Idaho, 6 Other States, to “Nullify” ObamaCare

posted at 3:30 pm on January 22, 2011 by Howard Portnoy

Idaho, the first state to sue the federal government over the health care overhaul, has announced plans to resort to an obscure 18th century legal remedy that recognizes a state’s right to nullify any federal law that the state has deemed unconstitutional.

The doctrine, known as nullification, has its roots in the brand of governance practiced by the nation’s founding fathers. It was used as early as 1799 by then-law professor Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in a response to federal laws passed amid an undeclared naval war against France that

nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts … is the rightful remedy.

As a legal theory, nullification is grounded in the assumption that states, and not the U.S. Supreme Court, are the ultimate arbiter in cases where Congress and the president have “run amok.”

In Idaho, use of the doctrine to invalidate the health care reform bill is being championed by both state Sen. Monty Pearce and Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter speech, who recently told Idaho residents, “we are actively exploring all our options — including nullification.” Pearce plans to introduce a nullification bill in the state legislature early next week.

Idaho is not the only state considering nullification as a remedy. Six others, including Maine, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming, are also considering bills that would in essence nullify the president’s signature on the reform law.

Pearce, who has expressed optimism that the law will pass, becoming the law of the land in Idaho, is quoted by FOX as having saud:

There are now 27 states that are in on the lawsuit against Obamacare. What if those 27 states do the same thing we do with nullification? It’s a killer.

One potential fly in the ointment for Idaho and other states considering nullification is the 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.” If nothing else, these moves will result in some interesting legal battles

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Cross-posted at the Examiner. Follow me on Twitter or join me at Facebook. You can reach me at howard.portnoy@gmail.com or by posting a comment below.

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1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.”

Unless a waiver is given.

Electrongod on January 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM

BO’s whole presidency should be nullified….the heck with just obamacare.

jbh45 on January 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM

I love living here, it can be boring when there’s no moonbats to vote out of office. But things like this make me proud to be an Idahoan :)

-Paul-

Sprockett on January 22, 2011 at 3:33 PM

But things like this make me proud to be an Idahoan :)

-Paul-

Ditto. Even the name is the same.

Electrongod on January 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Sure hope Nebraska follows suit.

OmahaConservative on January 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Idaho, 6 Other States, to “Nullify” ObamaCare

Yeah, good luck with that.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Where is Andy Jackson when you need him??

robertb on January 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM

My understanding of nullification is that it is senior to the 3 branches of government including the Supreme Court.

VBMax on January 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM

@crr6…

This is a situation where we make the effort. And if it gets shot down in court, we make it again in a different way. We never wanted Obamacare to begin with, so we continue the fight to get rid of it.

And thanks for wishing us luck!

JohnTheBuilder on January 22, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Good for you, brothers and sisters in Idaho, which has now joined Texas on my short list of retirement spots.

mikeyboss on January 22, 2011 at 3:42 PM

Actually, I don’t think this is a good idea…

States do not actually have the power of “nullification.” The most famous uses of “nullification” both involved civil rights–both the efforts of northern states to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act in the 1840s and the efforts of southern states to nullify Brown v. Board of Education. In both cases, the Supreme Court held that nullification was illegal.

We, as conservatives, need to be super-credible and above reproach on ObamaCare. That means we fight for its repeal in Congress and to have its core provisions declared unconstitutional in the courts.

But as soon as we try to “nullify” laws and that sort of thing, it allows the Left to paint us as a bunch of dangerous, anti-government kooks. We have the power of moral righteousness on this issue. Let’s not squander it by doing weird things like passing nullification statutes.

Outlander on January 22, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Nice report, Mr P., about the nullification and the lunatics suggesting it.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

The last time this was tried it resulted in a civil war, and the ‘nullifiers’ ended up losing everything. So either you’re feeling very lucky or very desperate. I’m guessing the latter.

Dark-Star on January 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Six others, including Maine, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming, are also considering

Come on Texas, “considering“? Don’t let me down here.

rihar on January 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Sprockett on January 22, 2011 at 3:33 PM

+1! SE Idaho

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 3:47 PM

Outlander, wouldn’t you think this would be legitimate in an area of the law that is constitutionally reserved to the states, or the people?

mikeyboss on January 22, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Ummm, I don’t think this applies anymore after Marbury VS Madison, in 1803, pretty much named the court the defenders of the constitution and further established the separation of powers. Liberal justices may pervert the constitution, but we’re still supposed to have that 3 way separation of powers with checks and balances.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Yeah, good luck with that.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:38 PM

You keep thinking that the people and the states will go along with anything simply because it came from DC. Laws and courts are legitimate only as long as people accept them as such.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Can you nullify an unconstitutional law?

