From Ray McBerry, founder of Tenth Amendment Solutions and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate:
Is the States’ Court Case Against Obama Healthcare Really a use of States’ Rights?
Much has been made in the news over the last few weeks about the pending lawsuit in the federal courts that has been filed by a number of the states in an attempt to have Obama Healthcare ruled unconstitutional. It has been touted by politicians and media talking heads alike as an instance of “States’ Rights” being used. But is it really an example of “States’ Rights” ?
Political candidates in many of the states involved in the case have played the recently popular “States’ Rights” card in their campaigns, trying to win support from voters, by saying that their support for the current lawsuit is proof of their support for “States’ Rights.” And, being totally ignorant of the actual meaning of States’ Rights thanks to our system of government education in America, the average voter believes what he or she hears in politics.
The term “States’ Rights” includes a number of different mechanisms which can be employed by the states to stop unconstitutional federal actions in defense of their sovereignty. The term refers to the “right” of the states to “overrule” or “defy” federal actions because the states have the right to determine the constitutionality of federal actions; hence “States’ Rights” actions occur when one or more of the states openly defy a federal action, in spite of federal rulings.
States asking the federal courts to rule an act of Congress to be unconstitutional is an example of the use of the “separation of powers” of the different branches of the federal government, and it may be a wise course of action as a prelude to the use of States’ Rights; but it is NOT an example of the use of States’ Rights. Anytime that a federal entity is ruling on the constitutionality of an act of a federal entity, it is NOT an act of “States’ Rights.”
If and when the federal courts refuse to rule Obama Healthcare unconstitutional, the states will then have the opportunity to exercise States’ Rights in defense of our liberties by openly defying the act and using nullification and interposition to prevent it from taking effect in each state willing to take that stand.
Submitting the decision to a federal court, however, is NOT an example of States’ Rights; and the continued error of referring to it as a “States’ Rights” action is only setting the public up for an excuse by state politicians to tell their constituents, “Well, we tried States’ Rights; and it didn’t work.” There is a very grave danger in allowing this case in federal courts to be called “States’ Rights.”
What we should be demanding of our elected state officials in every state is that they proceed with the court case; but if and when the federal courts refuse to strike down the healthcare act in its totality, our officials should be prepared to enact bills of nullification and use the right of interposition to prevent it in defiance of the ruling by the federal court. That, ultimately, is the true sense of “States’ Rights” and is what will be required if the states intend to stop this and a myriad of other unconstitutional federal encroachments upon our liberties.
Ray McBerry, President & Founder
Tenth Amendment Solutions
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I was a big supporter of McBerry while he was campaigning for the Georgia Republican nomination for governor in Georgia. I’m no expert, but I’d be willing to bet that most of the states will not actually exercise real interposition and nullification if it comes to it, that is, if they don’t win in court.
So your state passes a law that says you don’t have to submit to health insurance mandates: what is your state really going to do to protect you from IRS wage garnishment or asset seizure if you fail to pay the fines? The only way I can see a state actually interposing between the feds and its citizens is through laws that actually have penalties for federal law enforcement officers who attempt to enforce the laws that the state is supposedly trying to protect its citizens against.