Recently, Jeff Sessions addressed the California Peace Officers’ Assn. in Sacramento with an announcement that he is going to sue the State of California over the sanctuary laws. During his speech he declared that California doesn’t have a right to refuse his orders because “Federal law is the supreme law of the land.”
Now, I’m sure the little weasel is hoping people will just accept what he said without a challenge, but I’m not one of those people. 😉
What we have here is a form of deception based on a supporting argument that is true by itself but has no relevance whatsoever to the the point being made.
Yes, there is indeed a “Supremacy Clause” in the Constitution… Article VI, Clause 2 says…
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;
Clearly, this confirms that federal law *IS* the “Supreme Law of the Land”. But the Constitution is also very clear about who has the power to MAKE these supreme federal laws… Article I gives that power to Congress, not the President. Powers delegated to the President are listed in Article II and do not include ANY legislative power. According to the Constitution, Trump and Sessions are supposed to be enforcing the federal laws that come from Congress, not their own executive orders. BTW, this is precisely what separates a constitutional republic from a dictatorship.
So, the real question is… does the sanctuary provided by California actually violate any federal laws legislated by Congress? From what I can tell, there isn’t any and Sessions of course neglects to point out any such specifics, relying instead on broad-brush symbolism where deception won’t be so obvious. It appears that the only rules that sanctuary in California is violating are the orders and policies of the Trump administration, NOT federal laws.
And as is often the case on the heels of deception, irrational but dramatic symbolism draws the curtains as Sessions says “I would invite any doubters to Gettysburg, and to the graves of John C. Calhoun and Abraham Lincoln.”
Right. Because their graves will explain how the Executive Branch can overrule a state and not be unconstitutional. If his simple-minded point is to say the Civil War confirms the federal government overrules the state government, I invite him to read the 10th Amendment.