Inanemergencydial on January 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Yeah, good luck with that.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Just think though, all your liberal states could nullify the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as unconstitutional since it was never declared!

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Federal power must be checked if the country is to survive as a republic. Nullification offers a way to check federal power without resorting to armed conflict. I support it.

Bugler on January 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

If this is such a non-starter then why all the angst from LIEberals.

Their affect betrays them.

Geochelone on January 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Liberal justices may pervert the constitution, but we’re still supposed to have that 3 way separation of powers with checks and balances.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

We’re about to see if that still works with this new Congress.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

One potential fly in the ointment for Idaho and other states considering nullification is the 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.”

I do not think you understand the idea…Nullification does not mean that the states can ignore unconstitutional laws and mandates IF the Supremes say it is OK. They can ignore the scheme regardless of what the Supremes desire.

More importantly, the Health Care Scheme assumes the states will spend billions of their own money for the unfunded mandates in the program. What if the states simply refuse to spend state money on federal mind farts? The cost in Idaho for NEW unfunded Medicaid mandates alone is at least $100 million a year. If Idaho alone says no the feds have a problem. If a half dozen other states also say no, the feds are without real recourse.

JIMV on January 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

FOX as having saud:

Small correction “said”.

Read this book.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

wouldn’t you think this would be legitimate in an area of the law that is constitutionally reserved to the states, or the people?

mikeyboss

nullification is an absurdity in any and every case.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

The most famous uses of “nullification” both involved civil rights–both the efforts of northern states to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act in the 1840s and the efforts of southern states to nullify Brown v. Board of Education. .

Yeah, these sorts of laws actually give me (and I would imagine, many Americans) more confidence that passing and defending the PPACA is the right thing to do. As you pointed out, the only times you guys have tried the whole “nullifaction” gimmick in the past, it was to 1) uphold slavery and then 2) to prevent the extension of civic equality to blacks. Not a great track record.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

But as soon as we try to “nullify” laws and that sort of thing, it allows the Left to paint us as a bunch of dangerous, anti-government kooks.

Outlander on January 22, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Which they do anyway so why be afraid of them?

We have the power of moral righteousness on this issue.

Which is exactly why nullification, and every other avenue should be looked at.

This is not the time to hide under our beds holding our piss waiting for mommy to save us from the boogeyman.

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

States do not actually have the power of “nullification.”

Outlander on January 22, 2011 at 3:44 PM

If the federal government insists on overstepping it’s authority the states have the power to do anything they want in an effort to either rein it in, abolish it, or relinquish their sovereignty to it.

This is a voluntary agreement … the federal government abides by it’s limited authority and the states agree to recognize it’s supremacy in certain areas. Once the federal government no longer honors its end of the bargain the agreement is null and void.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Electrongod on January 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM

Brilliant!

halfastro on January 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

But as soon as we try to “nullify” laws and that sort of thing, it allows the Left to paint us as a bunch of dangerous, anti-government kooks.

Outlander on January 22, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Which they do anyway so why be afraid of them?

That’s not it. What you should fear is proving them to be right to think of you as a kook.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Yeah, these sorts of laws actually give me (and I would imagine, many Americans) more confidence that passing and defending the PPACA is the right thing to do. As you pointed out, the only times you guys have tried the whole “nullifaction” gimmick in the past, it was to 1) uphold slavery and then 2) to prevent the extension of civic equality to blacks. Not a great track record.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Who is “you guys” ?

Nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act was not an attempt to uphold slavery, it was to combat the slave holding states by nullifying the “bloodhound law”. It was an abolitionist effort.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

nullification is an absurdity in any and every case.

audiculous

Argument by assertion. Very good, now where’s your juice box?

chimney sweep on January 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

Yeah, good luck with that.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Worked for Wisconsin, unless you think that the Fugitive Slave law was Constitutional and they should have followed it.

Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

You keep thinking that the people and the states will go along with anything simply because it came from DC. Laws and courts are legitimate only as long as people accept them as such.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 3:49 PM

Like I said, good luck with that.

