There is a segment of America that believes that it could!
Thomas Jefferson believed in it's constitutionality. In a famous 1798 Kentucky case he stated, "Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers...a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy."
Thirty years later, the question of nullification arose in South Carolina. The question was, "could a state nullify a protective tariff?" This was 1828. There was a heated debate, harsh words, threat of war and ultimately, a compromise.
The issue of states rights continued to fester and finally exploded with the firing on Fort Sumter in 1861. A bloody war resulted. More Americans were killed in the four years that followed than in all subsequent wars combined!
Many Americans concluded the issue settled, once and for all. Others never did.
Revisionist historians describe the American Civil War as a war to end slavery in America. True, the Emancipation Proclamation was passed as a war measure in 1863. But the real root of the conflict can be traced to states rights and 10th amendment perception. Almost everyone who supported the Confederacy continued to believe that state law was sovereign to federal law. Much of America maintains this standard even today.
Embedded deep in the Southern psyche is the conviction that the South never really lost; that they were merely starved into submission. Children throughout the old Confederacy were told by their parents and grandparents that the "South would rise again." Economic ruin accompanied by a harsh reconstruction did little to vanquish these wistful aspirations.
One hundred years passed. It was now the 1960's and the forced implementation of Brown versus the Board of Education was in motion. The "second reconstruction" was upon America. This time, however, it went north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Everyone was told that that the measure was "in our best interest." Never mind the fact that an overwhelming majority of all races opposed it! In the end, it weakened educational standards in America, while forcing states to spend money that could have been used for education grants, better pay for teachers and better equipment.
Today Brown versus the Board of Education has been overturned. True, some stubborn school districts,dominated by left wing ideologues continue to resist. The fact remains that nullification could have allowed states to come up with their own plan.
Obamacare is another mistake in the pre-natal stages. Like Brown, those who have supported it so vigorously had good intentions. The problem with Obamacare, like Brown is that both initiatives, are at odds with the original America our framers created.
At first glance, Obamacare and Brown versus the Board of Education would bear little if any resemblance. Brown was a 1954 Supreme Court ruling. Obamacare was partisan legislation that made it through the House and Senate,later signed by the President. The connection comes from the idea that the federal government can impose it's will on individual states, forcing their people or governments to spend their money for a project that they may oppose.
These are examples of "the general government assuming undelegated power" that Jefferson referenced when he proposed "Nullification" as the "rightful remedy."
True, the concept of Nullification goes against the grain of modern American thinking. Proponents are typically pigeonholed as "nut cases, racists, right wing fringe elements" or worse! This is the traditional leftist methodology; "to label those in opposition to their way, out-of-step with the times, imbeciles, racists or morons."
This notwithstanding, there are a lot of Americans, including millions north of the Mason-Dixon line, who think that maybe the South got it right! Perhaps Nullification is the best way to deal with a Federal government grown too large and too intrusive!
Could Nullification actually happen? Don't look now, but it IS happening. We are seeing Nullification legislation in a number of states. Chief Justice, John Roberts was scorned by the right when he wrote the majority opinion upholding Obamacare. But the opinion differed from the original legislation in one key way: The federal government cannot withhold Medicaid funding from states as a punitive measure.
Would Barack Obama stand passively aside and allow Texas, Louisiana, Missouri or Idaho to "opt out" of his signature accomplishment. His markedly definant nature coupled with his confrontational demeanor would suggest not. But that may be the wrong question!
This is not 1861. Nor do we live in the age of innocence. We have television. We have cable. We have the internet. Most Americans in Connecticut won't care if Alabama residents choose not to participate in Obamacare! They certainly are not going to take up arms over such a question!
What about Homeland Security or the Military? Somehow, I don't think so. There is something alien about Americans shooting Americans because they preferred not to participate in a program that has so divided the country. More succinctly, those saying "no" to Obamacare would be exercising their constitutional right. Which brings us to the "eye of the storm!"
The United States Military is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, not the President. If Nullification is indeed legal under the constitution as Jefferson said that it was, then the Military cannot act.
Homeland Security is another question. Is this agency considered bound under the same laws as the Military?
Then there are the individual state militias. Assuming the regular armed forces stayed out of it, and Homeland Security was ordered by the Administration to "engage," would not they be a factor? They could be. But, a more likely scenario would amount to those in Homeland Security choosing resignation over engagement.
There have even been suggestions that Obama might seek help from the United Nations if it ever came to an outright rebellion. I wouldn't bank on it! For two simple reasons: (1) More than half of the nation opposes Obamacare and (2) There simply isn't the will in America to implement Obamacare on dissenting states by force.
Opponents of Nullification would be quick to remind that "it wouldn't end with Obamacare." Soon the states would be behaving like small countries and that would never do! Or would it? The founders were not imbeciles or morons! This nation was founded as a Republic. We are the United States of America, not the United American States! Our very motto, "E Pluribus Unum" could not have made it more clear:
"From the many, one."
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