States Can Nullify Obamacare

On Rush Limbaugh’s Thursday program, George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams outlined the case that states can nullify Obamacare, citing Thomas Jefferson’s 1789 Kentucky Resolution, which was a claim that the U. S. Constitution is a compact among the several states, and any power not delegated to the U.S. government is void.

“I think the American citizens ought to press their state governors and legislatures just to nullify the law — just to plain nullify it and say, ‘The citizens of such-and-such-a state don’t have to obey Obamacare because it’s unconstitutional, regardless of what the Supreme Court says,’” Williams said.

Williams cited Marbury v. Madison, which said “all laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void” to further the case for nullification from the states.

Nullification is a doctrine introduced in the infancy of the United States and was what some have suggested led to the Civil War. As far as the legal precedent of nullification and how it led to the Civil War, Williams said he doubted the repercussions would as serious as they were in 1861.


“I think two things are different this time,” he said. “First, most Americans are against Obamacare. And secondly, I don’t believe — and you call me up and tell me if I’m wrong about this — I don’t believe that you could find a United States soldier who would follow a presidential order to descend on a state to round up or shoot fellow Americans because they refuse to follow a congressional order to buy health insurance.”

Town Hall

5/16/2012

Should We Obey All Laws?

Walter E. Williams

Let’s think about whether all acts of Congress deserve our respect and obedience. Suppose Congress enacted a law — and the Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — requiring American families to attend church services at least three times a month. Should we obey such a law? Suppose Congress, acting under the Constitution’s commerce clause, enacted a law requiring motorists to get eight hours of sleep before driving on interstate highways. Its justification might be that drowsy motorists risk highway accidents and accidents affect interstate commerce. Suppose you were a jury member during the 1850s and a free person were on trial for assisting a runaway slave, in clear violation of the Fugitive Slave Act. Would you vote to convict and punish?

A moral person would find each one of those laws either morally repugnant or to be a clear violation of our Constitution. You say, “Williams, you’re wrong this time. In 1859, in Ableman v. Booth, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 constitutional.” That court decision, as well as some others in our past, makes my case. Moral people can’t rely solely on the courts to establish what’s right or wrong. Slavery is immoral; therefore, any laws that support slavery are also immoral. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions (is) a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.”

Soon, the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Obamacare, euphemistically titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There is absolutely no constitutional authority for Congress to force any American to enter into a contract to buy any good or service. But if the court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, what should we do?

State governors and legislators ought to summon up the courage of our Founding Fathers in response to the 5th Congress’ Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. Led by Jefferson and James Madison, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 and 1799 were drafted where legislatures took the position that the Alien and Sedition Acts were unconstitutional. They said, “Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government … (and) whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” The 10th Amendment to our Constitution supports that vision: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In a word, if the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, citizens should press their state governors and legislatures to nullify the law. You say, “Williams, the last time states got into this nullification business, it led to a war that cost 600,000 lives.” Two things are different this time. First, most Americans are against Obamacare, and secondly, I don’t believe that you could find a U.S. soldier who would follow a presidential order to descend on a state to round up or shoot down fellow Americans because they refuse to follow a congressional order to buy health insurance.

Congress has already gone far beyond the powers delegated to it by the Constitution. In Federalist No. 45, Madison explained: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” That vision has been turned on its head; it’s the federal government whose powers are numerous and indefinite, and those of the state are now few and defined.

Former slave Frederick Douglass advised: “Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them. … The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

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42 Responses to “States Can Nullify Obamacare”

  1. Anthony says:

    What is being advocated by Walter E. Williams is rebellion against the United States government. That’s the kind of mess that can land a person in a federal prison. Plus, it is very much unConstitutional for a state to disobey a federal law just because it doesn’t like it. Walter E. Williams is guilty of sedition but fortunately nothing will come of his idiocy.

  2. FrodoBggins says:

    Good old Rush, talking sense while the rest of the country is just spouting drivel. On that subject, what happened to the states that wanted to secede from the USA? Texas had enough signatures on the official petition. They didn’t want universal healthcare, they wanted the constitutional right to remain sick if they chose to do so, and they deserve that right! Chop the union in half! Make a second, better United States of The South!!! Rush Limbaugh can be the president!!!!!!

  3. Gloria says:

    If Presidents bush and obama can decide which laws passed by Congress to enforce and which they won’t, what is to stop a Governor from deciding which laws signed by the President to enforce in their State and which they won’t? What happened to checks and balances in this country is that Congress stopped reading the bills to determine their effect if made in law. Congress threw their advise and consent responsibilities out the window, which means, our government is no longer “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” OOPS – we live in a dictatorship and only a few even realize it, since our consciences and mindset have been successfully propagandized. Congress and the White House have become the proverbial Aegean Stables and we have no Hercules to wash them out.

  4. Sovereign Mary says:

    As Thomas Jefferson so aptly stated:
    Thomas Jefferson – “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.” — —Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME

  5. anonymous says:

    The voice of truth is right now saying to all of you that are on this website, reading this, that obamacare is a fix by the one who is deceiving mankind. Now think. Who do you think is deceiving mankind?

  6. J.R. says:

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of Patriots. The REVOLUTION NEEDS TO HAPPEN NOW!! WE HAVE GOT TO LET THEM KNOW THAT IT IS OUR COUNTRY AND THEY WORK FOR US AND THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!

  7. justin says:

    I will not pay for obummer care

  8. Don says:

    I live in Oregon. I have as much chance of getting my state to block Obamacare as I do in getting Ronald Reagan’s statue placed in front of the State capital building.

  9. Lonegura says:

    You are right about the military will not policing people in this country, why do you think he is building up his own army through Homeland Security. Buying every bullet being made here in America, so they can round you up and put you away.

    • Nancy says:

      I don’t think most (especially the young) realize that is exactly what could happen. It is called martial law. There are enough Muslim and foreigners and people who hate us right here in the USA to rise up and cause a civil war.
      People that have guns better hold on to them. Try and get more if you can.
      This could happen overnight at any given time. Better pay attention as to what is going on.

    • Gail says:

      then I go out fighting!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the military but the police are certainly getting close.

  10. Xakkar says:

    Doesnt matter if we can null it or not, If we want to or not. We wont. We are Americans in 2013. We will bend over and take it like the wimps we are because all we do is talk but never act…

  11. Great Post Shane. And to address your questions in a very short summed up answer. Because that’s how this administration buys its votes. With no regards to how they are destroying an entire generation of people by creating all the handouts and literally encouraging not only illegals, but and citizens as well, to get on these programs.

  12. Patrick says:

    The United States military is prevented from policing the people in this country. It’s called Posse Comitatus Act. Look it up and learn. The individual states National Guard and the Coast Guard are exempt from this act.

  13. Robert E Brinson says:

    Are rights are getting trampeld on thay have been for quit some time now the police do it all the time like speed traps and a hole bunch of other stuff its time we take our country back

  14. Robert E Brinson says:

    This is what our ancestors fought against in the revolutionary war ……taxation without representation we need to do something

  15. Robert E Brinson says:

    We need to rise up against this i am going to start protesting against it are you with me

    • admin says:

      Voting them out of office is better… cut the head off the snake… but being educated about Obamacare and educating others is a great start…

      • GShav says:

        That’s IF you believe we actually vote anyone in or out of office in the first place, lets be honest its no stretch anymore to believe ALL elections are rigged, and this last presidential election clearly was.

      • amandajnmaui says:

        AHAHHAHAHA! VOTING! GOOD ONE!

      • carol says:

        I don’t think we have time for voting. By time voting time gets here Obama will have Marshal law here and a civil war. Needs action now not later. And voting fraud will still be there. Can’t take chance on this happening. I do not feel Obama was actually voted in, at least the second term. Waiting for voting is just the lazy way out and lazy way out you lose. Action now.

  16. shane says:

    There is no such thing as “The American Dream” anymore. That died out in the 1950s. This is now “The American Nightmare”.

