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home : opinions : commentary May 24, 2016

3/12/2013 1:07:00 PM
My Turn: We can stand the punch lines if we’re in the right
Sen. Chester Crandell

There has been plenty of misinformation about a resolution I’ve sponsored that is moving through the legislature, and I am trying to clear it up. Senate Concurrent Resolution 1016 would constitutionally allow the people of Arizona to reject a federal action if they determine it violates the United States Constitution.

They could do this by passing an initiative or referendum, passing a bill or by using legal action. In addition, the resolution further prohibits the state from using personnel or resources to further enforce a federal action that the people have deemed unconstitutional. SCR 1016 passed out of the Senate and is currently in the House of Representatives. If it clears there, it would likely be sent to you, the voter, in 2014.

Opponents of SCR 1016 claim that this type of legislation causes outsiders to mock the state of Arizona, making it a target for unnecessary and unkind media attention. So now we should consider the late night comedians when determining the best legislation for our state? Well, the people of Arizona aren’t laughing when they suffer the consequences of federal government overreach. If the cost of fighting back is suffering through some punch lines of comedians, I’ll take it. 

I believe that SCR 1016 reflects and enhances the system of government in the United States, specifically with regard to the concept of “checks and balances”. We must fight back for the things that we as a state value. SCR 1016 would allow Arizona to reject federal actions that overstep their boundaries and interfere with the Constitutional sovereignty of the state.  

In the past other elected officials have taken necessary steps to reject unconstitutional federal actions.  The Brady Act, passed in 1993 as an amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968, imposed a waiting period of up to five days for the purchase of a handgun, and subjected purchasers to a background check during that period. Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County challenged the Brady Act’s provisions in the local federal district court, explaining that the act imposed duties upon him as a county sheriff. He invoked the Tenth Amendment and the district court ruled that the act did in fact violate the Tenth Amendment by imposing a mandatory duty on sheriffs to conduct background checks.  

SCR.1016 expands upon this type of action and it seeks to follow the example of Sheriff Mack, expanding upon his efforts to challenge the federal government. In November of next year, you may be able to join in this challenge by supporting our legislation.

Sen. Chester Crandell represents Legislative District 6, which includes the Verde Valley.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Article comment by: Oh for heaven's sake.

This isn't about guns. It's about jurisdiction.

When states violate constitutional guarantees, then-- for the sake of individual civil rights--the federal government has to rein them in. When the federal government can't stay within constitutional limits, then--for the good of the union--the states have to push it back on course. End of message.

This has happened before. The first time, the Executive Branch ignored all the warning signs while pursuing westward expansion, and we wound up nearly destroying our nation. Our federal government still has not completely recovered from Civil War and Reconstruction policies.

The second time, with fat cat "robber barons" ignoring the warning signs, a strong executive leaped onto the mound early on and pitched a no hitter (not all completely constitutional, but close enough for government work). We should have kept Teddy Roosevelt for a third and fourth term. You live and learn.

Now with the Executive Branch again ignoring the warning signs while pursuing globalization, it's the states' turn to push back. Arizona isn't alone here. We are not the only state being overstepped upon in many areas.

Which would you rather? Chester Crandell's good-natured challenges or Robert E. Lee's battle cry?

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013
Article comment by: P F

@ Mary

Guns encourage people to say stupid things like, "Gun's don't kill people."

Among others.

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Article comment by: @ Verde Voter

Your problem may be insufficient civics. In the United States, there is only one truly sovereign entity--the individual private citizen.

Citizens elect administrative heads and representatives for city government (to handle local affairs), county governments (to handle unincorporated areas and countywide issues), state governments (to handle statewide issues and deal with other states and the federal government), and the federal government (to handle interstate disputes, regulate interstate commerce, enforce U.S. Constitutional guarantees, and deal with foreign nations).

The federal government can't order the people's state, county, or city representatives to do anything outside it's jurisdiction. That would be an absolute monarchy or dictatorship.

