Since entering office in January, President Joe Biden has signed a slew of executive orders on everything from immigration to energy production. But these unilateral actions have left more than a few Republicans concerned — and now, one red state is moving forward with legislation to push back.
Breitbart reports that the Oklahoma House of Representatives voted last Thursday to pass a bill known as H.B. 1236, which would allow the state legislature to examine federal executive orders and decide whether they should be reviewed by the Oklahoma attorney general.
Should the state attorney general subsequently determine that the order is unconstitutional, then he or she would have the option of challenging it in court, under the new legislation.
However, even if the current AG believes that the action in question does not violate the Constitution, the legislature would still have an option to declare it unconstitutional by majority vote, the bill says, according to Breitbart.
“Can you say ‘pandering?'”
Breitbart writer Katherine Rodriguez noted Saturday that “the statute is unclear whether the Oklahoma government would file suit or the state would ignore the order inside the state, leaving it to the federal government to enforce or try to take it to court.”
The legislation states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the state, county, political subdivision or any other publicly funded organization shall not implement any action that restricts a person’s rights or that the Office of the Attorney General or the Legislature by a majority vote determines to be unconstitutional.”
Although the bill passed by a large margin — 79 to 18, according to Breitbart — Democratic House Minority Leader Emily Virgin made clear in a tweet that she isn’t impressed with what it has to say.
“In today’s [Oklahoma] House shenanigans, we’re hearing HB 1236 which would allow the Oklahoma Legislature to declare executive orders [and] federal laws unconstitutional,” Virgin complained Thursday. “Can you say ‘pandering?'”
“A direct stab”
Speaking earlier in the week with The Oklahoman, Virgin said the constitutionality of a president’s orders has nothing to do with the state legislature.
“It’s fundamental to our democracy that our courts review actions like this, and I think that everyone who’s watching what President Biden is doing with executive orders fully expects those to be reviewed by a court,” she said. “That’s something that state legislatures don’t have anything to do with.”
But after dozens of executive orders from Biden, Oklahoma Republicans like Rep. Mark McBride have had enough.
“I think this president has just taken a direct stab at Oklahoma,” McBride told The Oklahoman, according to Breitbart.