By the way, just so we’re defining our terms correctly, instead of saying “states,” or “the people” in these types of posts, it would probably be more accurate for you to say “states with Republican AG’s and/or governors” and “tea party and Republican activists.”

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Yeah, good luck with that.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Petty, desperate words.

fossten on January 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.”

That’s ruling is moot since nullification overrides the Supreme Court. It protects the states from not only out of control politicians but also judges who legislate from the bench instead of following the constitution.

mizflame98 on January 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

nullification is an absurdity in any and every case.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Really? Are you sure about that? I just think you don’t know your history.

Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Yeah, these sorts of laws actually give me (and I would imagine, many Americans) more confidence that passing and defending the PPACA is the right thing to do. As you pointed out, the only times you guys have tried the whole “nullifaction” gimmick in the past, it was to 1) uphold slavery and then 2) to prevent the extension of civic equality to blacks. Not a great track record.

Agreed. Not a good track record. But just because it was used for ignoble purposes in the past, it does not follow that the doctrine itself is unsound.

JSGreg3 on January 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Like I said, good luck with that.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

I’m merely stating a truth. Sorry if you can’t understand it.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

By the way, just so we’re defining our terms correctly, instead of saying “states,” or “the people” in these types of posts, it would probably be more accurate for you to say “states with Republican AG’s and/or governors” and “tea party and Republican activists.”

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

So basically every state that isn’t in the Northeast or on the Left Coast. Gotcha.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Agreed. Not a good track record. But just because it was used for ignoble purposes in the past, it does not follow that the doctrine itself is unsound.

JSGreg3 on January 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Again, attempting to nullify the fugitive slave act was a noble purpose.

Daemonocracy on January 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM

The States are the sovereigns, the federal government is their creation. I bet they wish they had their Senators back …

What they created they can also dispose of.

tarpon on January 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

If you continue on this path, ruin is yours. You’re no different than Cohen and his “Nazzi” analogies.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM

Really? Are you sure about that? I just think you don’t know your history.

Tim Burton

thanks for the link, but as I live and type, it’s an absurdity.
despite history and past attempts at using it, the question was settled, and is settled.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Agreed. Not a good track record. But just because it was used for ignoble purposes in the past, it does not follow that the doctrine itself is unsound.

JSGreg3 on January 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Of course you’re correct, I was just pointing out the optics of it aren’t great (I also think the doctrine itself is unsound, but that’s another matter).

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Yeah, these sorts of laws actually give me (and I would imagine, many Americans) more confidence that passing and defending the PPACA is the right thing to do. As you pointed out, the only times you guys have tried the whole “nullifaction” gimmick in the past, it was to 1) uphold slavery and then 2) to prevent the extension of civic equality to blacks. Not a great track record.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Wrong! State nullification was never used to defend slavery. You are a moron (in the literal non-ad hominem sense). If you are going to make claims at least know what you are talking about rather than spreading myth in the political debate.

State Nullification was used to reject federal spread of slavery into free states.

Another area of nullification, though CA backed down (wrongly, and I’ve never smoked) was CA’s rejection of the Federal Government’s ban on Medical Marijuana. That example alone should discredit your posts.

Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

thanks for the link, but as I live and type, it’s an absurdity.
despite history and past attempts at using it, the question was settled, and is settled.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

By who? Surely not the Founders, they saw it our way. Judges settled it? That’s like having 2 wolves and a lamb vote for dinner and the lamb not getting a vote.

Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

I know a great deal about this subject having taught about it for a decade, this is not the path.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Alexander Hamilton addressed the extent of the so-called Supremacy Clause in Federalist Essay No. 33:

“[I]t is said that the laws of the Union are to be the supreme law of the land… It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution…”

In the New York Ratifying Convention of 1788, Hamilton stated:

“I maintain that the word supreme imports no more than this: that the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, cannot be controlled or defeated by any other law. The acts of the United States, therefore, will be absolutely obligatory as to all the proper objects and powers of the general government. The states, as well as individuals, are bound by these laws: but the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding.”

The federal government does not exist and has no power outside of the Constitution. Thus, the States have the absolute right to nullify any act outside the Constitution.

Health care falls in the sphere of power reserved to the individual States.

Skylolo on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

By the way, just so we’re defining our terms correctly, instead of saying “states,” or “the people” in these types of posts, it would probably be more accurate for you to say “states with Republican AG’s and/or governors” and “tea party and Republican activists.”

