Theodore's World: Health-care Mandates Could Be 'null and void'

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April 22, 2010

Health-care Mandates Could Be 'null and void'

Health-care mandates could be 'null and void'

Citizens launch drive to put feds back in their constitutional place


group of Americans who believe the federal government overstepped its constitutional bounds in passing the recent health-care legislation is rallying allies to a bold and controversial initiative: state nullification of the federal law.

"Now that health-care reform has been signed into law, the question people ask most is, 'What do we do about it?'" said Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, in a statement. "The status-quo response includes lobbying Congress, marching on D.C., 'voting the bums out,' suing in federal court and more. But the last 100 years have proven that none of these really work, and government continues to grow year in and year out."

Instead, the Center is reaching back into the history books to suggest states take up "nullification," a controversial measure that would essentially involve states saying to the federal government, "Not in our borders, you don't. That law has no effect here."

The Center is partnering with to announce release of model nullification legislation for states, called the Federal Health Care Nullification Act, and a call for 100,000 Americans to join a state-by-state petition to prompt legislators into action.

Nullification will allow Americans to stop the overreaching federal government now, not years from now," said Trevor Lyman of in a statement. "We can make our biggest waves in local politics. Our state governments understand the impact of a vocal and irate minority, and they simply need to hear from us.

" and the Tenth Amendment Center's Federal Health Care Nullification Act give our state legislators their marching orders," he continued.

The question of whether nullification is a legal and permissible step, however, has been battled over since the ink was still wet on the U.S. Constitution.

The controversy stems largely from Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which reads in part: "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."

Many scholars today point to the Article VI "Supremacy Clause" as evidence that federal laws (such as the health-care legislation) override state laws (such as any proposed nullification act).

But not so fast, say nullification advocates, pointing to a different interpretation offered by some of America's Founding Fathers, based on the phrase in Article VI that suggests only federal laws made "in pursuance" of the Constitution are supreme.

In 1788, Alexander Hamilton wrote to the people of the state of New York in Federalist No. 33, arguing that the yet unratified Constitution limited the Supremacy Clause to only constitutional acts, and that federal laws that strayed outside those bounds deserved to be treated by "the smaller societies," meaning states, as "usurpation."

"It will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land," he wrote (all italics in the original). "These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such. … It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution."

Ten years later, when faced with the unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison penned the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, respectively, which asserted that the Acts had infringed on powers reserved "solely and exclusively to the respective states" and were therefore "altogether void and of no force."

In 1822, the General Court of Massachusetts blasted a federal embargo as "usurpation" and "oppression."

"We tremble for the liberties of our country! We think it the duty of the present generation, to stand between the next and despotism," the Court ruled. "The Committee are of opinion that the late act laying an embargo is unconstitutional, and void in divers of its provisions; not upon the narrow ground that the Constitution has expressly prohibited such acts, but upon the more broad and liberal ground that the People never gave a power to Congress to enact them."

The Court's solution was nullification, writing, "Whenever the national compact is violated, and the citizens of this State are oppressed by cruel and unauthorized laws, this Legislature is bound to interpose its power, and wrest from the oppressor its victim."

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Wild Thing's comment.......

I wonder how the IRS can be kept out of this from intimidating us and forcing us. I have always paid taxes and never messed with this kind of thing, knowing how horrible the IRS has been to people it really scares me.

The Constitution requires all revenue raising bills to originate in the House. This health care monstrosity that passed has to be considered a revenue raiser at least in part, because there are several new taxes included. Yet the bulk of the bill was first drawn up and passed in the SENATE, if you recall the history of it. All of it having to do with it's unconstitutionality.

And since obamacare specifically exempts members of one or two religious groups from paying into the system, while including them as beneficiaries of the system, this law establishes a state preferred religion, and therefore also violates the First Amendment.

It’s a unconstitutional bill and illegal.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me. Mark 3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment 1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at April 22, 2010 12:48 AM


I was also wondering about the revenue generating aspects of the bill. Actually I wonder about the constitutionaliy of the entire bill and it being forced on us. I also think the forced fines if you don't buy into the bill are illegal.

It is good that there is growing opposition to the obamacare bill. I don't trust our Congress to do the right thing unless we replace a lot of the this November. Maybe we can get a good repeal movement going and also a strong Tenth Amendment movement built up.

Posted by: TomR at April 22, 2010 10:43 AM

Tom, I agree so much. November is going to be
so important to saving our country. And I too think those against this bill is growing and
that will also put pressure on them to look
harder at our Constitution and see how it is
against it.

Posted by: Wild Thing at April 22, 2010 07:02 PM