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There's a proper way to oppose federal overreach

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 11, 2013

Barton wrote: “Nullification places minority power above majority power. The majority may sometimes be wrong, but when that occurs, (George) Washington reminded Americans that changes must be made only by using ‘the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this in one instance may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.' Very simply, don't try to fix the Constitution by breaking it; fix the Constitution through the means it provides, and nullification is not that means.”

Given that Barton is respected in conservative circles as an authority on historical and constitutional issues, his words should carry weight with Oklahomans.

President Barack Obama's emphasis on expanding federal power has undeniably made citizens far less trusting of government. In a recent meeting with the editorial board of The Oklahoman, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn noted that distrust is “almost to a paranoia level” that is “dangerous for us as a society — very dangerous.”

“Every town hall I've been to has mentioned secession,” said Coburn, R-Muskogee. “What do you think that is? It's a symptom of anarchy.”

Nullification is a symptom of that anarchic, secessionist impulse, one that solid conservatives like Coburn and Barton are responsibly batting down. There is a proper, constitutional way to oppose federal overreach. Leaders like Pruitt are pursuing it. Other Oklahoma policymakers should do the same, rather than embrace a cancerous cause like state nullification.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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