With the passage of National Health Care, full of “Cornhusker Kickbacks” and unfunded mandates, looming large on the horizon, many states’ Attorneys General have begun to challenge the constitutionality of “Obamacare”. But on what grounds? Unfortunately not on the grounds that they should be. They merely claim that the “kickbacks” to ensure passage are unconstitutional, but their focus should lie on the constitutionality of the bill itself. Is Health Care a good or a right? That is where the question lies, and when you answer that, then it becomes clear why State Legislatures must act… and many have begun to do just that.
And now we can add Ohio to that list with the introduction of the Ohio Health Care Freedom Acts in both the Ohio State Senate (SJR-7) and the Ohio House of Representatives (HJR-3). Nullification, state-level resistance to unconstitutional federal laws, has a long-standing tradition in the united States. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as that state is concerned.
Ohio Freedom Alliance education director Jason Rink interviews Harold Thomas of the blog The Ohio Republic. In this final part of a four part series on state sovereignty, Jason and Harold discuss the origins of nullification and secession.
Ohio Freedom Alliance education director Jason Rink interviews Harold Thomas of the blog The Ohio Republic. In this third part of a four part series on state sovereignty, Harold and Jason talk about the constitution and the courts.
Ohio Freedom Alliance education director Jason Rink interviews Harold Thomas of the blog The Ohio Republic. In this second part of a four part series on state sovereignty, Harold and Jason talk about the concept of federalism vs. nationalism.
Ohio Freedom Alliance Education Director Jason Rink interviews Harold Thomas of the blog The Ohio Republic. In this first part of a 4 part series on state sovereignty, Harold gives an introduction to the concept of state sovereignty, and why it is important.
“The several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government.” –Thomas Jefferson
For the past few days, I’ve received loads of emails urging me to get active regarding the healthcare vote – most of which had a subject line similar to: “Last Chance to Stop National Healthcare!”
Well, if you believe the only way to protect your rights is by begging federal politicians to do what you want, then these emails are certainly right. The vote went as expected, and so will the next.
So if you think marching on D.C. or calling your Representatives, or threating to “throw the bums out” in 2010 or 2012 or 20-whatever, is going to further the cause of the Constitution and your liberty – you might as well get your shackles on now. Your last chance has come and gone.
But, those of you who visit this site regularly already know that the Senate’s health care vote is far from the end of things – and you also know that even when it goes into effect (which I assume some version will), it’s still not the end of the road for your freedom.
The real way to resist DC is not by begging politicians and judges in Washington to allow us to exercise our rights…it’s to exercise our rights whether they want to give us “permission” to or not.
Nullification – state-level resistance to unconstitutional federal laws – is the way forward.
When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as that state is concerned.
It’s peaceful, effective, and has a long history in the American tradition. It’s been invoked in support of free speech, in opposition to war and fugitive slave laws, and more. Read more on this history here.
Regarding nullification and health care, there’s already a growing movement right now. Led by Arizona, voters in a number of states may get a chance to approve State Constitutional Amendments in 2010 that would effectively ban national health care in their states. Our sources here at the Tenth Amendment Center indicate to us that we should expect to see 20-25 states consider such legislation in 2010.
20 States resisting DC can do what calling, marching, yelling, faxing, and emailing has almost never done. Stop the feds dead in their tracks.
While the Obama administration would like to revive it under a different name, the reality is still there – with massive state-level resistance, the federal government can be pushed back inside its constitutional box. Issue by issue, law by law, the best way to change the federal government is by resisting it on a state level.
That’s nullification at work.
Over the years, wise men and women warned us that the Constitution would never enforce itself. The time is long overdue for people to start recognizing this fact, and bring that enforcement closer to home.
The bottom line? If you want to make real change; if you want to really do something for liberty and for the Constitution…focus on local activism and your state governments.
Thomas Jefferson would be proud!
Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center
I have often required my students on the first day or two of class to use the Oxford English Dictionary and define the following words: nation and state. Most do not follow my directions and submit a modern Webster’s or online distortion of the word, and those who use the Oxford often fail to provide the etymology of either word. I can’t fault them for that, because they have probably been taught since first grade in the public “school” system to submit the first definition they find. Thus, the common results of the activity are similar to the following:
Nation – noun: a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own. (from dictionary.com)
State – noun: the territory, or one of the territories, of a government. (from dictionary.com)
How profound, statist…and completely absurd! If both are true, than the United States should simply be the “United State.” A state is simply a “territory…of a government”? A nation is simply a large body of people that occupy a territory? That would be news to the founding generation. Of course, a careful reading of the history of both words could correct this mess and place the Union of the States within its proper historical context.
A source close to the House Democratic leadership has advised us that there are no current plans to hold additional hearings for the Ohio state sovereignty resolutions (HCR11 and SCR13). The source gives two reasons:
First, President Barack Obama issued an official memo affirming the state-federal partnership in May of this year. In his statement, the President recognized the role individual states play in our bureaucratic system. He believes it is important to maintain a balance of power between the states and the federal government. His comments reinforce the role of state laws in the federal system, while discouraging future agency preemptions of state laws without a sound legal basis to do so. This ruling by the Obama administration can be reviewed in its entirety here.
Note, however, that the memo was issued as a press release, which would not have the authority of an Executive Order.
The second reason is that House Speaker Armond Budish (D-Beachwood) believes that during this time of economic hardship, we should be focusing our efforts on job creation, economic development, healthcare and education. He does not support putting forth symbolic resolutions to the Federal Government on any subject. Speaker Budish believes that, since House Concurrent Resolutions do not become law he does not support the concept of resolutions.
The second reason would be more persuasive if we were, in fact, seeing some substantial work from the House of Representatives on job creation, economic development, healthcare, and education. In reviewing the Status Report of Legislation as of Oct. 30, I found 20 bills that were reported out of committee or passed by the House in September and October. Of those, I could identify six that dealt with these subjects.*
Some of the bills considered in the last two months include creation of Prince Hall Freemason license plates, a regulation for contract carriers transporting railroad employees, a state tax exemption for retirees of NOAA and the Public Health Service (both Federal agencies), designating I-680 the Korean War Veterans’ Memorial Highway, revised education and experience requirements for county sheriff candidates, a bill defining instant bingo ticket dispensers for charitable use. and one authorizing a Dec. 10 special election for municipal tax levies.
A few did deal with such important subjects such as penalties for harming judges, reforms to divorce and domestic violence law, and general regulatory reform; but please don’t tell us that the House is focusing on job creation, economic development, healthcare, and education.
Obviously, standing up for the freedom of Ohioans clearly is not a priority — an omission for which House Democrats should be held accountable next year.
Introduced in the Ohio House on October 20, 2009, the “Firearms Freedom Act” (HB-315) seeks “To enact section 2923.26 of the Revised Code to provide that ammunition, firearms, and firearm accessories that are manufactured and remain in Ohio are not subject to federal laws and regulations derived under Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce and to require the words “Made in Ohio” be stamped on a central metallic part of any firearm manufactured and sold in Ohio.”
The bill was authored by State Representatives Morgan and Martin, and currently has 15 other co-sponsors. (h/t BuckeyeFirearms.org)
While the HB315’s title focuses on federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendment’s limit on the power of the federal government. It specifically states:
The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. The congress of the United States has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition. Keep reading →
While there is still plenty of work to be done with the State Sovereignty Resolutions (SCR-13 and HCR-11) here in Ohio, could Health Care Freedom be the next step? As Andrew Napolitano rightly points out in the video below, the Sovereignty Resolutions merely state the obvious. Ohio is a free and sovereign State under the Tenth Amendment. But, if we as Ohioans, reject on its face, any attempt by the Federal Government to mandate Health Care… well now we’re getting somewhere! Recently introduced SJR-7 does just that. If you’d like to contact your State Senators and urge their support of SJR-7, you can do so using SLAM here.
SLAM is the State Liberty Action Mailer. Login to SLAM to easily contact your Ohio State Representatives and Senators to support or oppose important legislation in Ohio, including the Ohio Sovereignty Resolutions, SCR-13 and HCR-11.