Um, How Is This Not Sedition?

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.

24 thoughts on “Um, How Is This Not Sedition?

  1. The entire conservative movement can be described as two impulses: The teenager who flips you the bird after he’s gone into his room and closed the door, and (applicable in this case) the eight-year-old in the back seat of the car who has his finger poised about an inch away from his five-year-old sister, saying “I’m not TOUCHING you! I’m not TOUCHING you!”

    Neither one, it should be noted, is allowed to have any role in our political discourse.

  2. I remember reading the reason why the federal government is located in the District of Columbia, a non-state with access to law enforcers under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

    My memory is a bit vague, but after the British surrender (Revolutionary War) American troops who had fought in the war were not able to collect their pay. The existing fed at the time called the governor of (Pennsylvania?) to send in troops to protect their asses from the angry troops and he refused.

    Thus, the fed at the time said enough of that shit, we’ll locate ourselves in a District where we have control of a federal army. (What this has to do with your article, I have no idea, but it is interesting.)

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  4. Wow, great idea! I think I’m gonna give up my Rod Steward fantasy( if you think I’m sexy) and become a decorated Colonel in my own State Militia. ” Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes”.

  5. “It’s not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that,” Berry said.

    I. Love. That. “It’s not like I have a long neck or anything like that,” said the giraffe.

  6. How do you engage in armed insurrection against universal health care? Seriously. Do you firebomb clinics? Gun down Medicaid personnnel. March into exchanges and turn people away at gunpoint? And aren’t they at least a little bit worried this will make them look like thugs and bullies?

    • How do you engage in armed insurrection against universal health care? Seriously.

      From what I can make out from the hysterical rhetoric, some of the tea partiers believe that commandos from the IRS are going to swarm into their communities to force them to enroll in Obamacare.

  7. Bob K — That’s genuinely disturbing. IMO any military personnel talking even in loose generalities about a coup d’etat needs to be returned to civilian life, asap.

  8. This would be good for a laugh, if it wasn’t so stupid and tragic.
    I want to see the ‘Crunchy Cheeto’a Cowboy’s” take on the US military.
    It was one thing in the Civil War, when hard-scrabble farmers took up arms and went to fight. They were in shape.
    But, when you last major battle was with a lawn-mower against the crabgrass, I don’t think you’ll fare real well against the US Army, no matter how much camoflauge gear you wear shooting 18 on the PUBLIC golf course once or twice a week.
    And, you know, a large part of the military is minorities, so they may not take too kindly to the group of white moron’s who say that they won’t support the President’s decisions and defend the Constitution because the President is a Commie/Pinko/Socialist/Fascist/Hitler/Stalin/Che/Castro Kenyan usurper who’s redistributing the wealth from the idiot-poor whites, to the blacks and minorities in this country.
    uhm, wolverine’s?

  9. I have been on open forums of late. More and more I am hearing the narative from the Teabagger/Beck crowd that the USA is NOT a democracy and the founding fathers never intended it should be. Surprise! It’s a ‘Constitutional Republic’. In this alternate universe, the States rule the Federal Government except where the Constitution granted limited powers.

    Pursue this nightmare and every federal social program is unconstitutional.

    The fondness they claim for the vision of the founding fathers is quaint. But bring up the clear aversion the founding fathers had to foreign entanglements and a standing (permanent) army – and then point to how much we spend on our military (more than the rest of the world combined) – and the devotion to the ideals of the founding fathers evaporates – and suddenly we must be willing to modify our interpretation of the will of the founders in the modern world.

    So when you want the USA to be a global military empire – when that doctrine contrdicts the founders – that’s OK. But if liberals envision a government that works for the common man (which I think the founders intended) that’s heresy.

  10. I’m sorry Maha – I could only read the first couple paragraphs. I’m torn on crazy right (wrong) wing people. Should we just ignore them? If we just ignored them it would be lovely, no headaches, no wtfs, our lives would be much more relaxing. I can’t possibly understand any of these jerks – so why even bother trying?

  11. Ok perhaps I am a little slow, living just a few states away from OK some may have rubbed off.. but I am not getting the goal of this militia….Do they plan to hold hospital workers at gunpoint to make sure the poor don’t get healthcare? Take up road hunting road construction workers who are working on roads via federal funding? Shoot new homeowners when they get their tax credit?

