Can States Ignore Federal Law?
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Can States Ignore Federal Law?

On February 8th, Alabama’s Chief Justice
Roy Moore issued a last-minute order to Alabama probate judges to deny same sex marriage licenses.
This directly conflicted with a federal court decision on January 23rd, which legalized
gay marriage in the state of Alabama. So, what happens now? Are states able to defy
federal law? First off, as you may know, federal laws apply
to the whole United States, and state laws apply to just the state. When a conflict between
federal and state law arises, Article 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution, AKA the Supremacy Clause,
says that federal law trumps state law. So, how is Alabama able to defy the federal
ruling? Well, in most cases they’re not… at least not for long. The feds have the Army
National Guard on their side, which the President can send in to enforce federal law wherever
he or she needs it. Some states have their own defense force, but it’s nowhere near
as powerful. In the ‘50s, Arkansas refused to comply
with scholastic desegregation, and sent the state army to block African American children,
known as the Little Rock Nine, from attending a white school. President Eisenhower responded
by temporarily federalizing the Arkansas National Guard and sending additional troops to enforce
the new Supreme Court Decision. Similarly, after the Civil War, President Grant resorted
to federally prosecuting KKK members, because Southern states refused to bring many criminals
to justice. If the federal government wants to assert its dominance over a state, it’s
easy, and legal for them to do so. But sometimes, they take a back seat. Recently,
in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, marijuana has been legalized, despite federal
laws, which maintain that the drug is still illegal. In this case, President Obama has
encouraged his administration to divert law enforcement resources elsewhere. He says the
trend towards legalization is growing. A US Justice Department memorandum in 2009 confirms
that when it comes to medical marijuana use, they will let the states police themselves. As of Monday, February 9th, the Washington
Post reports that many Alabama county officials still resisted issuing same sex marriage licenses,
despite the recent federal court ruling. Currently there is a lot of confusion in Alabama, and
it may not subside until the Supreme Court, America’s highest court of appeal, makes
a decision on the issue. The Supreme Court is slated to hear arguments on the constitutionality
of same sex marriage in April. Today, 13 states continue to ban gay marriage. Think the Supreme Court is safe from the battle
between Democrats and Republicans? They’re actually more biased than you might think.
Check out our video here to learn more. And click here to subscribe.


  • Porg liberation movement

    Alabama….well is not the most "progressive" state…the like old school jim crow laws, whites in charge, black in the cotton fields under white leadership, women in the kitchen making dinner, when the man gets home, it is ready, and whites and non-white kids is separate school…and a white person can lynch a non-white person, and the local police will give the white person a pat on the back…good job! Oh and men and only marry women, and the husbands can beat and abuse there wife's all they want, and get away with it…gotta love the KKK and the aryan brotherhood…good old days…ūüėĀ

  • CJUzziel

    I find it so interesting to read the comments and a constant feature is the liberals bashing the conservatives with the ideology of: "Everyone should be free to have their own beliefs and viewpoints, as long as they do not conflict with mine…"

  • Charlie Tuna

    Of course a individual state can ignore government ruling.each state is covered by its laws.thats why each state has different rules and laws then other states.i have nothing against gay mariage. Mariage was a religious constitution that binds a MAN and Women in holly matrimony. No one says they dislike gays. But that fact is you can't change religion or beliefs cause government says, regardless if it was voted on.someone should of said, well mariage is a agreement between a man and women that's final. I myself don't care if we legalize gay mariage. When they all die we'll see who gets in to heaven. Stand up for what you believe in, and fight for what's right.the world is changing in the blink of an eye. Do your part to keep certain things the way they was intended. I'm no gay basher.i just hate it when people mess with the natural order of life. I bet it was some boldike liberal c.u.n.t. that started the gay mariage movement. I gave up on the idea of getting married.its a joke.its more about tax breaks then religion. Once the government started getting involved I knew we was in a dictatorship. Stand your ground alabama. Let's decide the United states in to 2 countries.that way all the liberals can have one side and all the normal thinking people on the other.

  • Kevin Jacquet

    Gays can be homosexual and commit these things amongst themselves but dont come here and destroy a marriage supposed to be about a man and a women. I respect everyone but dont come here and destroy something God build. Thanks. 

  • Christian Fontaine

    It strictly states in the bible that marriage is only between a man a women. The pope may be in favor but the does not change what the the bible says.
    It was removed from the bible by democratic lobbyist that tried at all cost to do so, but in original Hebrew the bible says that Jesus said that marriage is a sacred event between a man and a women and god does not recognize any other marriage.

  • Tanner Pittman

    This video demonstrates only a superficial understanding of the Supremacy Clause and the interplay between federal and state judges' rulings. Alabama probate judges are actually right to be confused. At least for now.

    (For what it's worth, I support the right of homosexuals to marry.)

