There are three Republicans running for governor of Wyoming, only one of whom is campaigning on a commitment to nullify all unconstitutional acts of the federal government.
Dr. Taylor Haynes is a rancher from rural Cheyenne who says God insisted that he run for governor. Haynes, a former University of Wyoming trustee and a retired urologist, says he was reluctant to heed that divine call, but he has no hesitation calling Barack Obama a “puppet and an idiot.”
This isn’t Haynes’ first rodeo. He ran for governor in 2010 as an independent write-in candidate and garnered over seven percent of the vote.
“For a write-in candidate, that 7 and a half percent is more than anyone has ever done,” Haynes said in an interview with local media. “And I did it in a three-month period. That’s a pretty good showing.”
In what amounts to nothing more than ironic racism from the self-proclaimed Progressive media, most articles reporting on Haynes’ candidacy include within the first paragraph the fact that he is African-American. This is a clever and condescending way of ignoring the constitutionally sound and “controversial” issues that make up Dr. Haynes’ platform.
Haynes’ understanding of the proper relationship of the state governments to the federal authority as set out in the Constitution is on display in the home page of his campaign website:
The recent disregard for the Wyoming voters shown by our Legislature and Governor cannot be ignored. The unwanted, unneeded interference of the Federal Government in education, in the management and production of our natural resources, and in the general affairs of Wyoming must be diminished.
Washington must not be allowed to “dictate” to Wyoming how we manage our transportation systems or how we provide health care.
Under the “On the Issues” tab, Haynes states that with regard to states’ rights, he will “stand up to the intrusive federal government on state's rights issues, whether it is some egregious EPA decision, our second amendment rights, mineral wealth or Obamacare.”
That’s brave and inspiring talk from someone running for state governor. Too often, state governors, even those who sail under the colors of constitutionalist, forget their fidelity to that document when it comes time to jockey for preferred position at the federal feeding trough.
Speaking specifically of the Second Amendment, Haynes’ issue statement couldn’t be shorter or sweeter (to the ears of gun owners): “... the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
He put a finer point on the matter when he told the crowd gathered at the NWC DeWitt Student Center Lounge that he does not believe that mental illness should be an automatic “disqualifier” for gun ownership and he doesn’t believe in the “background check nonsense.” He declared that the federal government has no power to place restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms and that if people want to purchase a weapon, including fighter jets, they should “go ahead.”
During a recent campaign appearance in Powell, Wyoming, Haynes spoke to more than 50 people, promising that if he gets elected, he will usher in “a new day in the Republican Party.”
Haynes is likely referring to the fact that as often as not, Republican legislators in state capitols and on Capitol Hill vote to continue the rapid expansion of the federal government and to perpetuate the dependence of state governments on the federal government.
In the appearance in Powell, Haynes dared dropped the n-word: nullification.
“Nullification is, in fact, our job,” he said.
He informed the audience that the Constitution was clear on the matter and that “it means what it says. It is very simple language.”
Haynes should have no disagreement from constitutionalists.
First, it is the duty of state governors and legislators to refuse to enforce every act of the federal government that exceeds its constitutionally defined powers.
As James Madison explained in the Virginia Resolution of 1798 that:
in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
Alexander Hamilton added in The Federalist, No. 78, “There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the constitution, can be valid.”
In other words, Haynes is correct in his understanding of the Constitution: It is the job of the states to stop federal overreach.
The most effective weapon in the war against federal overreach is nullification. Nullification occurs when a state, county, city, or other local entity holds as null, void, and of no legal effect any act of the federal government that exceeds the boundaries of its constitutional powers.
Nullification recognizes that states possess the right to invalidate any federal measure that exceeds the few and defined powers allowed the federal government as enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.
States (and their legal subdivisions) retain the right to act as arbiters of the constitutionality of federal acts because they formed the union, and as creators of the compact, they hold ultimate authority as to the limits of the power of the central government to enact laws that are applicable to the states and the citizens thereof.
Despite criticism by those who advocate for a more powerful federal government, nullification would not lead to anarchy, as it is only unconstitutional federal acts that will be subject to state invalidation.
Unlike the other Republicans running for governor, Haynes isn’t afraid to campaign on a promise to reclaim all of Wyoming’s sovereign territory from the federal occupiers. As reported by the Powell (Wyoming) Tribune:
Haynes said with Wyoming asserting its authority, it could also take control of Yellowstone National Park and make it a state park.
National parks are “a scam,” he said, and an “over-reach” of the federal government. When the state was formed, the federal government lost all rights to designate part of it as a national park, Haynes said.
Dr. Haynes’ respect for life, liberty, and property extends to the unborn, as well. His website declares that he “will support and sign comprehensive legislation to protect the life of the unborn.” During the Powell campaign stop, he reiterated this commitment to outlawing abortion in the Equality State.
Again, from the report of the event in the Powell Tribune, "Haynes said he would prevent abortions in the state, in part by mandating that pregnant women view an ultrasound of their fetus, which he said will stop 90 percent of the procedures and force abortion clinics out of business."
In addition, he said he would work to completely outlaw them within Wyoming.
“I’m all for it, all for it,” he said, as reported in the Tribune.
Constitutionalists in Wyoming seem to have every reason to be all for a candidate brave enough to “cowboy up” and drive the stampeding federal government back inside its constitutional corral.
To those who hear this tough talk from the 68-year old Wyoming doctor turned rancher, Haynes says he’s not mean; he just shoots straight. “I’m not hard-hearted, but I’m not soft-headed, either,” Haynes said.
Lest anyone question Haynes’ seriousness, he told a reporter for the Powell Tribune that he believes that with help from above, he can win. “This is not a symbolic campaign,” Haynes said. “We’ve received tremendous encouragement and support during this exploratory phase. We’re certain that we can win by the grace of almighty God.”
Photo: Dr. Taylor Haynes