by Michael Boldin

In response to what some opponents see as a Congress that doesn’t represent their interests, State Legislators are looking to the nearly forgotten American political tradition of nullification as a way to reject any potential national health care program that may be coming from Washington.

Many opponents of national health care say that it’s unconstitutional, and that the 10th Amendment reserves such power to the States, or the People themselves.

In 2010, residents of Arizona will be voting on a State Constitutional Amendment that would let them effectively opt out of any proposed national health care plan.  And in July, a similar proposal was introduced in Florida.

Today, a group of Georgia State Senators announced a plan to introduce a State Constitutional Amendment “Giving Georgians the right to choose whether they want to enroll in any health insurance plan and prohibiting governments from punishing those who decide not to participate.”

Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center say that more than ten other states may see such proposals introduced in the coming legislative session.


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 the state is concerned.

Recent nullification efforts have seen success.  In early 2007, Maine and then Utah passed resolutions refusing to implement the Bush-era Real ID act on grounds that the law was unconstitutional.  Well over a dozen other states followed suit in passing legislation opposing Real ID.   And, thirteen states now have medical marijuana laws that are in direct opposition to federal laws, which consider the plant illegal in virtually all circumstances.

Recognizing the potentially overwhelming task of enforcing a law in the face of such broad resistance, the Obama administration recently announced that it would not only stop federal marijuana raids in those 13 states, but also, that it was looking to “repeal and replace” Real ID.

Some consider this to be a blueprint to resist various federal laws that they see as outside the scope of the Constitution.  Some say that each successful state-level resistance to federal programs will only embolden others to try the same – resulting in an eventual shift of power from the federal government to the States and the People themselves.

Let the People Decide

George Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, in an interview with the Atlanta Business Chronicle said, “Proposals to deny or limit access to the purchase of private health care are simply unacceptable. Our basic freedoms are at risk with the government-run health care proposals coming out of Washington.”

Supporters say that the best way to deal with important issues like health care coverage is on a state level, and that the voice of the people in each state should be heard.  In November, 2010, Georgia voters may get that chance.

Copyright © 2009 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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