In recent years nullification has become a bone of contention between the political parties, but now it appears even Democrats are on board with the notion. In 2013, the Republican-controlled S.C. House of Representatives passed a nullification bill striking at the heart of Obamacare. Republicans also spent the last few months of 2013 pushing for a nullification bill in the S.C. Senate, holding hearings around the state to discuss the issue.
However, this time it isn’t just Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) discussing nullification. At a recent legislative workshop, S.C. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) stoked the issue by responding to a question about marijuana decriminalization.
“There is room in this state and in this country for decriminalization,” Cobb-Hunter said, as quoted by reporter Corey Hutchins.
Now, this wouldn’t pass as nullification if it weren’t for the fact marijuana is currently listed as a ‘schedule 1 drug’ by federal law – which means it is illegal under the Controlled Substances Act and other federal laws. These laws also form the basis of the war on drugs, which has sucked billions of dollars out of our economy over the years – leading to hundreds of thousands of arrests and chaos in our prison system due to its overpopulation with nonviolent offenders.
In my opinion, fighting human nature by legislating morality has never been a successful strategy – but the federal government (and state governments) have pursued it for years regardless.
Normally Democratic members and operatives are decidedly opposed to nullification, including the S.C. Democratic Party’s third vice chair Tyler Jones – who recently urged nullification supporters to “read the constitution, and take a civics course, and for God’s sake turn off Glenn Beck.”
It will be interesting to see if members of South Carolina’s political class take such a view as it relates to the concept of legalizing marijuana.
Just the thought of legalizing marijuana should bring a shock to the eyes of South Carolina voters. If these legislators and political operatives are to be taken at their word, it presents a logical conundrum as to how Democratic complaints of Republican legislation limiting the scope of Obamacare in South Carolina can truly be taken seriously.
In other words what is wrong for one side may not be wrong for the other.
While I am not personally advocating for the nullification of any federal law, the left’s complaints against nullification as a strategy only appear to go so far. As the loyal opposition in South Carolina, Democrats can be expected to oppose legislation wishing to limit federal law – especially the Presidents chief legislative accomplishment. In the end though, obviously, political expediency is the tactic of the day – which explains why the Democratic Party isn’t helping farmers by pushing hemp growing in South Carolina but is greedily eyeballing the tax revenue of legalizing marijuana.
At the peril of their own “anti-nullification” message.
John Osborne is a military veteran and a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina.