By Alan Caruba
The resistance to Obamacare is writing a new chapter in U.S. history. It may well become the most unpopular law since Prohibition became an Amendment to the Constitution in 1919. By 1933, another Amendment repealed it.
Obamacare passed by a straight Democratic party vote on Christmas Eve in 2009. No Republican voted for it and, as one poll recently revealed, a third of Americans are still unaware it is the law of the land. A divided Supreme Court gave it a pass, calling it a tax, but it is a profoundly unconstitutional law insofar as the federal government may not pass a law that requires Americans to purchase something and to fine them if they do not. It is also playing havoc with the economy, delaying recovery as it deters hiring and encourages firing.
Nonetheless, a number of states have gone on record seeking to nullify its enforcement and some are doing the same as regards gun control. Arizona became famous when it passed its own immigration law in response to the federal government’s failure to protect its border with Mexico. The proposed “Gang of Eight” immigration law is facing stiff opposition for its various provisions, most of which do not address the central issue of security on the southern border.
How out of touch is the President? He went to Mexico and blamed the violence arising from its drug cartels on America, saying “Most of the guns used here to commit violence came from America.” He made no mention of the scandalous “Fast and Furious” scheme in which the ATF actually ran guns into Mexico, claiming they would track them. It took an executive order to throw a blanket of silence over it and a compliant media to ignore that scandal.
It is, however, Obamacare that poses the greatest threat to the nation, intruding on the patient-doctor relationship, robbing billions from Medicare to pay for it, requiring states to fund more Medicaid when many are strapped to meet other needs, and putting 16% of the nation’s economy under federal control.
A total of twenty-seven states have filed suit against Obamacare. Two federal judges have upheld its individual mandate to purchase health insurance and two others have ruled that it is unconstitutional.
Twelve states have introduced versions of the Federal Health Care Nullification Act that was drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center. They include Texas, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Alabama, and Maine. All declare that Obamacare is “hereby declared to be invalid, shall not be recognized, is specifically rejected, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect.”
In South Carolina, on May 1st, the state House passed a bill that declares the bill null and void and goes a step further, criminalizing its implementation. Earlier Governor Nikki Haley, in her state of the state address, said that South Carolina does not want and cannot afford Obamacare, saying of the President’s namesake, “not now, not ever.”
The following day, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback sent a letter in response to Attorney General Eric Holder’s opposition to its Second Amendment Protection Act, declaring it unconstitutional; essentially tell him to piss off. “The people of Kansas,” said the Governor, “have clearly expressed their sovereign will.” The same day, Missouri passed a comparable law protecting the Second Amendment.
Not since the years leading up to the Civil War was kicked off on December 20, 1860 when South Carolina voted for secession, has there been such open resistance to the mandates of the federal government by the states on a range of issues. Earlier, in 1832, President Andrew Jackson had threatened to send troops to South Carolina to enforce federal laws.
Nullification, however, will not succeed as a means to rid the nation of Obamacare. To Obama’s dismay, his gun control law failed in Congress when even members of his party joined in voting against it. The fate of immigration reform remains unknown but it will come to a vote soon enough.
The reason why nullification will fail is embedded in the Constitution. The Supremacy Clause states “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be found thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary, notwithstanding.”
That has not discouraged the legislatures of many states from expressing their opposition to Obamacare, intrusions on the Second Amendment right of citizens to bear arms, and to demand the federal government enforce the laws regarding its borders.
There isn’t a constitutional scholar that does not support the Supremacy Clause. The Heritage Foundation has a policy paper on the subject of nullification that says “there is no clause or implied power in either the national or the various state constitutions that enables states to veto federal laws unilaterally.”
The states, though, can express their displeasure and their opposition to federal laws and that is what lies at the heart of the spate of nullification laws that have been passed. As sovereign republics, the states can and do express themselves and, through their elected Senators and Representatives, have the power in concert to repeal obnoxious and injurious federal laws.
That will be the fate of Obamacare.
© Alan Caruba, 2013
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is currently blocking implementation of voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas, claiming such measures are “unnecessary,” discriminatory and would make it harder for minorities to vote.
But if you’re planning to visit Holder’s office in Washington, D.C., you better bring a photo ID. The Department of Justice has two armed guards stationed outside its headquarters to check IDs of anyone who wants to enter — employees and visitors.
Holder’s politically motivated crusade against voter ID laws has the support of liberal advocacy organizations ranging from the Center for American Progress and Media Matters to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Advancement Project.
Each of these organizations has criticized photo identification for voting, yet they require it to enter their Washington, D.C., offices as well. There’s even a sign in the building of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “ALL VISITORS MUST SHOW ID.”
Holder is able to block laws in South Carolina on Texas because they are subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a civil rights-era law that gives the Department of Justice authority over voting changes. It remains unclear if those states will be able to enforce their laws for this November’s election.
“The Obama-Holder Department of Justice has launched an all-out war on voter ID and other measures,” former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell said upon launching a new initiative called Protect Your Vote. “Although Holder’s actions are purported to prevent African-Americans from being disenfranchised, in reality they serve as a crass political attempt to ensure his boss gets re-elected this year.”
Liberals have long trotted out false arguments about voter ID laws, claiming they suppress the vote among those individuals who do not have photo identification. But a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court case upholding Indiana’s voter ID law revealed there was no such hardship. Opponents of the law were unable to produce a single plaintiff who could plausibly claim inability to get a photo ID. In addition, states with longstanding voter ID laws, such as Georgia and Indiana, have actually experienced an increase in turnout of minority voters.
Rob Bluey directs the Center for Media and Public Policy, an investigative journalism operation at The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter: @RobertBluey
- Voter ID (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Video: Liberals opposing voter ID laws require ID to enter their buildings (theblaze.com)
- Justice Department files objection to Texas voter ID law – Fox News (foxnews.com)
The bill, filed by Sens. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, Harry Brown, R-Onslow, and Tommy Tucker, R-Union, would direct Perdue, a New Bern Democrat, to enter into a pact with the governors of Virginia and South Carolina to urge President Obama to open the East Coast for energy exploration.
Sponsors of the bill say that they’re hoping to explore natural gas off the coast of North Carolina and step up efforts to provide for wind energy.
“North Carolina’s coast has been identified as probably the best source for wind energy,” Brown said during a Wednesday press conference at the Legislative Building.
“We have a great opportunity to explore and determine if there are natural gas deposits off our coast,” Rucho said. He said if such deposits exist, it could create thousands of jobs for the state.
Rucho said that one of the goals of the bill is helping the ease the nation’s energy problem. He called the high gasoline prices in the nation an “economy buster.”
Molly Diggins, state director, of the North Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club, said the effort to explore wind energy sounded good to her.
“We certainly agree that there’s a tremendous energy bonanza off the coast in off-shore wind,” Diggins said.
But she wasn’t as enthusiastic about the possibility of opening up areas off the state’s coast for offshore drilling.
“Offshore drilling remains high risk and low benefit,” Diggins said.
Bill sponsors hope that by forming a pact with Virginia and South Carolina, they can encourage President Obama and Congress to not only open the federal waters for offshore exploration but provide the state royalties if gas is found. Those royalties could come to about $500 million a year, Rucho said.
Money would go to the state’s general fund, the Highway Trust Fund, the community college system, the UNC system and to the state’s conservation programs. Some money would go to the state ports for expansion and to the recruitment of energy-related industries.
The senators rolled out their bill on the one-year anniversary of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Rucho acknowledged the coincidence and said that companies drilling for energy offshore had learned from past mistakes.