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

Logic is indignant, again.

…because democracy is only for ‘liberal’ states.

You are not liberal, nor progressive, at all.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:08 PM

Nullification is a federal law that is the law of the land right?

Wow Nullification. That’s an oldie. And I hope a goody.

If this stands it could just take all the wind out of the Federal Government.

Line by line nullify federal laws that you don’t like?

Sounds pretty extreme and a bit chaotic.

petunia on January 22, 2011 at 4:08 PM

The States are the sovereigns, the federal government is their creation. I bet they wish they had their Senators back …

What they created they can also dispose of.

tarpon

wrong and ignorant of theory and fact.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM

thanks for the link, but as I live and type, it’s an absurdity.
despite history and past attempts at using it, the question was settled, and is settled.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

It’s like you are a little kid having a tantrum. Like saying, “I realize the history and I realize the fact, but I don’t agree with you, so there!”

Not an argument I’d extend …

Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

I know a great deal about this subject having taught about it for a decade, this is not the path.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

This is an alternate path just in case all other paths are blocked.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 4:10 PM

wrong and ignorant of theory and fact.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Please stop before you hurt yourself.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM

those of you arguing about the merits of nullification need to grasp that this issue was settled by Lincoln, by burning the south to the ground. A safer path would be the repeal amendment movement which would constitutionally restore power to the states and be tougher to abuse.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM

darwin,
In practice the union would cease.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

What you should fear is proving them to be right to think of you as a kook.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

No worry there, the left is never right about any of their traitorous progressive assertions.

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

In practice the union would cease.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

If we keep going down this road it will anyway.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 4:14 PM

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM
darwin on January 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

1. Our #1 mission has to be to force the repeal of ObamaCare, which requires strong, consistent public support to pressure Obama and Reid to do the right thing. Standing in our way will be Obama’s $1bn re-election juggernaut and the entire MSM. To have any chance to beat them, we need clarity of purpose and strong, well communicated policy arguments. The last thing we need is a three-week distraction while the MSM gives us history lessons about “nullification” and bludgeoning us as a bunch of kooks.

2. Nullification is unconstitutional. Period. The federal courts have the final say on whether a federal law is unconstitutional, not the Idaho state legislature. That is how our system has worked since the Founding.

3. Setting aside the fact that nullification is unconstitutional, as a practical matter, how can a state “nullify” ObamaCare? Tell the IRS they can’t fine the citizens of a state for failing to buy insurance? Walking away from Medicaid? It doesn’t make any sense.

Outlander on January 22, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Of course you’re correct, I was just pointing out the optics of it aren’t great (I also think the doctrine itself is unsound, but that’s another matter).

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Way OT.

A couple of weeks back we had a thread about the numbers and demographics of abortions in New York. I honestly got the feeling you were troubled by the numbers. I also notice you haven’t left any comments on any thread, (that I’ve seen) about Gosnell and the Philly Women’s Health Clinic. I think the only way societal issues are solved is debate. You, for the most part are at least reasoned in your debate. I mean, name-calling and absurd comments are not a very regular trait of yours. So it begs the question. Where are all the progressives and liberals on those threads.

If I were a betting man, I’d say you didn’t like the idea or abortion any more than most of us who comment here. Am I right?

hawkdriver on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

As you pointed out, the only times you guys have tried the whole “nullifaction” gimmick in the past, it was to 1) uphold slavery and then 2) to prevent the extension of civic equality to blacks. Not a great track record.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! Do you even know what the Fugitive Slave Act was? The Supreme court ruled that any runaway slave that fled north must be returned to their property. Nullification was used successfully in some northern states to protect the runaway slaves and protect those who harbored them from being imprisoned.

mizflame98 on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

By the way, just so we’re defining our terms correctly, instead of saying “states,” or “the people” in these types of posts, it would probably be more accurate for you to say “states with Republican AG’s and/or governors” and “tea party and Republican activists.”

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

More pointedly and accurately, do you mean the states with citizens and elected leaders who understand the limits of federal power as defined by the Constitution?

onlineanalyst on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

State Nullification was used to reject federal spread of slavery into free states.
Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 4:06 PM

I said that the those were the two examples where you guys (conservative states right activists) tried to nullify federal laws. Unless you’re a Northeastern liberal, I don’t think that example applies to “you guys.”

Another area of nullification, though CA backed down (wrongly, and I’ve never smoked) was CA’s rejection of the Federal Government’s ban on Medical Marijuana.

