Virginia Lawmaker Files Wildly Unconstitutional Bill Seeking To Nullify Federal Lightbulb Standards

By Ian Millhiser | | on Jan 10, 2012 at 9:50 am

[Editorial Note:  To state the obvious… Federal law is controlled by two houses of Congress which is made of Representatives and Senators from individual States.  As each State, one-by-one, enact their own laws opposing a federal law, it brings more members of Congress on board to repeal the federal law itself.  Yes, such State laws are unconstitutional, but the movement they embody is not.]

Last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed an unambiguously unconstitutional bill nullifying a federal law signed by George W. Bush that gradually phases out older and less energy efficient light bulbs. As ThinkProgress has previously explained, state attempts to nullify federal laws run headlong into the Constitution, which provides 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.” Indeed, as James Madison wrote in 1830, allowing states to simply ignore the laws they don’t want to follow would “speedily put an end to the Union itself.”

Nevertheless, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R) has now decided to emulate Texas’ disdain for the Constitution by introducing a similar light bulb bill of his own:

The Manassas Republican introduced a bill to allow makers of incandescent lightbulbs to set up shop in Virginia after a federal ban on the bulbs went into effect Jan. 1. […]

But even if the law passes, Virginia is unlikely to attract any new business, since energy companies have invested millions preparing for the bulb ban, said Joe Higbee, spokesman for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, or NEMA, an industry lobbying group based in Rosslyn.

“The traditional incandescent bulb is not being made anymore,” he said. “People are still able to purchase incandescent bulbs; they are more advanced and efficient because manufacturers are looking ahead.”

So Marshall’s bill isn’t just unconstitutional, it is also futile. Sadly, however, that is unlikely to stop Marshall’s effort to thumb his nose at the Constitution. Marshall was the lead sponsor of a similarly unconstitutional bill nullifying part of the Affordable Care Act. He responded to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by calling for a ban on “active homosexuals” in the Virginia National Guard. And he once claimed that children with disabilities are God’s punishment to women who had abortions.