Where Are The States Rights Supporters When It Comes To Sanctuary States?

Conservatives like to whine about “states rights” when it comes to abortion, drugs, and butt sex, but are curiously silent about “states rights” when it comes to California’s sanctuary laws. While the term “sanctuary state” can vary in meaning, it essentially refers to a state that refuses to assist the federal government and its armed agents in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

While this sounds radical, it’s actually not; it is in fact a well-settled constitutional principle that the federal government may not force state law enforcement agencies to do its bidding. In Printz v. United States, the federal government sought to enforce the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which required state law enforcement agencies to perform background checks of prospective handgun purchasers. Local sheriffs from Montana and Arizona challenged the law on the grounds it was unconstitutional to force, or “commandeer” state officers to execute federal law.

The Supreme Court ruled the Brady Act’s attempted commandeering of local law enforcement violated the 10th Amendment. The opinion, authored by none other than conservative darling Antonin Scalia, reasoned as follows:

Enactments of the early Congresses seem to contain no evidence of an assumption that the Federal Government may command the States’ executive power in the absence of a particularized constitutional authorization… The Government misplaces its reliance on portions of The Federalist suggesting that federal responsibilities could be imposed on state officers. None of these statements necessarily implies-what is the critical point here-that Congress could impose these responsibilities without the States’ consent. 

He continues on to explain the concept of dual sovereignty and the impact of a policy that would require state agencies to enforce federal law:

The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service-and at no cost to itself-the police officers of the 50 States.

So apparently states rights is a big fucking deal to conservatives in selective circumstances (because they hate women and gay people), yet it’s nothing but crickets when it comes to immigration. Suddenly, the 10th amendment, constitutionalism, and small government are a distant memory. So very shocking.

Not that we should cut the liberals any degree of slack. I’ve never heard of any mainstream liberal politician come out in support of completely open borders. Their calls for reform and compassion are still framed in the context of an unduly restrictive and violative immigration scheme, and thus are unrealistic and disingenuous. Essentially, they fully support ICE tearing families apart as well, just perhaps at a somewhat lower rate than conservatives (my, aren’t you the humanitarian then?!).

Texas Abortion Laws Force Abortion Clinics to Close, Liberals and Conservatives Both to Blame

By definition, freedom is the is the power to determine action without restraint; alternatively, it is the exemption from external control, interference, or regulation. The definition itself is straightforward, yet its application in politics is anything but. Conservatives want to protect people with oppressive laws and militaristic police from “the illegals,” “the terrorists,” the Muslims, drugs, and other various bogeymen, but feign a concern for “freedom” when it comes to economic issues. Liberals might not be quite as rabid about immigrants, Muslims, or drugs, but want to protect people nanny-state style, with equally burdensome laws from banning cigarettes/sodas/fatty foods, to forcing people to buy health insurance, while paying lip service to social freedoms.

In other words, everyone wants to pick and choose the freedoms they support, which is ultimately an untenable position.

Conservatives, who cheer on laws regulating sodomy, gay marriage, drugs, among other things that are no one else’s damn business, should not be surprised (yet for some reason, always are) when they find the government has inflated to an unmanageable size, and has continually extended its reaches into healthcare, private businesses, and other aspects of peoples’ private lives.

Liberals, who cheer on high rates of taxation, ostensibly for the purpose of the “greater good” and “general welfare,” should not be surprised (yet for some reason, always are), when they find their taxes have been spent on endless war, the most bloated military on the face of the planet, militarized police, and a growing police state.

The most recent example would be the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling on a Texas law, which severely restricts abortion clinics. One key provision of the law requires that physicians performing abortions have hospital admitting privileges. This aspect of the law was upheld by the 5th Circuit last week (see here). This undoubtedly will limit access and availability of abortions across Texas. But wait, there’s more!

Another provision of the law, already in effect, mandates that abortions be performed in facilities equivalent to an ambulatory surgical center (see here and here). This has resulted in the closing of about half of the abortion clinics across the state of Texas, which should be unsurprising (see here).

Obviously, one motivation for the law was to limit abortions. However, that was not the stated intent. Lauren Bean, of the Texas Attorney General’s Office, explained, “This decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women” (see here). Sound familiar, liberals?

When one exchanges a few verbs and nouns, it becomes clear that this law, designed for “protecting the health and safety” of Texas women, is really identical to the countless other laws, regulations, and restrictions in existence in every other area of healthcare.

The law requires that every abortion (which is a surgical procedure) be performed in a facility licensed as an ambulatory surgical clinic. Every doctor performing an abortion should also have hospital admitting privileges. Arguably, the law sounds reasonable on its face. Why shouldn’t a doctor performing a surgical procedure do so in a licensed ambulatory surgical center (which isn’t even a full-fledged surgical facility)? And why shouldn’t such a doctor have hospital admitting privileges for performing surgery? Surely, this will be a reasonable form of quality control and protect women from “dangerous” abortions. In fact, it’s very similar to any of the following laws:

  • Every prescription for medication X must be written by a licensed physician
  • Every procedure X must be performed by a provider licensed to do X
  • Every procedure X must be performed at a hospital licensed to provide X
  • Every medication X must be purchased only at dispensary/facility with permissible licenses to do so
  • Every device X for disease Y must be tested by the FDA under A,B,C requirements before being made available to any member of the public

I doubt most liberals have a real problem with any of the above, because certainly, those laws were passed to “protect” the idiot populace from greedy doctors, Big Pharma, scheming hospitals, and other horrible capitalists, and are completely justified. In the absence of those regulations, doctors will be colluding with Big Pharma to prescribe cyanide for profit, and hospitals will be killing patients, because, profits and stuff!

It would behoove liberals to acknowledge that for the most part, protecting people from their own choices does far more harm than good. Just as Texas’ recent abortion laws are designed to “protect” women from from a host of imagined dangers, but severely limit access to abortion, and indisputably increase the costs thereof, so do the the myriad of healthcare regulations already in place similarly decrease access, and increase prices in every other field of healthcare.

Abortion clinics are closing their doors across Texas, which will create monumental obstacles for women seeking needed services. Conservatives are certainly to blame, but liberals are not entirely blameless either. After all, they usually support all kinds of government regulations and interventions in a wide range of other healthcare issues. This particular intervention and restriction upon abortion is just one of many logical consequences of such support.

I’m not about to limit my beef to liberals, though. Stay tuned for the inevitable circumstance wherein conservatives find that their love of big government similarly has come back to bite them in the ass.