CA didn’t pass a nullification statute, it just passed legislation which conflicted with federal law and (for a time) relied on relatively lax enforcement of the CSA by the Feds. So that example is problematic as well.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

By who? Surely not the Founders, they saw it our way. Judges settled it? That’s like having 2 wolves and a lamb vote for dinner and the lamb not getting a vote.

Tim Burton

what the heck to you mean by the Founders saw it your way????

there’s a nullification clause in the Constitution?

I missed reading that.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

audiculous, as csdeven so aptly used to say, your comments are truly vacuous.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

darwin,
yes we are on a unsustainable path, but I assure you nullification would speed the fracture, energy should be put into modifying the constitution, its easier, safer, and more likely to get results then relying on doctrine that died along with 650,000 Americans.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM

darwin,
In practice the union would cease.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

If the government does not start to live IAW the Constitution as written and intended, it will dissolve into chaos anyway. When people have no respect for the thing all it takes is a few instances of successful disobedience and the entire rotten mess falls apart.

JIMV on January 22, 2011 at 4:18 PM

Logic is indignant, again.

…because democracy is only for ‘liberal’ states.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:08 PM

I’m not sure how you derived that conclusion from any of my posts.

If I were a betting man, I’d say you didn’t like the idea or abortion any more than most of us who comment here. Am I right?

hawkdriver on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

On an individual level, no. I’d never counsel someone to have one, or have one, except perhaps in very rare cases.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM

wrong and ignorant of theory and fact.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Please stop before you hurt yourself.

darwin

please go right ahead and show me how the system of government in the United States is either theoretically or factually based on sovereignty resting in the various states.

I’m willing to risk being hurt…. and like to laugh.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:20 PM

I know a great deal about this subject having taught about it for a decade, this is not the path.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Could you expand that thought a little bit to help us nonexperts understand?
Thanks,

Ann on January 22, 2011 at 4:20 PM

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Why modify a document that people are too scared or too arrogant to follow? Its just like those who want new border laws but refuse to enforce the ones in existence.

mizflame98 on January 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

yes we are on a unsustainable path, but I assure you nullification would speed the fracture, energy should be put into modifying the constitution, its easier, safer, and more likely to get results then relying on doctrine that died along with 650,000 Americans.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM

Modifying the Constitution? Isn’t it easier if the federal government just adhered to it?

Look, I’m not arguing with you, it’s an extreme action, but so is ObamaCare. It’s the federal government breaking their side of the agreement, not the other way around.

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

I did a slight reading and it looks like nullification has almost never actually worked. At least not recently. Sooo this had better be a last resort.

petunia on January 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

More pointedly and accurately, do you mean the states with citizens and elected leaders who understand the limits of federal power as defined by the Constitution?

onlineanalyst on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Oh Good lord. Absolutely not.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

audiculous, as csdeven so aptly used to say, your comments are truly vacuous.

Schadenfreude

in that case, you may both breathe them in.

or you may fill the void if you would try your hand at arguing against them. schatzie.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM

Where is Andy Jackson when you need him??

robertb on January 22, 2011 at 3:41 PM

…and, as anyone with any book-larnin’ knows, Mr. Jackson’s response to the nullification threat of his day was enough to weaken the knees of no less a scrapper than John Calhoun.

…then again, to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, “I knew Andy Jackson…and Obama is no Andy Jackson”….

…he’s got the underhandedness and the ego down, but not the backbone that goes with it. Our Obama is a curious creature…an invertibrate with a talent for obfuscation…rather like an octopus…and I realize that I now need to offer an apology to octopi, and to all other invertibrates, for that comparison….

…I’ve always thought that the will of the people should prevail…when coercion, backroom dealing and laws so byzantine that even those who enact them aren’t sure what’s in ‘em are the order of the day, nullification seems the only recourse.

Let ‘em have forced, institutionalized, Castroesque healthcare in New England, the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest if they want ‘em there…let the rest of us alone…this solution has the benefit of allowing for comparison between the alternatives, the better to determine which works best….