  17. shane says:

    Instead of making the poor even poorer to “fix” our crumbling economy, why hasnt anybody considered closing immigration (there are approx. 11.1 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today. How do we think these people were able to be here in the first place? They have family here who are NOT illegal!)? Contrary to popular belief, this country WAS NOT built on immigration but on the pursuit of religious freedom. Read your history books people!!! And why havent we considered removing those who are on Food Stamps who dont really need it, like unwed mothers who do not WANT to get a job? I know plenty of 16-25 year old women who fit this description who brag about receiving “free money”. Why are we punishing the disabled and the elderly for those who are systematically depleting THEIR ONLY resources? Why are we sending billions of dollars to countries to not make war with us and they make war with us ANYWAY?!!! I think Arizona has the right idea. What happened to this country when foreigners could become president? Our forefathers are rocking in their graves! They knew that this was a “great experiment” and didnt expect it to last very long, but why are we handing this country over on a silver platter?!!! Shall we throw in some silver spoons as well? It wasnt that long ago that the Irish were coming into this country and were treated far worse than blacks in most parts, but at least they were white and actually wanted to help build this country and didnt come with their hands out. They didnt want to bleed this country dry.

    • Ellen Rowen says:

      I so agree with you. Illegals are taking over our country and our citizens are going without. Whycan’t they come into our country the right way? Because liberals want their votes.

    • Sam says:

      Uh, whether it was pursuit of religious freedom or not, it is still considered immigration. Read the definition. Learn from it. And illegal immigrants actually generally positively benefit the economy, paying into taxes and not receiving anything back. Also, they do the jobs we don’t want to do because are spoiled and too good for them. Got any questions? Nope, didn’t think so.

      • Sam says:

        Also, I would invite you to try working 16 hour days as a grape picker or a farm hand. I’m guessing you wouldn’t want that. They are the hardest workers you can imagine, and all they try to do is feed their starving family in a country of economic upheaval. Wouldn’t you do the same if you saw your child starving to death?

        • Dave says:

          Sam, You must believe in slave labor since the illegals work for below minimum wage. So much for that big heart of yours. As for working 16 hours a day, I have known Americans that will do the same jobs if they just paid a livable wage. Or, better yet, how about after school jobs for high school students. These things would take care of themselves in a free market system. Now, as for your false argument that illegals only give and do not take. Have you been to an emergency room in Arizona lately? It is constantly packed with illegals getting their “free” health care and when people come in that really do have an emergency, they have to wait for hours to see a doctor. I once waited 8 hours in an emergency room waiting to see a doctor because of all the illegals who did not have the money to pay for normal health care providers. It cost the American tax payers hundreds of billions every year to take care of illegals health care. This will not change under Obamacare because they are illegals and are exempt by non citizenship. When will liberals learn that the USA is NOT hear to save everyone in the world, and we are not here to take over the world. We are here to make this the best country in the world.

        • Dee says:

          most who work in the fields picking grapes or any other crop are migrant workers. They have work visas and understand how the law works in general. They are not the problem. The ones who come here and over stay their work visas are breaking the law and should not be above the law. We need to remember in the immigration argument that there are laws now and allowing those to be ignored only weakens our nation. Then there is the matter of those who come here illegally with no intention of working but rather to scam the system. Enforce the laws we have and work on a better system. One step at a time.

      • Sherry says:

        Ummm, actually, most of those illegal immigrants doing “the jobs we don’t want to” are being paid under the table, which means they are NOT paying tax. And in the phrase “illegal immigrant” the key word isn’t immigrant. It’s illegal. They are breaking the law when they sneak across the border.

      • Tammy says:

        Where did you get the idea that the american people were to spoiled or to lazy to do the work your precious illegals are doing?
        Who do you think has worked all these jobs before the gates flew open?
        The middle class americans worked those poultry jobs, picked those crops,and worked all those manufacturing jobs. Now all those positions are filled with illegals, and the middle class american is NO more. All of those companies are
        moving out of the US to other countries where the wage is lower, thats why now half of what you purchase is poorly made and just pure crap.
        I work with Hispanics and I constantly hear them saying that their only doing the jobs that whites won’t do, thats bull THEY are taking OUR livily hood how do we feed our children?

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