  • Joshua Briseno

    Sounds like hypocrisy to me, on the State and Federal level. States and Federal picking and choosing what laws they will enforce and not enforce regardless what the laws actually say

  • Dmitry Becker

    Well, we do see that it was the Supreme Court of the State which ordered the stop of issuing of licenses which under the Judicial code means that it trumps all District Court decision. So Alabama isn't acting out of its right to do this.

  • flandersrobby

    Republicans need to adjust to the 21stcentury. Be the party that takes government out of personnel decisions. Make the government smaller.

  • Chris Wallace

    yeah no the national guard answers to the governor first not the president. The president cant just deploy any troops with out declaring marshal law. since the bush administration the presidents ability to control and deploy troops has become very limited especialy when it comes to domestic matters and not counter terror actions. historically marriage and a few more issues are controlled by the states not the federal government. Alabama is well with in their rights to defy federal law if it infringes upon states rights/responsibilities. that being said I think that everyone should be able to marry who they wish so while i don't agree with it Alabama is still well with in their rights.     

  • SamTheSimmer

    They didn't technically legalize gay marriage in Alabama, SCOTUS said they wouldn't stay the ruling "Gays cannot marry in Alabama." This simply means that, until they make an official ruling later this year, technically, gay marriage is in a sort of limbo. Marriages can be performed, but if, after the stay, they rule against it (unlikely though it is) all gay marriages performed between now and the end of the stay would be invalid.

  • Link Knight

    I was pretty sure the state law come FIRST. and the feds are well known to try and get their way by threatening to cut federal funding to the states for some of the things the states want. kinda like "you ban marijuana again or you can forget that damn freeway" type thing. except they don't talk like me.

  • Duke

    Why does the federal government have to get into everything? I'll give you an example. An example is gun control. The second amendment forbids any restriction on a citizens right to bear arms, yet most big city states (Illinois, Massachusetts, New York) have the strictest gun laws, which is technically unconstitutional and goes against FEDERAL LAW. And yet, ultimately they still have the highest murder rates with guns per kappa.

  • Ryan Pedro

    We will probably have a Civil War in the future, thanks to the goddamn southern traitors. Death to the south, Michigan Forever!

  • The T

    Does anybody else think there are more important things America should be focusing on?
    Like pollution, cures to diseases, education, economy, medical advancements, infrastructure, drug smuggling, illegal immigrants, job creation, corruption, investing in better training for police and military personnel.

    All I ever hear about now are gay marriage and legalizing marijuana, both of which seem really insignificant when comparing them to the other problems.

  • Joe Wild

    ah Julia you're a lovely person but your voice kills my brain cells each time i listen to you. not that i have so many left. cant they change it somehow?

  • Ian Stephens

    I would love to see a video about why Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world and one of the lowest rates of gun crimes.

  • Rusty Case

    There has been a plethora of judge-made-law to the disadvantage of free men.
    These black robed persons choose to interpret OUR Constitution when it is their duty to read it as WE wrote it. It does not require interpretation by a New York lawyer.
    Far too often a law enacted by the legislature is found to be so repugnant to OUR Constitution it is declared to be bad law. This means it is null and void, from it's inception.  No person harmed by it is guilty of crime.
    There is a problem with executive orders and Treaty Law is indeed very powerful.  Both would require extensive discussion under another heading.
    Possibly the appropriate action here would be for the states to withdraw support of federal edicts.  Financial, and otherwise.
    The problem here is the struggle between secular humanist concepts and historic Christian ethics of those who founded the country and identified their intent within the Mayflower Compact.  Which is among our most significant founding documents.
    Next, there will be more talk of a ConCon which is a revolution by the pen. rc

  • Rod Holden

    WOW,  National Guard is controlled by the state, Reserves is controlled by the Feds.  I love when reporters show their ignorance.

  • Paul Wood

    Test Tube is anti-white people and the self hating white friends.
    If Test Tube can make white kids feel just a little bit more blame them they have done their job. Shame and blame whitey is the game.
    Remember kids; all problems stem from white people

  • Jon Lanier

    It is amazing how 1.5% of the population is determining the definition of traditional marriage.  The same group that was considered by the American Psychiatric Association who classified homosexuality as a mental disorder until the 1970's.  This is not about racism as the Gay agenda would like to associate itself.  This is a moral choice issue and they want the world to accept their deviant behavior as normal.

  • BF2Cavs

    you liberals keep talking but don't know the constitution. I stand with Alabama, they deserve the right from an administration over stepping its boundaries.

  • Ryan Pavao

    This is not the entire story. There's a legitimate federalism question here regarding who governs the right to marriage. Until the U.S. Supreme Court (or Congress) decides that marriage laws are a federal issue (which in itself would be a super complex argument) then marriage laws are exclusively state law concerns. There's no mention of federalism in this video. Whoever your legal counsel/researcher is on this dropped a pretty substantial ball. Dispensing incomplete info to the masses. Yikes…

  • Alan Fox

    Remove state sponsored marriages and all the laws and regulations that go along with it. Most of the marriage problems relating to the state go away.

