Jeff Sessions’ Latest Move Proves Conservatives are Hypocrites When it Comes to States’ Rights

Dating back to the days of slavery, southern conservatives have used the rallying cry of “states’ rights!” whenever they’ve felt the federal government was overreaching. Though usually when southern and rural conservatives have cited “states’ rights” to defend something, they’ve been upset that the federal government was trying to prevent them from denying certain rights to other Americans — usually African Americans, homosexuals, or women.



When conservatives have argued against ending slavery, giving women the right to vote, desegregation, gay rights, and abortion, they’ve cited “states’ rights” as their defense of unconstitutional laws that infringe upon the rights of others. You see, in their minds, “states’ rights” means that they have the right to pass whatever laws they want, even if they’re completely unconstitutional. It’s always been an asinine argument, but it’s an argument they’ve repeatedly tried to make nonetheless.

However, like many things related to conservatives, they’re also extremely hypocritical when it comes to their support for states’ rights.

When it came to same-sex marriage, they didn’t just want it banned in “red states,” many presidential candidates and elected Republican politicians pushed for federal laws that would have made gay marriage illegal even in states that had legalized it. Congressional Republicans and GOP presidents and presidential candidates have spent decades attacking abortion rights, doing everything they can to make the Constitutionally-protected right for a woman to have control over her own body essentially illegal.

When it comes to states’ rights, conservatives are big supporters of that idea when it comes to legislation they support, but they’re definitely not fans of states’ rights when it comes to state-passed legislation with which they don’t agree.

As I’ve said for most of my life, conservatives are nothing but hypocrites and frauds.

Well, in another pathetic (though not-at-all surprising) move, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning to rescind an Obama-era directive that discouraged enforcement of federal laws on marijuana in states that had legalized it. Effectively paving away for federal authorities to come in and overrule states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

Once again, conservatives are all about “states’ rights” — until a state does something with which they disagree.

Furthermore, it’s the people of these states who voted to legalize marijuana. That’s the truest form of democracy we have. The citizens of these states were given a choice at the ballot box and in the states where recreational marijuana is now legal, those citizens voted to legalize it.


So Sessions’ move isn’t just one against states’ rights, it is quite literally a move against the will and vote of the people. It’s the purest form of government overreach.

Not only that, but it’s a move based on complete ignorance.

From an article published by The Washington Post, legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington found no adverse change in teen drug use; it didn’t impact driver fatalities; crime actually went down; and tax revenue went up.

Even if you’re someone who isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of legalized marijuana, you should at least view these states that have made recreational use of it to see what effects there might be, both positive and negative, on society. Thus far, based on what we’ve seen in the states that have legalized it, all the fear-mongering about marijuana has been completely baseless.

We also can’t ignore the medical benefits relating to treating people with chronic pain, trouble sleeping, seizures, and other medical aliments which doctors are finding that marijuana can help with over traditional drugs that can often be addictive or carry side-effects sometimes worse than what they’re treating.

Oh, and there’s that little fact about the hundreds of millions of dollars a year in tax revenue coming in to these states, as well as the hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars that could be saved on enforcement of ridiculously outdated laws.

The bottom line is, no matter how you feel about marijuana, the citizens of these states voted to legalize it. Marijuana isn’t infringing on anyone’s Constitutional rights, so the federal government shouldn’t being trying to find ways come in and overrule the will of the people. Especially when a lot of the negative views on marijuana usage are based mostly on racism, ignorance, and decades-old fear-mongering about the plant rather than factual data or scientific evidence.

This is just another example where the “states’ rights-loving conservatives” prove that they’re ultimately nothing more than hypocrites and frauds.

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Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Al

    Let’s be honest here. Both sides are liars and hypocrites when it comes to state rights.