Idaho's had enough:
After leading the nation last year in passing a law to sue the federal government over the health care overhaul, Idaho's Republican-dominated Legislature now plans to use an obscure 18th century doctrine to declare President Barack Obama's signature bill null and void.
I love the "obscure 18th century doctrine" comment that the AP decides to use to characterize an argument that has been at the heart of our political debates over federalism throughout history. And it's not as though Idaho is the only kookie state considering such a move.
As the AP notes, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, as well as the ever-independent Texas are consider the same. But that's not all. Even the wise and prudent liberal states of Oregon and Maine are mulling nullification laws as well.
Based off of the Thomas Jefferson composed "Kentucky Resolution" of 1799 and the Nullification demands made against the "Tariff of Abominations" 30 years later by John C. Calhoun, these states are done messing around with meaningless "resolutions" that have no teeth.
Yes, the skeptics mock:
David Gray Adler, who directs the University of Idaho's McClure Center for Public Policy Research, said nullification proponents ignore the fact that one Supreme Court decision after another has gone against them.
What they seem to be advocating for, he said, is a return to the state sovereignty that existed under the Articles of Confederation - exactly what the Constitution's framers in 1789 sought to replace because it had failed.
"The premise of their position and the reasoning behind it are severely flawed and have no support in our Constitutional architecture," he said.
That analysis isn't exactly sound or intellectually honest. The debate would not have loomed so large over American politics for nearly 230 years if there weren't grounds for the claims. Further, a proper constitutional understanding reveals the states to be the "owners" of the Constitution who have "hired" the federal government to do a job. So who has more power over a business? The owner or the manager?
And doubters might want to consider this possibility:
"There are now 27 states that are in on the lawsuit against Obamacare," [Idaho State Sen. Monty] Pearce said. "What if those 27 states do the same thing we do with nullification? It's a killer."
And what happens if even more are added to their number? Should, say three-fourths of the states enact nullification of this law, what then? Maybe they'll be contented and pacified by a lecture on their Constitution from Mr. Adler.