  • Toastbuster

    I wish they would've used Marijuana as an example of states' rights against federal intrusion. I get tired of the whole states' rights issue being drown out by idiots shouting  racism.

  • GWS

    We just need to get the government out of marriage entirely.  Expanding the definition of marriage just brings more of the problems of recognizing marriages to begin with.

    Let individuals define marriage for themselves and get the government out of it.

  • Dogmeat1950

    Testtube really doesn't know much about the Guard…. The fed won't call the State Guard if their is a problem with that state THIS IS WHY Ike Called in the 82nd. IKE NEVER SENT THE GUARD ..


  • ShadowFire287

    Actually, Marriage is a state law. The federal government has no power over it. And I was taught this in a American government Course. There are some laws that states have that the federal government cannot interfere with. Slavery was not one of them as it was never given to the states, rather it was in the hands of the federal government. Marriage, however was never given as a power to the Federal government, which means its falls as a state power only.

  • 87TechReviews

    I have noticed that if a media channel (say fox news) is biased towards republicans, the have conservative states as the blue side, and liberal states as the red side. I have also noticed on channels that are biased to democrats have the liberal side as blue and the conservative side as red. Why doesn't anybody like the color red??? haha

  • Beyonder

    Those bible belt sothern states are poor and filthy. They live off the rest of the union. If Alabama or Mississippi were a separate country, they would be a third world shit hole.

  • Orange Library

    There's push back on the federal government from some states, because there's controversy over the written power Supreme court outlined in the constitution. The Supreme Court can only interpret the law they can't redefine what the constitution says. so on the surface this is a constitutional argument.

  • Anthony Hargis

    The problem here is the Tenth amendment. The U.S. Constitution says nothing in regards to some of these current issues, meaning that they fall under the Tenth Amendment, which means the States get to set the laws concerning them. The U.S. Supreme Court continues to over-reach. It does not have the Constitutional Authority to make laws, only the U.S. Congress can do that. The Supreme court's function is to over turn laws made by the Congress that over reach Congressional Authority, such as when Congress creates a law that ignores and tramples upon the Tenth Amendment.

    The States do have rights . . . and considerable authority, granted them by the U.S. constitution.

  • David Shields

    The so called "Supremacy Clause" only stipulates that the federal government has supremacy over those powers and laws that are granted to the federal government through the constitution. The constitution grants the government no power to arbitrarily enforce restrictions on substances.

  • Nicklus Widner

    Just goes to show how far the government has fallen out of wack, the Supreme Court can't create policy that Congress' job. The Supreme Court is to determine constitutionality of the laws passed by Congress and is supposed to be as impartial as possible. Why can't our government work the way it was supposed to?

  • Matthew Knobel

    The Tenth Amendment (Amendment X) to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791.[1] It expresses the principle of federalism, which strictly supports the entire plan of the original Constitution for the United States of America, by stating that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the United States Constitution. All remaining powers are reserved for the states or the people.

    In order to enact a law that crosses state lines, the federal government would have to justify its use of power. Over the years the states have ignored their duties and have allowed the federal government to overpower the states.

  • Julie Smyth

    I don't believe this we are all small nations, use this terminology and do a search on individual nations laws vs. fed law domination. There is a unknown fact about our domicile, if you are born in a country you are a indian of that nation. No other adjective need apply. old law

  • Brandon Frandsen

    so it depends if the president wants to enforce the law?… there are some logical inconsistencies in permitting some illegal behaviors while not allowing others

  • Gammareign

    The tenth amendment is a thing too. It says: 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.

  • Wesley Marshall

    States ignore federal drug laws. Sometimes the federal government even ignores enforcing its own immigration laws. It's easy to see why there is growing contempt for "Rule of Law".

  • dmhtuber

    Two hundred years ago, no one ever dreamed the government of our nation would make it the law of the land that a man would marry a man or a woman a woman. It was a time of common sense saturation then, and that was rightfully considered an insane proposition.

  • Joe Smartballs

    All cannabis and marijuana laws are VOID anyways, because they are not english words. Cannabis is Arabic. DEA writes laws in Arabic, LOL.

  • nightraider007

    I believe in states rights/federal law.
    All the southern states would be the most uneducated, poorest, and poorest quality of life with no regulations in the entire U.S. Let the Republican states destroy themselves.

  • hike oganessian

    The reason we don't elect the President of the because the Feds were never meant to rule over States..Our President really should be the Governor of the state we live in…Feds were only meant to serve the states with specific functions…this idea of states giving power to someone to help them manage themselves didn't work..instead of a group of Independent states, we have become an Empire.

  • sunsabre

    actually article 6 states that the constitution and laws "in pursuance of the constitution" are supreme. Any statute that does not follow the constitution is null and void.

  • blackfalcon1324

    An interesting piece however, you really cant really mention the supremacy clause without also mentioning the 10th amendment. They both balance eachother out.

  • Chad Disrud

    States hold all rights not specifically granted by them to the USA federal government. The right to define marriage has never been given to the USA federal government.

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