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

Thanks for making my point for me. Arizona has already voted to nullify an unconstitutional federal law. There was no insurrection. It was a very orderly democratic process. And it continues to be argued in the courts by people with law degrees.

Senator Crandell was on the other side of that issue, as is his right. But however rural, his instincts seem to be spot on. The American people are not servants of their governing bodies, federal, state, or local. That's the basic point of the Constitution. We are ruled by consent. And a State's first allegiance is to its citizens, not to the union's central authority.

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Article comment by: Z D

One third of the District 6 Brain Trust, Sen. Crandell understands how to interpret the U.S. Constitution as well as any person with a background in vocational education and ranching could.

Sen. Crandell doesn't need to read any authority on Constitutional law or even any opinion of the Supreme Court. If some federal law violates the Constitution, he can smell it, just like every red-blooded American. No need to muddy the waters with 215 years of Constitutional decisions penned by some of the greatest legal minds of their day.

For example, if a federal law seems out of step with Sen. Crandell's own personal political beliefs, it's obviously unconstitutional. Easy peasy. It's so simple we can all just vote on it.

After all, if the majority of us agree something is unconstitutional, it must be. After the vote, we can just ignore the law. That is the essence of nullification. Never mind we already fought a bloody Civil War about it. Don't forget slavery was constitutional for nearly 100 years and Jim Crow laws, known in South Africa as Apartheid, were also for another 100 years under the constitutional doctrine of separate but equal.

But wait, Sen. Crandell opposes the state's medical marijuana laws because the federal government declares marijuana is illegal. Sure, the people of Arizona voted, twice, but in both cases, the people got it wrong, at least as far as he is concerned.

Federal marijuana laws MUST be constitutional because that fits with Sen. Crandell's own personal political beliefs. No need for nullification here.

See how easy this is?

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013
Article comment by: Verde Voter

I have a problem with this. Any taxpayer paid servant that refuses to protect and serve the people with direct orders/laws from us the taxpayer or our federal government must be terminated effective immediately without pay or benefits. I do not approve of such behavior. What kind of example does this teach the young? This is not only ignorant it is unlawful and criminal. We do not live in a third world war zone. We do not fear our government. We are a civil society and most recently a true embarassment to these United States of America because of unqualified out of control paid idiots in positions of power. That will be removed ASAP.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Gray Grammarian
No. Spell-checker syndrome. If I live to be 100, I may learn to spell it border when I mean border.

@ Phil Falbo
Re: "Guns sure do more to people than just kill them."
Like what? I've never owned one, myself.

Re: "Please write me an essay explaining what might go wrong with a Bill that would, '... make it easier to lock up mentally ill on probable cause.'"
Your friend makes that point far better than I could. My odd acquaintances fall into the jilted-teenage-drama-queen and spacey-divorced-mother categories. Although my son-in-law once answered a call from neighbors who were sure some crazed actors were about to murder each other. That might not play as well these days, especially if they'd also been smoking pot.

Re: interpretations
That may be true of the First Amendment, but the other nine? I think the difficulty anti-gunners are having just stretching interpretations of the Second Amendment to 3 belies your guesstimate.

Posted: Friday, March 22, 2013
Article comment by: P F

@ Gray

For about 1500 years there was one Christian Faith-- Catholicism.

After Martin Luther, people began interpreting the Bible for themselves.

When I see that 33,000 Christian sects exist, I don't think, "Gee, it is really great that everyone agrees on what the Bible says!"

IMO, so it would be with people interpreting the Constitution. I figured about 300,000,000 differing interpretations. Might be only 100,000,000.

Thus the conflating.


Posted: Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Article comment by: Gray Grammarian

To Mary Heartman:

"...flailing at boarder containment... in other boarder States…" ? If this is a pun, I'd love to know the punch line.

To Phil Falbo:

"...there would be approximately 300,000,000 million interpretations of the Articles and Amendments of the US Constitution floating around." Can you support this wild guess with anything approaching documentation...or at least explain your conflation of articles of faith and a written constitution?

Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

P F: "Today, he might be reported by a teacher, he was so weird."

