The new trend among states these days has become ignoring certain laws they don’t have much affinity for. We’ve seen this with “sanctuary cities,” where states such as California and Washington have decided the federal immigration laws in place aren’t worth enforcing.
Alabama has joined this trend now with the ratification of the new state constitutional amendment that states abortion is no longer legally protected in the state. This new amendment is unconstitutional, is backed by no legal basis and undermines the fabric of our nation.
Proposition 2 states, “The constitution of this state does not protect the right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Well that’s just too bad, because the United States Supreme Court, which has the final say on this issue, has ruled to protect the right to abortion.
The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the court’s ruling supersedes that of the state. This isn’t a subjective opinion. It’s a plain and simple fact that the United States Constitution states in Article VI, “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; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”
This article contains what is known as the Supremacy Clause, which means if a state law and a federal law are at odds with each other, the federal law is what remains and the state law is disregarded.
The main issue isn’t just that this state amendment is almost nonsensically unconstitutional; it is the principle of the people who voted yes on this amendment. They are stating subjective beliefs are more important than the nation’s laws.
Their actions make it clear that the legal chain of command in which laws are created is not important to them.
The Constitution is not a buffet — states cannot pick and choose which parts to have and which parts to throw out. What Alabama has done would be equivalent to California adding an amendment to its constitution saying nobody in the state can own a firearm. This would clearly be unconstitutional because the Supreme Court has already ruled private citizens have a right to own firearms.
If states can ignore parts of the Constitution, New York will ban gun ownership, Vermont will make hate speech a punishable offense and California will give illegal immigrants the right to vote.
Would any of this make the country better? Depends on where you stand. Regardless, the reasons why these states cannot do this is because there is federal law in place to protect those rights, just as federal law protects abortion.
What’s the point of having a Supreme Court interpret the Constitution if states don’t have to listen?