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“GOP Governor Flubs Civics 101 Test”: Mary Fallin Falls Short In Her Most Basic Governmental Responsibilities

Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled last week that a state-sponsored Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds violates the state Constitution. It wasn’t a close call – the justices ruled 7-2 that the six-foot-high, stone Christian display is at odds with the law that requires state government to be neutral on matters of religion.

The more controversial twist came this week, when Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and the GOP-led legislature announced they’re prepared to ignore the state Supreme Court, at least for now, while they consider new solutions.

The Republican governor talked to reporters, saying roughly what you’d expect her to say: she’s “disappointed” with the court’s decision; she thinks they made the wrong call; etc. But as KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, reported, Fallin added one related thought that wasn’t expected at all:

Gov. Fallin said she believes the final decision on the monument’s fate should rest with the people.

“You know, there are three branches of our government. You have the Supreme Court, the legislative branch and the people, the people and their ability to vote. So I’m hoping that we can address this issue in the legislative session and let the people of Oklahoma decide,” she said.

The KFOR report added, “Despite what the governor said, the three branches of government include the legislative, executive and judicial branches.”

It was obviously an unfortunate slip-up, but the point isn’t to just laugh at a politician’s gaffe. There’s actually a substantive angle to all of this.

We can certainly hope that Fallin, a former multi-term member of Congress, knows what the three branches of government are. Indeed, in Oklahoma, she’s the head of one of them – the one she left out this week.

But what matters in this controversy is the governor’s appreciation for the branches’ specific duties. For example, it’s up to Oklahoma’s judicial branch to rule on constitutional questions, such as whether the state can legally endorse one religion’s sacred text.

It’s up to Oklahoma’s executive branch to enforce the law. For now, the governor has decided she doesn’t want to, at least in this case.

Fallin suggested that she’d like “the people” to “decide” what’s constitutional. The problem with such a remedy, aside from the confusion over civics, is that civil liberties shouldn’t necessarily be open to popularity contests. That’s largely the point of having rights and the Constitution in the first place – the goal is to enshrine certain protections for the public that cannot easily be taken away without due process.

It’s unfortunate that Fallin flubbed the details when trying to describe the three branches of government, but it’s arguably worse that she’s falling short in her most basic of governmental responsibilities.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, July 10, 2015

July 12, 2015 Posted by | Mary Fallin, Oklahoma, Ten Commandments | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Beyond A Little Tone-Deaf”: Pat Buchanan Warns Of Another Civil War; The Time Of Mass Right-Wing Civil Disobedience Is At Hand

In his latest column at WorldNetDaily, paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan argued that given the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage and the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision to remove the Ten Commandments monument from the state capitol grounds, a “rebellion” unlike any seen since the Civil Rights Movement “is likely to arise from the right.”

Buchanan situated this “coming era of civil disobedience” in a long tradition that began with the Founding Fathers. “What else was our revolution but a rebellion to overthrow the centuries-old rule and law of king and parliament, and establish our own?” he asked.

“U.S. Supreme Court decisions have been defied and those who defied them lionized by modernity,” he added without noting that the positions his civilly disobedient activists would support wouldn’t be “lionized by modernity,” given that they’re based on the teachings of a man who — if he ever even lived — has been dead for 2,000 years.

Buchanan connected the coming struggle with the Civil Rights Movement — in particular, with Martin Luther King, Jr., whose “Letter from Birmingham Jail” he quoted. “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws,” King wrote, to which Buchanan replied, “what is an ‘unjust law’?”

Apparently, they are the ones that atheistic liberals have yet to write, but most certainly will in the coming years. “Laws will be passed to outlaw such practices [like refusing to perform a same-sex wedding] as discrimination,” Buchanan wrote, “and those laws, which the Christians believe violate eternal law and natural law, will, as Dr. King instructed, be disobeyed.”

For all his high talk about morality — especially as it pertains to racial injustice — Buchanan was a little tone-deaf as to a certain issue of current import: the causes of the Civil War. “That war was fought,” he wrote, “over whether 11 Southern states had the same right to break free of Mr. Lincoln’s Union as the 13 colonies did to break free of George III’s England.”

He concluded by saying that a similar separation is on the horizon. “If a family disagreed as broadly as we Americans do on issues so fundamental as right and wrong, good and evil, the family would fall apart,” he explained, “the couple would divorce, and the children would go their separate ways.”

“Something like that is happening in the country. A secession of the heart has already taken place in America, and a secession, not of states, but of people from one another, caused by divisions on social, moral, cultural and political views and values, is taking place.”

 

By: Eric Kaufman, Salon, July 10, 2015

July 12, 2015 Posted by | Civil Rights Movement, Civil War, Pat Buchanan | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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