    You know I don’t mean to pick scabs here but didn’t nichols and mcvey already bomb a “federal building”? .. how can citizens in a state that has already been thru so much death in a damn federal building even SPEAK like this? In any other southern state I could understand this happening but in OK???? A majority of federal workers who lost their lives that day were also neighbors to and citizens of the fine state of OK .. I would guess many in that state still have friends and neighbors who’s lives were destroyed by a anti government militia bunch of wanna- be’s .. how can these people bring up images like that again that could lead to more death and destruction of the same useless kind? Militias are not formed to push weight.. they are formed to kill.. lest this group of losers suggest this is all innocent and no body gets hurt as long as they get their way ,their intent is far more .. rule #1 for gun toting idiots: Don’t pull a gun unless you intend to use it… And it sounds to me like they are just begging the feds to do something about it so they can cry ruby ridge
    I say we tell em that who ever favors breaking off from the USA head to Texas..then we let em break off and give the entire state back to Mexico… then watch how fast THEY are trying to cross the border back into America.We could make a reality show/ slash American idol and vote for who we want to win the great race for the border..summer is coming and that means we need some fresh entertainment!

  12. But in their minds a well-regulated militia is tyranny if it is regulated by the federal government. They should all join the national guard and go burn off steam on the weekends plodding through the mud or something equally miserable. They remind me of my dog who quickly develops behavior problems if he goes without exercise for a few days.

    I suppose they need some sort of drama in their lives that revolves around themselves as some sort of unyielding ideological (if you can figure out what the ideology is) pure activist, downtrodden by the powerful.

  13. I think we should send in black helicopters full of Chinese agents of our alien overlords to hold them all down and check their blood pressures against their will as step one of Obamacare. Bwahahahahaha!

    I wonder how many of this crowd are genuinely ill with paranoia and how many are just conveniently paranoid as a cover for their racism? None of this foolishness went on while Dumbya was shredding the constitution and spending deficit dollars off-budget. The completely predictable media treatment of these people makes me want to switch to reading Canadian news for a while. That might make for an interesting month. The neighbors usually know, don’t they?

  14. I suspect that many in the tea party brigades are simply there to prance and preen in front of the cameras and work off a little indignation about… well… something… Some things, such as the planned “Let’s Wear Our Guns To Town and That’ll Sure Show Them” parade, are beyond ludicrous. As is the idea that a state militia would stand a chance against the U.S. military.

    As for Sgt (soon to be demoted) Stein (in Bob K’s link) — apparently he’s forgotten that as a member of the US military he’s already sworn an oath to defend the Constitution, and is already forbidden to obey an unlawful order.

    Not saying there aren’t some seriously dangerous and/or deranged people within these groups. There most certainly are. But in order to gain any traction with the general public the “cause” needs to have some solid basis in fact. My suspicion is that it’s going to be all fun and games until somebody goes too far and pokes an eye out.

  15. “It’s not a far-right crazy plan or anything like that,” Berry said.

    It’s not like I have any sexual hangups about black people or anything like that.

  16. Great posts everybody. And I have a bone to pick. Since my forefather came to this country in 1630, it really galls me that anybody whose forefather came any later than 1630 even can begin to think that he/she, as a descendant, is anything but an alien, un-American, commie/socialist, fascist interloper. So go back to wherever you/yours came from and leave this country to the only people who have a right to claim as their own, we, the REAL Americans.

  17. I’m intrigued by a new philosophical conundrum, on the order of “Could God create a rock so heavy He couldn’t lift it?”

    Could an Oklahoma militia engaged in an act of insurrection be nationalized to put down itself?

    Oklahoma of course, already has a perfectly legal, “well regulated” militia in the form of the National Guard. But if these guys want to spend their time encircling Ft. Sill or interdicting Postal Service planes at the airport, I guess that’s their time to waste. I just want their solemn oaths that they won’t use any interstate highways (built with Federal money) and other vile infringements on their state’s “sovereignity”.

    It’s not a far-right crazy plan, it’s a bone-head stupid plan.

  18. “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.”

    Doesn’t matter. The SCOTUS understands the 2nd Amendment as applying to individuals and not militia provided for in article 1. That said I honestly think that the founders actually did mean the “people” as in the citizenry. Back then on the frontiers you obviously needed a gun. Providing for a well-regulated militia was more likely to mean they wanted people who could supply their own guns and knew what to do with them.

    I wish you were right but after a huge study of the issue I don’t think you are.

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