Puritan1648 on January 22, 2011 at 4:25 PM

as of now 27 states are trying to repeal Obamacare, we are at the point that you could get representatives of 27 maybe even 30 states in the room to begin serious amendment procedures. The first people to scoff at this will point out this doesn’t meet the threshold to even propose modifications, but that is almost besides the point. The very existence of a convention will put these proposals on a national stage and give them the momentum that might force recalcitrant states to accept some of the proposals. People forget two key things about the founding, one the first conventions was held in Annapolis, but too few states showed up. This did not make it a failure as it laid the groundwork for the meeting in Philadelphia a year later. Secondly Rhode Island never showed up to the Philly convention, making everything that occurred there technical illegal as unanimous consent was needed to modify the Articles government. But the fact that people were there all but made that point moot. What I am trying to say comrades is be patient and push means that are most likely to be effective in the long term.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:25 PM

or you may fill the void if you would try your hand at arguing against them. schatzie.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM

I’m not high, nor into you. Get lost.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM

Outlander on January 22, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Repeal is the best choice, but repeal doesn’t stop the progressives from doing it again in the future.

All avenues have to be examined as soon as possible. We have limited time to get rid of Obamacare before it is in full effect and we can’t get rid of it. Which has always been the progressives plan. Nullification movements send messages to other states that they have support to move forward. If nullification becomes nonviable, we have the support in place with the states to amend the constitution.

Irrespective of which is the final path, all of them must be started now.

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM

please go right ahead and show me how the system of government in the United States is either theoretically or factually based on sovereignty resting in the various states.

I’m willing to risk being hurt…. and like to laugh.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:20 PM

You’re right! I mean it’s not like the states had to agree to it or anything. A couple of federal guys got together and said hey, this is the way it is. No one had a representative from the states arguing it, or signing it. Plus, that’s why the states aren’t involved in the amendment process … they’re totally out of the picture.

I believe, if I’m not mistaken, representatives from the states were invited out of mere courtesy and actually had no idea what the Constitution said nor did they care because wine flowed and hookers abounded!!! A good time was had by all!

darwin on January 22, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Well this should be interesting.

Following a strategy started in Idaho? Idaho? Who would have thought?

petunia on January 22, 2011 at 4:28 PM

Oh Good lord. Absolutely not.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

Pity your clients some day. You lost this, your own, claim.

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

People forget two key things about the founding, one the first conventions was held in Annapolis, but too few states showed up. This did not make it a failure as it laid the groundwork for the meeting in Philadelphia a year later. Secondly Rhode Island never showed up to the Philly convention, making everything that occurred there technical illegal as unanimous consent was needed to modify the Articles government.

and the Philly convention was never given the authority to draft a new government.
none of which makes anything about it process technically illegal.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

On an individual level, no. I’d never counsel someone to have one, or have one, except perhaps in very rare cases.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Thanks for the honest answer.

hawkdriver on January 22, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Nullification is an absolutely terrible idea, because it would destabilize the entire American system of government. Look at it from the other side; In U.S. v. Nixon, the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes. He complied, but what if he hadn’t? If the president had refused to comply with a Supreme Court order, there would have been massive internal problems, since the system of checks and balances would have basically fallen apart.

If one branch of government is allowed to completely ignore another branch, the system doesn’t work. If precedent is set saying that states can ignore both laws passed by Congress and Supreme Court decisions, then not only is every bit of precedent set since the Civil War ignored, but the union essentially falls apart. Red States ignore laws by Democrat controlled Congress, Blue States ignore laws by Republican controlled Congress. Either America becomes a hodgepodge of basically independent states circa the 1700′s, or there is a second Civil War.

I know most of us on here believe that the federal government is too big and too powerful; but allowing states to ignore Congress and the Supreme Court makes the government completely impotent, which mostly everyone but anarchists would think to be a bad idea, at least from a defense and homeland security perspective.

I’m not even being over-dramatic; the American system only functions because all sides agree on a system of checks and balances. If the states want to get rig of health care reform, they can do it through Congress or the Court. Obama’s health care reform is bad, but there are other avenues than destabilizing our entire system of government to stop it.

HeroesforGhosts on January 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

I said that the those were the two examples where you guys (conservative states right activists) tried to nullify federal laws. Unless you’re a Northeastern liberal, I don’t think that example applies to “you guys.”

1. The point is not a you guys. It was a State’s Rights movement.

2. Wisconsin was not in the Northeast at the time.

3. Wisconsin was heavily Whig/Republican at the time.

4. The South was Democrat.

CA didn’t pass a nullification statute, it just passed legislation which conflicted with federal law and (for a time) relied on relatively lax enforcement of the CSA by the Feds. So that example is problematic as well.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Ultimately, distinction without a difference. So you’re saying if someone just passes a law that conflicts with Federal law, they’d be ok, as long as they don’t say Nullification?

