Nullification in North Dakota? That’s just what could be coming if Governor Jack Dalrymple signs Senate Bill 2309 (SB2309). This week, the bill passed the senate by a vote of 32-15 and the house by a vote of 69-24.
The bill, just one page of legislative language, states:
1. The legislative assembly declares that the federal laws known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [Pub. L. 111 – 148] and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 [Pub. L. 111 – 152] likely are not authorized by the United States Constitution and may violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers.
2. The legislative assembly shall consider enacting any measure necessary to prevent the enforcement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 within this state.
3. No provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 may interfere with an individual’s choice of a medical or insurance provider except as otherwise provided by the laws of this state.
Nullification – any act or series of acts which results in a particular federal law being rendered null and void, or unenforceable, within a state, is what Thomas Jefferson referred to as “the rightful remedy” to unconstitutional acts by the federal government.
Implied in any nullification legislation is enforcement of the state law. 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