Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What the anti-ObamaCare referendum in Missouri means for the country

Tonight the voters of Missouri voted overwhelmingly (around 73%) for a referendum nullifying the new health care law passed last spring. What this basically means is that Missouri is telling Washington that they will not force its state's citizens to buy health insurance if they don't want to. While this idea of "nullification" may shock you, local and state governments have actually done this for most of our nation's history when they view a law from the federal government as clearly unconstitutional and therefore void.

This kind of argument takes us back to what the ratifying conventions debated in 1787-1788 when the new Constitution was being considered as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation. Is the federal judiciary the final arbiter of the what is lawful and what is not? Liberals and "progressives" may tell you that it is but that is clearly false-the people themselves decide what is lawful and what is not and are obliged to resist laws that are clearly unconstitutional and therefore void. Throughout history this has been done by states-Wisconsin would not let its citizens be harassed by Federal marshalls in the 1850s when the marshalls tried to arrest abolitionists who were assisting runaway slaves. They state government declared that those who helped runaway slaves would not be prosecuted because the Fugitive Slave Act was clearly wrong. The Real-ID Act of a few years ago that was passed by the federal government that created national standards for state IDs has basically been nullified by most localities as an abidgement of their rights under the 9th and 10th Amendments. And, of course, the federal government says that marijuana is illegal in every state but California openly supports the use of the drug by those who are ill. If you travel to the Golden State you'll see shops in most major localities in open defiance of federal law.

I would bet that in the next four years you'll see twenty to thirty more states put laws on their respective books to nullify this law. In the end, more than half the states will say that their citizens will not have to be compelled to buy insurance and there won't be much the federal government will be able to do about it even if the Congress doesn't repeal the law.

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