Should Hagel Defund Insubordinate State National Guards?
Last week, SecDef Chick Hagel ordered state National Guards in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia, all of whom were refusing to follow the law and issue IDs to same-sex spouses, to comply with the law immediately and issue the identification documents. Most are ignoring that order:
Since that time, Indiana has agreed to provide the IDs.
South Carolina, on the other hand, has decided to stop issuing IDs all together, and making all National Guard spouses, straight and gay, travel the often- long distance to a federal military base to get their ID.
The other states are so far refusing to budge, which is a direct challenge to Secretary Hagel and the Pentagon’s authority over the National Guard.
Hagel could order resignations and disciplinary action — but he also has another tool that gives him enormous leverage:
There’s a little known fact that the National Guard, while split in its administration between the states and the federal government, tends to get the lion’s share of its funding from the feds.
Take Mississippi (please). The Mississippi National Guard annual report for fiscal year 2011 shows that the state of Mississippi appropriated almost $7.8 million for the state National Guard. In that same year, the federal government gave the Mississippi National Guard $679 million. In 2012, the figures were similar: $685 million from the feds, $7.2 million from the state of Mississippi.
In other words, Mississippi gets nearly 99% of the budget of its state National Guard from Secretary Hagel, the guy they’re now saying they don’t need.
Now who’s a “taker”?
Things get awfully interesting when you’ve got federal money mixed in with state money, as it’s against federal law – as set by the US Supreme Court – to use federal money to deny federal benefits in any way to married gay couples. It’s all well and good for states like Mississippi to pretend that the National Guard is “theirs,” but when the feds are paying 99% of the tab, legally the Mississippi National Guard belongs to Uncle Sam.
As for the Mississippi constitution and the other state constitutions banning gay marriage, the US Constitution trumps any of their documents, individually or collectively.
Now there’s a sequester I can support! ‘Nuff said…