In the past, I believe I have recounted a passage from an American history book where, in the first chapter following the American Civil War, the first line was “Hamilton won.” The reference was to the competing visions of the United States between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson. The former envisioned a strong federal government. The latter envisioned a weak one. Testing the strength of the federal government, Southern states committed treason in defense of slavery. The rebels in the southern states were too weak to defeat the United States, and Hamilton won.
Senators Delph and Boots have introduced SB 141 which would purport to limit the effect of federal law in Indiana. Also, just by the way, the bill appears to repeal the common law (at least the piece of it in place prior to 1607) as governing law in Indiana. It offers some declarations of the General Assembly about the purpose of the U.S. constitution and then says a federal law found to be unconstitutional pursuant to that declaration is void and unenforceable and, in fact, anyone attempting to enforce such a federal law is guilty of a felony. The statute is conspicuously silent about who has the authority to declare federal law in violation of the federal constitution under this new state statute.
Here is the thing: federal judges get to interpret the federal constitution. And, if they say a law is constitutional, then the Supremacy clause of the United States Constitution says that a state law to the contrary is void. The U.S. Civil War answered the question of who wins when the states and the federal government get into a pissing match over the scope of federal authority.
And the bit about striking the old English common law in place prior to the founding of Jamestown as a source of binding legal authority in Indiana is just bizarre. The common law is the soil in which our democracy grows. Throwing out the stuff at the bottom because it happened to come from Britain is foolish. (If that’s what they’re doing. It looks like knee jerk xenophobia, but maybe they have something else in mind.)