According to The New York Times, whether it’s correctly called a movement, a backlash or political theater, state declarations of their rights — or in some cases denunciations of federal authority, amounting to the same thing — are on a roll.
Several states, most of them red, have been adopting resolutions emphasizing their own rights or denouncing federal authority. South Dakota and Wyoming have declared federal gun laws invalid if the gun is made and used within the state; the Oklahoma House has passed a resolution saying they should be able to vote on opting out of federal health-care reform; Utah’s legislature has said the federal government cannot enact health-care reform without its permission, and also said the state has the power to seize federal land under eminent domain; and Alabama, Tennessee, and Washington are all considering measures to assert local police’s power over federal authorities. Much of this legislation has been championed and pushed by Tea Parties, but it’s unlikely much of it will last. “Article 6 says that federal law is supreme and that if there’s a conflict, federal law prevails,” says one constitutional-law professor. “It’s pretty difficult to imagine a way in which a state could prevail on many of these.”