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The Wagging Finger

February 10, 2012
Charles G. Mills, Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation

Governor Jan Brewer has been criticized by some for an encounter on the tarmac of an Arizona airport with President Obama. She was photographed pointing — or wagging — a finger at him. The truth is that she was doing her duty to a degree that is rare among state governors today.

There is clearly bad blood between the two. The Obama administration is attacking the constitutionality of Arizona’s attempt to control criminal and disorderly illegal immigrants within its borders. Arizona, meanwhile, is joining with most other states in attacking the constitutionality of the centerpiece of Obama’s legislative achievements, the Stalinist scheme known as Obamacare.

The Arizona governor gave President Obama a written invitation to meet and to visit the Arizona-Mexican border. He apparently walked away without accepting it. Governor Brewer did her duty by wagging her finger at him and trying to correct him.

The criticism of Governor Brewer stems from a basic misunderstanding: Many people wrongly think that the president actually has the power to give orders to state governors. He does not. State governors are neither part of the federal government nor subordinate to it. They derive their powers, rather, from the sovereign people of their states.

Governor Brewer’s duty is thus to the people of Arizona. She is not a federal civil servant who must defer to Obama. Indeed, she must hold him duty bound to honor her state’s sovereignty — and correct him when he does not.

And now… the rest of the story. …..

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