Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, April 13th, 2010.

Um, How Is This Not Sedition?

Wingnuts Being Wingnuts

Oklahoma may raise a new state militia to defend itself against the federal government. I assume there are enough sane legislators in Oklahoma to prevent this from going forward, but it’s being talked about.

Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.

Assuming such infringements are real, haven’t these people ever heard of “courts”?

Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don’t know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates.

This is easy. Guns are magic. All people have to do is wave their mighty guns, and all problems are solved. Never mind that the feds have guns, and tanks, and an air force, and missiles, and even nukes.

State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, a Republican candidate for governor who has appealed for tea party support, said supporters of a state militia have talked to him, and that he believes the citizen unit would be authorized under the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

The catch here is that “the militia” in the body of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, paragraphs 15 and 16) is also partly under the authority of the U.S. Congress.

[The Congress shall have Power] To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

And, of course, the Second Amendment says,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I suspect most constitutional scholars would argue that the “well regulated Militia” mentioned in the Second Amendment is the same Militia provided for in Article I Section 8. And then there’s the matter of federalizing the Militia, which immediately puts it under the authority of the President (Article II, Section 2, 1st paragraph).

So, in theory, any militia that takes its authority to exist from any part of the U.S. Constitution could be federalized at any time, which would kind of neutralize them, I would think. (If you trace the history of the original state militias, you see that they eventually became the National Guard.)

That said, I don’t believe there is any constitutional provision that says a state may not create its own militia separate from the Militia provided for in Article I Section 8 and mentioned in the Second Amendment. I don’t know that it’s ever been done (except by the states in rebellion during the Civil War), but I don’t think there’s a barrier to it.

However, I am reasonably certain that organizing an armed force, whether by state authority or not, for the purpose of resisting federal authority is an act of sedition. And if this seditious little crew actually takes action against federal officials or employees, that is insurrection. And then constitutionally the feds could federalize all the National Guard troops it wants and send them marching into Oklahoma. Maybe they could even parachute into Oklahoma. Cool.

Tea party leader J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea began soliciting interest in a state militia through his newsletter under the subject “Buy more guns, more bullets.”

“It’s not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that,” Berry said. “This would be done with the full cooperation of the state Legislature.”

Not a far-right crazy plan at all. At least, not from a far-right perspective.

Update: Data show tea partiers more bigoted than general U.S. population.

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