    1. The anti-commandeering rule made more sense when the federal government was actually limited in what sorts of laws it could pass and enforce

    2. And yet we didn’t get a substantially larger immigration enforcement arm when the sanctuary cities started their strategy of non-cooperation. The feds mostly just failed. What makes you think that the ATF would have any better luck in the budget wars?

      1. As the war on drugs winds down many federal agents will need a new mission.

    3. No, that’s backwards. By allowing the federal government to require the states to do this, you have a federal government de facto as big as all of the state governments. For example, there are about 60,000 federal immigration agents (CBP/ICE) in the U.S., but about 700,000 police in the U.S.; allowing commandeering makes all of the latter immigration agents.

      Allowing commandeering means that the federal government can pass as expansive/intrusive laws as it wants without having to pay the costs of enforcing them.

  14. In principle, states are entitled to take a, “Enforce it yourself, if you can!” attitude towards every federal law.

    I oppose immigration ‘sanctuaries’ that limit themselves to that on policy grounds, but it’s stupid policy they’re constitutionally entitled to adopt, so long as they limit it to non-assistance.

    However, surely Ilya hasn’t forgotten that California, for instance, has gone way, way beyond, “Enforce it yourself!”. They actually went so far as to prohibit the private sector from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration law enforcement, indeed mandating actions such as notifying your illegal employees if you find out an immigration raid is planned.

  15. We have way too many discretionary laws. Laws should be enforced uniformly and fairly. If not, or if we don’t like the results when they are, those laws should be repealed.

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