Health Care Nullification and Interposition
by Michael Boldin
When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law or regulation, it is passing legally-binding legislation that makes the federal act in question void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.
Current nullification efforts around the U.S. have states passing laws that effectively defy federal laws and regulations on firearms, marijuana, identification cards and more. In 2010, we expect to see similar legislation in response to Health Care, No Child Left Behind, Federalization of the Guard and more.
The most asked question is – once such a law is passed, what next?
In the Virginia Resolution of 1798, James Madison wrote of the principle of interposition:
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
Here Madison asserts what is implied in nullification laws – that state governments not only have the right to resist unconstitutional federal acts, but that, in order to protect liberty, they are “duty bound to interpose” or stand between the federal government and the people of the state.
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