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Does the Virginia General Assembly Understand the Supremacy Clause

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 7:10 AM

I’ve been doing my best to ignore to the hysterical, paranoid, delusional howls of rage on both the Right and the Left about the NDAA, but they are starting to reach critical mass in a way that one ignores at one’s own peril. The Virginia General Assembly recently passed this bill, which is now awaiting signature or veto by Governor Bob McDonnell. It reads in its entirety:

VIRGINIA ACTS OF ASSEMBLY — CHAPTER
An Act to prevent any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.

[H 1160]
Approved
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1.  § 1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, shall aid an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of any citizen pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) if such aid would place any state agency, political subdivision, employee of such state agency or political subdivision, or aforementioned member of the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force in violation of the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Virginia, and provision of the Code of Virginia, any act of the General Assembly, or any regulation of the Virginia Administrative Code.

I have one question about this bill–which passed the House of Delegates on 96-to-4 vote and passed the Senate on a 38-to-1 vote: Do any of the members who voted for it remember that the federal Constitution contains a Supremacy Clause–which elevates an act of Congress just a wee bit over “any regulation of the Virginia Administrative Code”?

It will be interesting to see whether Governor McDonnell, who is surely not looking for Tea Party hostility these days, has the nerve to veto it.

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Filed under: NDAA

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