Since the Supreme Court rendered its opinion on the constitutionality of a mandatory federal health care system last summer, many Americans consider the matter settled. But others recognize that despite the pronouncement of five robed federal employees, the Constitution still does not delegate Congress the power to create and run a health care system for all 300-plus million Americans.
And while many Republicans hoped electoral change in November would put the kibosh on Obamacare, it didn’t. So others at the state level have been refusing to put their faith in D.C. politicians to fix a problem D.C. politicians created in the first place. With Republican House leadership indicating they lack the political will to defund the monstrosity, the ranks of those looking to block implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the state level continue to swell.
South Carolina became the latest state considering nullification of Obamacare with the announcement that Rep. William Chumley will sponsor a bill in the 2013 legislative session declaring the PPACA unconstitutional and void in the State. If passed, the bill would set the stage for blocking implementation of the mandatory federal health care system in South Carolina, using language similar to model legislation drafted by the Tenth Amendment Center.
It shall be the duty of the legislature of this State to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” within the limits of this State.
The bill will be filed in Columbia before the end of the year and will be voted on in the lame-duck session. When asked in a recent interview as to why he was filing this bill, Rep Chumley said that it is “because of federal over-reach. We are following the Constitution. It is the right thing to do.”
If passed, the South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act would authorize the state of South Carolina to stop anyone from enforcing or implementing Obamacare within the boundaries of that state.
South Carolina joins three other states already committed to efforts nullifying Obamacare in the 2013 state legislative session. Rep. Allison Littell McHose introduced A861 in the New Jersey legislature in January, and it will carry over into the coming year.
“Americans were always misguided to trust the good intentions of the unelected Court – the Court being the fail-safe of the establishment,” McHose said after the SCOTUS ruling last June.
The Tenth Amendment Center has also confirmed both the Oklahoma and Maine legislatures will consider a similar bill for 2013. Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) plans to reintroduce a bill to nullify the federal health care legislation.
“I disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling and believe that state governments were intended to serve as a check on the federal government,” Ritze said. “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which is better known as ObamaCare, is an example of federal overreach, and my legislation will authorize the state to resist it and ban the enforcement of it.”
Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center indicate that up to twelve other states will likely consider similar legislation in the coming year.
Historically-speaking, South Carolina and nullification have a long tradition together, although the common understanding of how that played out is usually quite off base.
South Carolina used nullification with some significant success against the “Tariff of Abominations” of 1828 and 1832. From a previous article on the subject:
After nullifying the so-called Tariff of Abominations in late 1832, the citizens of South Carolina began making serious preparations to defend themselves with deadly force against any attempt by federal agents to collect the hated tax. What followed was a tense standoff between President Jackson and a relatively small group of determined citizens, that could easily have resulted in secession or war.
But those citizens refused to be intimidated by Jackson’s repeated threats of violence, and they certainly didn’t surrender to warships in Charleston Harbor.
As Wikipedia admits, it was not until the end of February 1833, when “both a Force Bill, authorizing the President to use military force against South Carolina, and a new negotiated tariff satisfactory to South Carolina [emphasis added] were passed by Congress,” that “the South Carolina convention reconvened and repealed its Nullification Ordinance.” From that point on, right up until the War Between the States, the tariff rate declined steadily.
In other words, after putting the federal government on notice that they were prepared to defend their sovereignty, with force if necessary, the people of South Carolina agreed to abide by a new “negotiated tariff,” that they felt was fair, rather than fight a war or leave the Union; neither of which they wanted to do in the first place. A clear victory for nullification, and for peace.
In fact, the entire episode is more or less a perfect demonstration of how robust federalism and divided power once protected liberty within our voluntary Union, by keeping the ambitions of the central government in check.
The other historical error that many people make regarding South Carolina and Nullification is that state’s secession in the 19th Century. Clarification arrives in the form of the important historical document called the “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union”
It was presented by South Carolina in December 1860 to explain their reasons for secession. Here’s why – in their own words:
The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them [emphasis added]
What does this mean? Simple, really. South Carolina was protesting the fact that Northern States were using nullification to effectively stop the enforcement of federalized laws protecting the institution of slavery.
The federal government has continuously gone beyond the bounds limited by the Constitution throughout U.S. history. Today, South Carolina is setting out to nullify and get things on the right path. Chumley’s legislation, if passed, would be a big step in the right direction. It states, in part:
The assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” interferes with the right of the people of South Carolina to regulate health care as they see fit, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined,” while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.
Nullification works. Representative William Chumley’s bill, The South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act, needs to get on the floor for debate and it needs co-sponsors. Grassroots action will be essential for its success.
South Carolinians, act NOW. (get active on Facebook HERE)
1. Get contact info for your state reps. Click HERE for contact information.
2. CALL them. Best option – respectfully, yet firmly – urge them to pass this bill. Let them know that you want them to stand up for the Constitution of the United States AND the Constitution of South Carolina – they took an oath to both. And, to please co-sponsor this bill.
3. EMAIL them – even if call, you can still email too. Or just email. A courteous, strong and firm email – urging them to support this bill.
4. Report Back – when you get responses, let us know! We want people to be informed of what their reps are saying and doing.
Act now to reject Obamacare in your state.
1. Use this model legislation:
2. Let us know you’d like to get involved:
NOTE: Mike Maharrey and Michael Boldin contributed to this report.
I’m originally from Ohio. I’m a veteran of the US Navy. I graduated from undergrad with two degrees and one in graduate school. My current home is Nashville, TN.