The New York Times screams out in defense of lawlessness
America is set up as a pyramid, with towns and municipalities as the smallest legal and political units, then going to countries, states and, finally, the federal government. The New York Times recently expressed its horror that states are beginning to reassert their legal and political dominance over rogue, Democrat-run municipalities. There is no discernable principle behind this horror, other than the fact that shutting down those rogue entities weakens leftist power.
The insight to be gleaned from the New York Times’s anguished editorial, “States Are Silencing the Will of Millions of Voters,” requires understanding a few fundamental principles about American governance and demographics.
First, as noted above, America has a hierarchical, pyramidal structure. At its base are towns and cities, which are the most numerous legal and political entities. The next level is made up of counties. The counties aggregate to make a state, and the 50 states come together to make up the United States of America. On matters within its constitutional purview, the federal government is the preeminent power and all other political entities must yield to it. That is, if state and federal law are in conflict, the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause expressly mandates that federal law preempts state law.
However, if a matter is not within constitutional purview, the Constitution gives legal and political power to the states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The relationship between the states and their subset counties, towns, and cities, has always been understood to be the same as that between the states and the federal government: The smaller political entities may make their own laws if they do not conflict with state laws. If they do, the state laws preempt the laws, rules, and regulations of its subset political parts.
Second, no matter how conservative a state may be, its urban centers are usually Democrat-run. We can theorize about why this is so (everything from demographics to the dependency on government within a city, to out-and-out voter fraud), but it’s enough for this essay to say that cities trend left.
Third, over the last couple of decades, many of these Democrat-run cities have announced that they are no longer bound by state or even federal laws. This has been most obvious with so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to allow law enforcement to search for or arrest illegal aliens. They’ve also made laws about racial, sexual practice, and sexual identity issues that are discriminatory in nature.
Those facts get us to the New York Times’s existential scream of an editorial. According to the Times’s editors, the way that states are silencing “millions of voters” is by explicitly articulating the commonly previously accepted and understood principle that, if state and local law conflict with each other, state law preempts local law. The editorial focuses on the evil state of Texas, although it acknowledges that lots of states are reclaiming their preemptive authority:
The bill, recently approved by the Texas House and Senate, would nullify any city ordinance or regulation that conflicts with existing state policy in those crucial areas and would give private citizens or businesses the right to sue and seek damages if they believe there is a discrepancy between city and state. That means no city could prohibit discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q. employees, as several Texas cities have done. No city could adopt new rules to limit predatory payday-lending practices. No city could restrict overgrown lots or unsafe festivals or inadequate waste storage. Cities would even be barred from enacting local worker protections, including requiring water breaks for laborers in the Texas heat, as Dallas, Austin and other cities have done after multiple deaths and injuries.
Business lobbyists and Republican legislators who have pushed the bill said its purpose was to rid the state of a patchwork of conflicting regulations. In fact, that patchwork largely exists only in three or four mostly Democratic cities in an overwhelmingly red state, and the bill is the latest effort by Republicans to rid the state of any policies that conflict with their hard-right agenda — even if those policies are fully supported by voters in those cities, who elect representatives to serve their interests.
Let me translate: Waah! We can’t use our power in urban communities to defy the law anymore! Waah! We’re all going to die!!
To have a livable country, one must have an evenly applied rule of law. Leftists aren’t interested in a livable country. They are interested only in perpetual political power, and they throw a hissy fit whenever conservatives dare to reinstate the laws that leftists have ignored or perverted.
When the balance of power is restored between states and their subparts, and between the states and the federal government (which, thanks to an activist Supreme Court, has arrogated way too much power to the feds), America will be a safer, more prosperous nation, benefitting all who live here, regardless of race, sexuality, economic status, etc.