Tim Burton on January 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

By the way, just so we’re defining our terms correctly, instead of saying “states,” or “the people” in these types of posts, it would probably be more accurate for you to say “states with Republican AG’s and/or governors” and “tea party and Republican activists.”

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:59 PM

You actually want to fight over the definition of “the people”.

Don’t look now but the number for support of the bill exactly as it is written has fallen to about 13%. So your little group of “the right People” is shrinking.

The bill sux. The sooner your group of people realize that and get in on debating how to stop it and fix the problems it has only made worse the better.

The bill sux.

petunia on January 22, 2011 at 4:33 PM

If nullification becomes nonviable, we have the support in place with the states to amend the constitution.

Irrespective of which is the final path, all of them must be started now.

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM

27 states is pretty close to 2/3rds – this is what makes the left rabid. Soon there will be 30. More interesting than nullification…

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM

darwin,
In practice the union would cease.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Perhaps if the Supremes think as you do they will take that concern seriously, as well as the fact that over half of the states are objecting to this federal power grab, and smack Congress down to size.

txmomof6 on January 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM

darwin, the states voted as representatives of the citizens residing within them. prior to the adoption of the Constitution they exercised sovereignty on the name of their citizens.
the national government now exercises sovereignty over the several states in the name of the citizens of the United States.

sovereignty rests with the citizenry.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:35 PM

ann,
The original doctrine dealt with the Jeffersonian’s outrage at the alien and sedition act. They felt the actions of the Federalists were an outrage and came up with a theory to oppose them. It became a non-issue as Jefferson and later Madison became President. It re-emerged under Calhoun when South Carolina tried to nullify the tariff in the 1830′s. He backed down, the last serious push was succession, where the logical end of nullification was states leaving the Union. In practice the theory died on the battlefield. Now if that is not enough, the ultimate weakness in nullification is that the Constitution contains an amending option to remove odious aspects and don’t forget EVERY STATE OF THE UNION FREELY JOINED.

rob verdi on January 22, 2011 at 4:35 PM

As you pointed out, the only times you guys have tried the whole “nullifaction” gimmick in the past, it was to 1) uphold slavery and then 2) to prevent the extension of civic equality to blacks. Not a great track record.

crr6 on January 22, 2011 at 3:52 PM

“you guys” Heh. The guys defending slavery and preventing the equality of blacks were Democrats. “You guys” sure have been on the wrong side of history for quite awhile now.

bitsy on January 22, 2011 at 4:35 PM

try your hand at arguing against them. schatzie.

audiculous on January 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM

What argument have you made? You are ARGUING…that is not making an argument.

I’ll paraphrase what others have said…..

Your comments are akin to the vacuous argument made by a 5 year old throwing a tantrum claiming righteous through assertion while showcasing willful ignorance.

You’re afraid to get into a detailed debate because you are an ignoramus and you know it.

csdeven on January 22, 2011 at 4:36 PM

27 states is pretty close to 2/3rds – this is what makes the left rabid. Soon there will be 30. More interesting than nullification…

Schadenfreude on January 22, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Certainly more difficult to get around. What are we, 5 or 6 states away?

anuts on January 22, 2011 at 4:41 PM

Woah! Only Southern states filled with bigots are for nullification, right? I mean, nullification is code for states’ rights, right? Jim Crow, Bull Connor and stuff like that, right? Texas, yeah sure it was a Confederate State, but all the rest are Yankee states. Especially Maine. My, my, how the worm turns. I sense a little revolution stirring. People not happy with Big Brother want out of the situation. What next? The dreaded ‘S’ word?

JimP on January 22, 2011 at 4:42 PM

One potential fly in the ointment … is the 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision reaffirming that federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land.

Supremacy isn’t the issue here. Constitutionality is.

Socratease on January 22, 2011 at 4:43 PM

Maine likes the health care they have already(though one could ask why if they cared to). I guess a lot of states like what they have and have grown used to. It’s patently wrong for Obama and company to tell them they now have to contribute to the health care in depressed big cities in depressed big states who made their own mess and should have to deal with it themselves. NOT my debauched brother’s keeper Barry, sorry, doesn’t cut it.

jeanie on January 22, 2011 at 4:46 PM

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