Mandeville, LA – “Consider sanctuary cities (and states). Some hundreds of cities in America have declared that they are taking no part in enforcing national immigration laws. The government of great big California has set up an executive office to figure out all the ways in which to evade or just to stiff anything it does not like coming from the Trump Administration. And why not? Practically speaking, the federal government doesn’t have the power to make local officials enforce its rules, or even court judgments, against significant popular opposition. Yes, nowadays every federal agency has its SWAT team. But state or city officials, backed by the voters, can nullify or simply ignore a federal law, regulation, or court order, because countering peaceful nullification is hard—and usually unwise, too. Sending paramilitaries to arrest elected officials or citizens who comply with local law or policy is a blind alley. Yes, President Eisenhower sent the 101st airborne to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 to enforce school desegregation after Brown v. Board of Education. But that symbolic act (no resistance, no force, no arrests) succeeded because the government then enjoyed a moral authority that it has since squandered. Nothing like that will ever happen again.
The reality is that, today, the people of California and Massachusetts continue to diverge from those of Texas and the Dakotas in so many ways that applying the administrative state’s formulae to them requires ever more force. Substituting administrative force for waning consensus makes for less national unity, not more. Why not, then, deal with the problem by accepting reality?
Texas passed a law that, in effect, closes down most of its abortion clinics. The U.S. Supreme Court struck it down. What if Texas closed them nonetheless? Send the Army to point guns at Texas rangers to open them? What would the federal government do if North Dakota declared itself a “Sanctuary for the Unborn” and simply banned abortion? For that matter, what is the federal government doing about the fact that, for practical purposes, its laws concerning marijuana are being ignored in Colorado and California? Utah objects to the boundaries of national monuments created by decree within its borders. What if the state ignored those boundaries? Prayer in schools? What could bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., do if any number of states decided that what the federal courts have to say about such things is bad?” – Angelo Codevilla, The Cold Civil War