On May17, 1954 the U.S Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education held “separate but equal” state racial segregation laws relating to public education were unconstitutional.
People in Arkansas and the South bitterly denounced the Brown decision. Citizens formed or joined groups such as the White Citizens Council and the KKK to oppose the Brown Case. Schools were closed. Angry crowds formed and marched on Central High to prevent black students from attending a white school. Community leaders, doctors, preachers, lawyers and politicians led the opposition to school integration. The Arkansas legislature spent millions of taxpayer dollars passing laws attempting to overrule the Brown case and spent millions more of taxpayer dollars for court cost and attorney fees defending these unconstitutional laws and resolutions.. 240,982 Arkansas voters in 1968 expressed their opposition to the Brown case by voting for George Wallace for President who had promised “segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”
On September 12, 1958 the U.S. Supreme Court in Cooper v. Aaron held: “The State of Arkansas could not pass legislation undermining the Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court is the voice of the Constitution (see Marbury v. Madison 1803).”
All the segregation laws and resolutions passed by the Arkansas legislature have been declared unconstitutional and most people in Arkansas accept Brown v. Board of Education as the law of the land. However taxpayers of Arkansas will pay the Little Rock School District $73 million dollars in 2013, and for how much longer no one knows, to implement integration. This $73 million dollar payment every year should be a reminder to the citizens of Arkansas: “Federal law trumps state law. It’s how things work.” See Arkansas Democrat Gazette editorial March 15, 2013.
Fifty nine years later historians, and few people, regard the march of the angry white crowd on Central High as a freedom march or regard those who organized or participated in the march as freedom fighters
On January 22, 1973 the U.S Supreme Court held in Roe v Wade that a woman has a constitutional right to have an abortion until viability which the Court defined as 24-28 weeks.
People in Arkansas, and all across the country, bitterly denounced the Roe decision. Some people prefer to pick and choose the laws they obey and engage in misleading and destructive attacks on the laws they do not wish to obey
The Republican controlled Arkansas Legislature has passed two bills on abortion over the Governor’s veto attacking Roe v. Wade because they want to deny women their Constitutional right to have an abortion. House Bill 1752 sponsored by Republican Bob Ballinger, exempting Arkansas gun manufacturers from federal regulation, is expected to become law—a law that is also in conflict with the U.S Constitution.
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Members of the Arkansas Legislature who swear or affirm to support the Constitution of the United States should consider whether they breach that oath when they sponsor laws seeking to block Supreme Court decisions defining Constitutional rights such as Brown v. Board of Education and Roe v. Wade.
By passing abortion laws defying Roe v. Wade and ramming them down the Governor’s throat, overriding his veto has the Arkansas legislature crossed the line and launched a destructive and misleading attack on the U.S Constitution? Will these unconstitutional abortion laws challenging Roe v. Wade result in numerous cases in many courts costing the taxpayers of Arkansas millions of dollars in court cost and attorneys fees just as the unconstitutional segregation laws?
Will you be a law-abiding citizen and support other law-abiding citizens who accept Roe v. Wade as the law of the land. Or, do you choose to defy Roe v. Wade and support others who defy the Constitution? The choice is yours.
Fifty nine years later will historians and the taxpayers who pick up the tab for the court cost and attorneys fees incurred by these unconstitutional abortion laws applaud the legislators who passed such laws as patriot law-makers or brand them as law-breakers?
Will a legislative gift of $125 million in tax breaks to the Koch brothers to build a steel mill near Osceolo be considered an act which made government smaller?
(Paul Rawlings of Heber Springs contributes monthly to the editorial pages of The Sun-Times)