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Koch Front Group Joins Revenge Campaign Against Florida Justices With Pro-Nullification Ad

Ian Millhiser
Think Progress / News Report
Published: Wednesday 26 September 2012
“Our own supreme court denied our right to choose for ourselves. Shouldn’t our courts protect our rights to choose?”
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Last week, the Florida GOP launched a campaign to remove three sitting state supreme court justices who previously ruled against Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL). If this campaign succeeds, Scott will be able to appoint three of the court’s seven justices, giving the Tea Party governor control over nearly half the court.

Today, the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity — which is chaired by GOP energy billionaire David Koch — joined this effort as well. The Koch group’s first ad attacks the three justices because they joined a 5-2 opinion blocking an unconstitutional ballot initiative seeking to nullify the Affordable Care Act:

Many states, like Ohio, gave their citizens the right to vote against [the Affordable Care Act]. But not Florida. Our own supreme court denied our right to choose for ourselves. Shouldn’t our courts protect our rights to choose?

Nineteenth century nullificationist Senator John C. Calhoun

Last week, the Florida GOP launched a campaign to remove three sitting state supreme court justices who previously ruled against Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL). If this campaign succeeds, Scott will be able to appoint three of the court’s seven justices, giving the Tea Party governor control over nearly half the court.

Today, the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity — which is chaired by GOP energy billionaire David Koch — joined this effort as well. The Koch group’s first ad attacks the three justices because they joined a 5-2 opinion blocking an unconstitutional ballot initiative seeking to nullify the Affordable Care Act:

Many states, like Ohio, gave their citizens the right to vote against [the Affordable Care Act]. But not Florida. Our own supreme court denied our right to choose for ourselves. Shouldn’t our courts protect our rights to choose?

Watch it:

First of all, the Florida Supreme Court’s decision had nothing whatsoever to do with denying people their “right to choose.” To the contrary, the court removed the unconstitutional ballot initiative after the initiative’s own defenders admitted that the ballot language accompanying this initiative was misleading. So the court’s opinion stood simply for the very banal point that voters should know what they are voting for before they cast a ballot.

More importantly, however, by praising this ballot initiative, the Koch group is also endorsing a misguided constitutional theory known as “nullification.” Because the Constitution provides that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land,” states simply do not have the authority to block an Act of Congress such as the Affordable Care Act, whether through a ballot initiative or otherwise.

Although nullification was very much in vogue among nineteenth century slaveholders and Civil Rights era segregationists, it has largely been avoided for most of American history because the Constitution speaks so clearly and unambiguously that it is not allowed. Nevertheless, it has experienced a moderate renaissance among Tea Partiers after a right-wing pseudo-historian named Tom Woods published a book defending the idea. Woods also once published an article declaring the Confederacy to be “Christendom’s Last Stand.” In it, he endorsed the view that the Civil War was a battle between “atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins on the one side and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other.” He concludes that “[t]he real watershed from which we can trace many of the destructive trends that continue to ravage our civilization today, was the defeat of the Confederate States of America in 1865.”

So the Koch group’s ad does not simply seek to punish three justices for placing the law before conservative ideology and turn Florida’s highest court over to the mercies of a Tea Party governor, it also endorses one of the most outlandish misreadings of the Constitution ever conceived by states’ rights advocates — many of whom later wielded it to defend the most abhorrent practices in American history. The Koch ad demonstrates that one of the most powerful and well-moneyed interest groups in the Republican coalition embraces the worst kinds of constitutional thinking, and that they are eager to seek revenge against a judge or justice who rejects their twisted view of the Constitution. If the Koch group succeeds in taking out these three justices, if will send a clear message to every elected judge in the country that they follow the Constitution at their own peril.



the first proposals of

the first proposals of nullification were the va and kentucky resolution written byJ madison and TJefferson

Isn't Scott the guy who

Isn't Scott the guy who headed Columbia/HCA when they bilked the government out of billions in taxpayer funds with inflated or fraudulent medical bills? Such that Columbia/HCA was later smacked with the largest SEC fine in history? Isn't that the same guy? Yeah, that's the same guy. Now governor of Florida. You can't make this stuff up. http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/columbiahca-reports-warned-rick-scot...

One thing that needs to be

One thing that needs to be done is for Congress to pass the Disclose Act so that people knows who is paying for ads. Huge amounts of money spent by special interests is not free speech, it is paid speech that gives an unfair advantage to those with lots of money - like corporate interests more concerned with their bottom line and profits than with what is good for democracy and citizens in this country.

Seriously, Nation of Change

Seriously, Nation of Change -- invest in a copy editor, would you please?! Your message is important, but it gets lost in the mess of many of your articles.

Hey, Nation of Change. I'm

Hey, Nation of Change. I'm your guy. With 25 years of copy editing, I could do the job if you're interested.

You know I've gotten used to

You know I've gotten used to Nation of Change being on the side of big corporations and pretending it isn't. But now they're on the side of SLAVEHOLDERS and they're pretending they're not. If you had done some actual research you'd know that it was the abolitionists who most promoted nullification, which has a long and valid history. But since you are the one who is the pseudo-historian, not Woods, you don't know that. How do you look youself in face while shaving? How does the shame not overcome you and make you put your own gun in your mouth?

Better check your history

Better check your history Mike; the nullification crisis began in South Carolina when they acted to nullify federally enacted tariffs. John Calhoun was their most prominent spokesman. Not many abolitionists in that group.

Right...you really just type

Right...you really just type without the use of any brain cells whatsoever...sad...

Nullification. Like many have

Nullification. Like many have said the Repugs wanto take us back a 100 years but really it's 200! The Kochs would love to see slavery again. The easy way to increase their wealth

Jerry Mercks's picture

These billionaire bigots want

These billionaire bigots want an apology? What about the apology gov scott owes the tens of thousands for calling them illegal voters and where is his apology for trying to purge the rolls of legal voters?

An even better question is why is gov scott not in jail for defrauding Medicaid?

Two words here for Florida:

Two words here for Florida: NATIONAL GUARD! Try superseding Federal law. Just try it.

However, the real point is that this is about how the Koch's and their supporters are like children: "I'll throw a temper-tantrum if I don't get what I want!"

No doubt!! Let's just let

No doubt!! Let's just let Florida secede from the Union and become totally privatized. Everything privatized! Government, schools, roads and bridges. We'll see then if Gov. Scott likes having his job outsourced to a foreign land or if Floridans like paying a toll to a for-profit do-nothing just to walk down the sidewalks they don't as citizens own anymore. Let Florida Go! Make them go in fact! Kick them out of the Union!

You've got a point. Florida

You've got a point. Florida is effectively a banana republic already. Run by the rich for the rich. For example, Rick Scot set aside the Stimulus money, $344 million as I recall, for medical record keeping! Which is the business he turned over to his wife to avoid any possible appearance of impropriety. No impropriety there, of course.

It's interesting that the tea

It's interesting that the tea baggers, States' Rightest, Sovereign Citizens, Nullificationests keep recycling the same nineteenth century pro slavery argument that was settled decisively by the Civil War. I'm all for recycling, but the stinking garbage needs to be taken out and disposed of, not put up on a pedestal.

Perhaps we should have let

Perhaps we should have let them seseed. The south is still stuck in the mid-nineteenth century. As for the Koch brothers, a federal tax investigation of their activities might be in order. These anti-American fools need to be shown for what they are. Bullies!

Wait wait! But aren't they

Wait wait! But aren't they the REAL constititution Party? What a joke that is.

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