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11 of the Tea Party GOP's Most Ridiculous Policy Ideas (So Far)

They came to power promising to solve America's problems, but in the early going they've focused on firing up their hard-right base with frivolous bills.

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Slate's Dave Weigel reports that it's just one among a number of similar proposals that have been offered in states as diverse as Nebraska, Connecticut and Arizona. Weigel adds that some of the bills – notably Arizona's – go beyond even Texas' proposed requirements, so much so that not every American citizen could meet its eligibility standards.

7. Arizona's Let's Re-Litigate the Civil War Act

If you have a decent grasp of our nation's history, you probably know that we settled the question of whether states could simply ignore federal laws when it suited them in April of 1865, when Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant.

That's not the Tea Partiers' version of history, however. The “Tenthers” believe the states have the right, under the Constitution, to simply reject federal laws, and a host of politicians have offered legislation to “nullify” the Dems' health-care reforms.

In Idaho, Think Progress reported that lawmakers “are drawing inspiration for an unconstitutional nullification bill from an  unusual source — a co-founder of a  neo-Confederate hate group” named Thomas Woods.

Woods is, to say the least, a questionable source of counsel for a sitting state governor and state senator. One of the founders of the neo-Confederate League of the South, Woods once published an article declaring the Confederacy to be “Christendom’s Last Stand.” In it, he endorses 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,” and 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.”

As I noted recently, Idaho's Republican Attorney General weighed in on the bill Woods inspired,  clarifying that “there is no right to pick and choose which federal laws a State will follow,” which would explain why “no court has ever upheld a State effort to nullify a federal law.”

Twelve states have considered similar measures, mostly relating to health-care reform. But Arizona has gone a step further. State senator Russel Pearce, the far-right lawmaker credited with Arizona's draconian "papers, please" immigration law, has introduced a measure that legal scholar Jessica Pieklo calls a “secession bill.” The law would establish a panel that would review all federal legislation and could "vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the people to the federal government."

Pieklo notes that it's the task of the judicial branch rather than the legislature to make those calls, and views the whole un-Constitutional mess “as a way to push the idea of secession without the messy business of actually having to secede, or without forcing the state to opt out ... of generous federal funding.”

8. Two-Tiered Citizenship or Just Symbolic Nonsense?

A group of hardline immigration foes in a handful of states are trying to get Congress to allow them to issue two kinds of birth certificates -- one for children of citizens and another for the kids of undocumented immigrants. The problem is that according to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, they're all U.S. citizens, and all are guaranteed equal protection under the law.

What makes this proposal so obnoxious is that its authors are fully aware that it won't go anywhere, and will likely result in a lot of costly litigation if passed, but they don't care – they're doing it merely “to get Congress talking about how we interpret the 14th Amendment,” according to Talking Points Memo.

 
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