In Its Party Platform, Montana GOP Swears To Uphold Constitution And Then Directly Undermines It

MontanaGOPAs the Wonk Room reported in June, the Montana GOP adopted an anti-gay platform that referenced the Constitution at least 10 times to herald the preeminence of it as the sole source of law. While much of the media has discussed the Montana GOP’s anti-gay platform, few have noted the inherent contradiction within the document itself on its beliefs about the Constitution.

In their platform, Montana Republicans declared that the Constitution “be upheld in all of its entirety” and that all state and federal policies be “Constitutional in their effects, laws and practices.” But while they “adamantly oppose any attempts, whether direct or indirect, to destroy and/or undermine the Constitution,” the Montana Republicans criminalize homosexuality and call for more drastic “policies” and “practices” that directly conflict with the Constitution:

— We support the clear will of the people of Montana expressed by legislation to keep homosexual acts illegal.

— We support the repeal of the 16th amendment of the U.S. Constitution which authorizes a national income tax.

— We agree with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, who stated that the U.S. Supreme Court does not have the sole authority to judge the constitutionality of federal laws. We hold with these men that the States not only have the right, but also the duty to nullify unconstitutional laws in order to protect their citizens.

As the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky noted, both the Montana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court found such a law unconstitutional as it violates the State’s constitutional right to privacy and the Constitution’s Due Process clause. But in calling to repeal the 16th amendment, the GOP flouts Article VI of the Constitution stating that Acts of Congress “shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” thus expressly establishing that states do not have a veto power over federal laws. Article III and the Marbury v. Madison decision of 1803 established that the independent judiciary has “the last word on the law and the Constitution.”

The Montana GOP is not alone in its constitutional hypocrisy. As the GOP shifts further to the right, many state GOP platforms are redefining Constitutional authority to validate more extreme agendas. While the Texas GOP similarly sought to outlaw homosexuality, the Iowa GOP platform sought to reintroduce and ratify the “original 13th Amendment” to strip President Obama’s citizenship because he won the Nobel Peace Prize. In May, the Maine GOP adopted a “Tea Party” platform asserting “10th amendment sovereignty rights over unconstitutional government intrusions” like health care reform. And in Washington, GOP candidates who view the platform, which calls to reject health care reform and the United Nations, as “incredibly intrusive” and hostile to “moderate stances” risk losing the GOP’s endorsement.