Montana TEA Party Campaigns for Pro-Nullification Supreme Court

The Montana TEA Party jumped into the Montana Supreme Court race this week. A shadow group for TEA Party Republican Jason Priest has put out a mailer on behalf of right-wing Supreme Court candidate Laurie McKinnon.

Yet while Priest depicts McKinnon has the rule-of-law candidate, her biggest supporters–Priest and the TEA Party–are intent on forcing a law that would mean the exact opposite.  I’m talking about nullification. Montana State Senator Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is one of the nullification movement’s leaders.

The concept of nullification was a key feature of the most extreme legislature in Montana history–nearly a dozen bills to declare federal authority “null and void” or unenforceable in Montana were introduced by Republicans during the 2011 session.  However, the fact that the Supreme Court would declare the bills unconstitutional helped Democrats and moderate Republicans join forces to defeat the nullification bills time after time.  Governor Schweitzer called the bills “anti-American.”

Besides seeking a nullification-friendly Supreme Court, TEA Party Republicans are also pushing a constitutional amendment to let state legislatures nullify federal laws. They’re calling the amendment the “Repeal Amendment”. 

Jason Priest (R-Red Lodge) is listed among the dozen or so supporters of the amendment.

Priest says:

“Montanans are a liberty-minded people and I will proudly sponsor the Article V application for the Repeal Amendment in the Montana Legislature to send a clear, strong message to Washington that we are a sovereign state with Montana-made solutions to today’s challenges.”

Priest is the TEA Party Republican who made national news for posting comments to Facebook using  “hateful, homophobic talk” to argue his dislike for paying taxes.

Priest set up a shadow group to put out the mailer with the innocuous sounding name  “Montana Growth Network.”  It has the look and feel of a mailer put out by a mainstream group so as not to alert the public about the impetus behind it. Speaking to group of Tea Party followers, apparently unaware of a running camera, Priest said, it was important to talk to non-TEA Party types “in ways that aren’t offensive to them. That’s a good lesson to learn. I would rather tell them they’re insane… Is that camera on?”
Priest’s mailer does not mention the ethical questions surrounding McKinnon’s campaign tactics raised in a recent Billings Gazette article.
Click the mailer below to enlarge.

Posted: May 17, 2012 at 5:59 am

19 thoughts on “Montana TEA Party Campaigns for Pro-Nullification Supreme Court

  1. YW

    AND this is why this blog is the most read in the state. Thank you Cowgirl! This mailer went to every registered voter I know (which is everyone I know.)

  2. Just Sayin'

    At 90-100 cents a piece, if sent to 460,000 registered voters, that’s nearing a million dollar expenditure. That’s a big chunk of change even for Priest. My money says some of the other TEA Party bankrollers are involved. Koch, Western Traditions Partnership (or American, whatever they are now) or Americans for Prosperity. We’ll never know, cause they don’t have to tell us.

  3. Dan T.

    Thanks Jason for telling me who NOT to vote for. The notion that a TEA Party Republican can hide behind a front group to send out a mailer about how “unbiased” the right-wing candidate in this race is. Words. Fail.

  4. Jennifer Davies

    The TEA Party knows their ideas won’t be palatable to voters (nullification, gold standard, etc) so they use these deception candidates to sneak them in. Didn’t a bunch of TEA baggers file as fake Dems in Ravalli county. This is more of the same.

  5. Montanan4Freedom

    Could someone give me the link where it shows the TEA Party endorsed Judge McKinnon? I can’t find any mention of her on the various websites.

    My research on “follow the money” suggests that the campaign donation information is correct. McKinnon has never given money to Republicans or Democrats, while Sheehy and Best have donated only to Democrats.

    I don’t want a Republican OR a Democrat on the Supreme Court. I want a neutral party.

    1. Hi-Liner

      Try reading. Jason Preist is a tea party republican who just spent almost a million bucks on this race.

    2. Havre Voter

      Freedom guy, lets have Montanans for Growth disclose its donors. Then we will all know who else paid for this mailer. Feel free to post a link to the donor list here.

  6. Farmboy

    There should be laws regarding campaign finance regarding judicial elections. I find it repulsive that the right wing of this country can buy any election, but to buy a judicial election, where the candidates are suppose to be NON PARTISAN and FAIR AND IMPARTIAL, I have a problem. I have a problem with Citizens United making corporations people, but still, this is wrong that guys like Jason Priest can buy the law.

  7. Montanan4Freedom

    So, I came back to check and see if anyone had posted anything related to Judge McKinnon that suggested she was “right-wing” or a “TEA Party” candidate and I see nothing. If she is right-wing, prove it.

    Ever think that those on the right are backing McKinnon because Elizabeth Best and Ed Sheehy are clearly so far to the left (giving political money only to Democrats)? Is it possible that Judge McKinnon is actually neutral (given $0 in campaign donations to Republicans OR Democrats)?

    Try using a little critical thinking. Don’t reject Barack Obama because of Rev. Wright’s support. Don’t reject Mitt Romney because of Ted Nugent’s support. Don’t reject Laurie McKinnon because of Jason Priest’s support.

    Look at their records.

    1. Havre Voter

      Again, if this group backing McKinnon wants to showiChat percentage of its donors are teabaggers or not it should make its donor list public. Please come back when you’ve done so.

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