federal government gradually assimilates the rest of the country, a few
states have begun to fight back. From the Kansas City Star:
state-run health insurance exchanges in Missouri or Kansas
be unable to implement a key provision of federal health care law, Gov.Jay Nixon announced Thursday.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownbacksays he won't support an
application from Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger
to establish a state-federal health insurance marketplace.
That means it
will be up to the federal government to establish health insurance exchanges
in Missouri and Kansas. The exchanges are designed to be online marketplaces
where individuals and small businesses can compare and buy private insurance
As part of
the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the states
face a Nov. 16 deadline to notify the federal government if they want to run
their own insurance exchange. They must be open for business by 2014. When
states do not open their own, the federal government will step in and set up
"Obamacare," Brownback said in a news release,
"is an overreach by Washington and (Kansans) have rejected the state's
participation.... We will not benefit from it and implementing it could cost
Kansas taxpayers millions of dollars."
This kind of
rebellion has deep historical roots. From the American Thinker blog:
overlooked in the uproar surrounding the election is the nullification of
federal narcotics law in Washington state and Colorado. If these laws are
allowed to stand without challenge from Eric Holder's Justice Department,
then the green light is on for nullifying any federal law -- including ObamaCare.
is based upon the principle that is best described in the words of Thomas
Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:
are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
statement asserts that no government may impose its will upon the people
without their consent and that if the people make it known that they do not
consent then the imposition is nullified. The very first time that a nullification
resolution was passed in our history was the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 to
nullify the Alien and Sedition acts. The author of this resolution was Thomas
Jefferson, who had to write the resolution in secret because if it were known
that he was opposed to these acts, he would have been imprisoned, even though
he was vice president at the time.
help from another of the founding fathers, James Madison. Madison wrote the
Virginia Resolution, which nullified the Alien and Seditions Acts in Virginia.
These nullification resolutions were never tested in court since in the next
presidential election Jefferson became president, repealed the laws and
pardoned all those who had been imprisoned under the Alien and Seditions
acts. The idea of nullification became popular again in the decade leading up
to the War Between the States as many northern states nullified fugitive
western states are using the principle of nullification against federal
narcotics laws to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Both Colorado and
Washington had legalization measures on the ballot, and the measures passed.
But Kevin Sabet, the former Obama administration's
drug czar, stated:
a symbolic victory for advocates, but it will be short-lived. They are facing
an uphill battle with implementing this, in the face of presidential
opposition and in the face of federal enforcement opposition."
But as of
yet, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency have not made a show of force by
kicking in the doors of local head shops and hauling shopkeepers off to jail.
federal government does take action, it will likely be via lawsuit. They will
argue the Supremacy Clause of the constitution. But the Supremacy Clause is
not a slam dunk as some would have you think. In Federalist Paper #46 titled,
"The Influence of the State and Federal Governments Compared,"
Madison comments on the idea of supremacy:
gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the
ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the
if the federal government loses, then nullification will be used to do away
with many overreaching federal laws, such as the Endangered Species Act,
which has shut down agriculture in California, or to the Clean Air Act, which
threatens to cause rolling blackouts across the nation.
and Washington are not alone in the nullification movement; six other states
are challenging federal law. Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming all passed
measures guaranteeing health-care freedom, and Massachusetts approved a
measure to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.
Virginia passed legislation prohibiting state and local agencies from
cooperating with any federal attempt to exercise indefinite detention without
due process under the National Defense Authorization Act.
Governor, C.L. "Butch" Otter, signed the Health Freedom Act into
law which essentially nullifies the Affordable Care Act.
nullification movement is alive and well, and growing exponentially, and as a
result the beltway bandits may see their power greatly diminished.
non-libertarians will like some of these nullification moves and abhor others.
Conservatives hate the idea of legal weed, for instance, and liberals can't
tolerate states running their own health care systems. In other words, both
sides of the current US political establishment are all for a big, intrusive
central government as long as it serves their ends, but dead set against it
when it serves their ideological opponents. This philosophical, um,
flexibility is what has allowed Washington to grow so steadily. When
republicans are in charge, the powers of the federal police state grow. When
democrats take over, the welfare state expands. Neither has the political
capital to undo the other's expansion, so federal power continues to
But now this
process has begun to work in reverse. Liberal states are trying to push the feds
out of the realms of drugs and sexual behavior, while conservative states are
trying to reassert their dominance in economics. The result might be an
irregular but steady erosion of federal power.
dictators go down without a fight, however, so Washington might decide to
make an example of rebellious states by asserting federal supremacy in the
courts and then backing up favorable rulings with legal sanctions. Will it
succeed or backfire? Who knows, but it will almost certainly energize the libertarian
movement that Ron Paul helped create - which would be both educational and
entertaining. So by all means, let nullification debate begin.
By the way,
the godfather of the nullification movement is Thomas Woods. His book on the
subject is here.