In some if not many schools, he'd be more than reported. He'd be ostracized, labeled, and put into a special program...suspended from school if he chewed a pop tart into an L shape and said "bang-bang"...arrested for threatening to use a Hello Kitty bubble gun...possibly medicated...and have a much better chance of evolving into a resentful mass murderer.

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
Article comment by: P F

@ nuttso

I realize my statement pushed the boundaries of 'sensible.'

But, throughout my life I have heard the Right wingers excuse law enforcement's questionable searches/seizures with a dismissive," If you don't have anything to hide why do you care if they search you?'

IMO, now that it is THEIR ox getting gored we start to hear them whining. (Oh my, I never thought they'd do it to ME!). My comment was more sarcasm than anything else.

As I recall, Mandatory Sentencing, Zero Tolerance and 3-strikes-your-out legislation and the resulting effective mini-police state we now encourage weren't exactly liberal agendas. Talk to the scared white guys' party.

@ Mary H

Please write me an essay explaining what might go wrong with a Bill that would, "... make it easier to lock up mentally ill on probable cause."

I'll make the anonymous call about your mental instability as soon as the law is passed. (Humor)

As far as teachers reporting 'crazy' people?
The weirdest guy I ever knew I went to school with from 1st grade through high school. I am talking weird.

Talk to himself out loud weird. Even though a Catholic, he'd dress up like a preacher with a straight brimmed black hat and preach hell fire and brimstone on street corners just to see what would happen.

Today, he might be reported by a teacher, he was so weird.

He is now a well respected author on the international scene who has had two major movies made from his books.

Crazy, huh?

Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
Article comment by: P F

@ Mary H

Okay, Mary, my total misunderstanding.

Sen. Crandell is advocating people be discriminating about which laws they ignore.

There, that sounds much better.

I know which ones I'll choose.


Wow! people actually supporting making criminal activity legal and they are proud of it?

Guns sure do more to people than just kill them.

Head is spinning...

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013
Article comment by: Punch Lines?

@ Justin Olephool:
Is that why right-wing comedians are having such a good time with sequestration, aerial drones, and the health insurance bailout?

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

@ Wait a sec...

I don't think there is anything wrong with 33,000 Christian sects, or, for that matter,1,333,333.

Draw your religious dogmatic lines anywhere you wish-- as the 33,000 sects do in interpreting the Bible to their liking.

Conversely, If Sen. Crandell had his way and people could interpret the Constitution to their liking, there would be approximately 300,000,000 million interpretations of the Articles and Amendments of the US Constitution floating around.

Now, THAT would be an anarchists idea of heaven!

Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Ryan Jensen:
Glad you mentioned immigration, another hot button Arizona issue.

I agree with you more than I do with Senator Crandell on this. (I think. I can't recall any punch-line-worthy position on his part.) The Arizona Legislature's flailing at boarder containment is a bad joke. They all know anything that hasn't worked in California and Texas won't work in Arizona either--and that what has or is working in other boarder States has a good chance here. And that this is a national issue. Otherwise, the States that get it right get swamped.

But President Obama hasn't been doing his job, either. Issuing executive quasi-amnesty orders for a select group just before an election isn't leadership, it's campaign tactics. Failure to collar his U.S. Immigration Bureau and present Congress with a comprehensive immigration package is inept at best. So now all the state governors have to figure how to separate the preferred illegal aliens from the regular variety and what privileges do or don't violate the rights of legal citizens--or be held in contempt of the President's wishes.

Relative to Senator Crandell's SCR 1016, Arizonans could instruct Governor Brewer & Crew to stop wasting their time and our money trying to comply with a cop-out. Or they could say, "No ma'am, you keep right on floundering."

You notice, however, I'm not suggesting Arizona try to unseat a president Arizona didn't elect but a majority of states in this union did. On this site, at least, that notion has been coming, exclusively, from people who say they support Obama's wish lists. Those of us who don't are simply yelling, "You wanted that job. Now do it."

And I think that's Senator Crandell's position as well.

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