Legal “Expert” Gets Supremacy Clause Wrong in Mainstream News Report
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Legal “Expert” Gets Supremacy Clause Wrong in Mainstream News Report


Virtually any mainstream article that you read about state sovereignty or nullification is going to include a quote from a legal scholar. Now, nine times out of 10 this lawyer or law professor is going to cite the supremacy clause. It’s like federal supremacists think the supremacy clause is some kind of get out of jail free card. They slap it down and instantly any state action is invalidated. The Washington Examiner recently ran a fantastic article it was headlined “On the fifth anniversary of Snowden leak, one state effectively bans the NSA.” The article featured law recently passed in Michigan that bans all state support and cooperation with warrantless surveillance. Low and behold, our legal scholar made an appearance. This time in the form of a Brookings Institute fellow who happened to also be a former NSA lawyer named Susan Hennessy. And yes, she predictably trotted out the supremacy clause, saying that it could spell trouble for the Michigan law. This is bovine scat. The Supreme Court has consistently held since 1842 that the federal government cannot force a state to use its personnel or resources to enforce a federal law or implement a federal program. In fact, this anti-commandeering doctrine was a key part of a recent Supreme court ruling that overturned a federal sports betting law. So no, the Michigan law does not have any supremacy clause issues. the federal government cannot force Michigan to cooperate with warrantless surveillance. Hennessey is either a really bad lawyer, or she’s lying.

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