In a flurry of breaking news, conflicting reports initially emerged regarding whether the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was upheld in this morning’s opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court. CNN and other outlets jumped the gun in claiming that the health care mandate was declared unconstitutional, but the truth soon emerged: in a 5-4 decision, the black-robed lawyers claimed that it did in fact pass constitutional muster.
Arguing that Obamacare could simply be considered a series of taxes, Chief Justice Roberts (long a hero of the conservative right) sided with the “liberal” wing of the Court to uphold the entire law. (Thus we see the fatal flaw of placing so much trust and support in a single person, as many conservatives have long done with people like Roberts.)
The hours and days ahead will produce no shortage of hot air, politicking, and media-fueled grandstanding by those who object to the Court’s ruling. The question that the objectors must address is: what now?
As I previously wrote, the Court’s ruling in favor of Obamacare now provides states the opportunity to rediscover and reaffirm their powers. Here’s what I said in March:
If the court upholds the constitutionality of the individual mandate in June, conservatives and libertarians will loudly and justifiably protest the result. This anger, however, will lead many of them to explore alternatives in pursuit of upholding the Constitution and fighting the federal government. In that endeavor, they might soon learn that there are other effective ways to challenge the federal government’s encroachment upon the powers of the people.
The path ahead lies in nullification. States must band together to give the federal government the political equivalent of the middle finger. Resistance must be organized, popularized, and stubbornly implemented as the last, best means of checking the federal government—an institution which historically has not restrained its own powers, as today’s ruling so obviously and alarmingly demonstrates.
Thomas Jefferson once stated that the federal government’s agents should be bound down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. He was right, but too many have come to believe that a few judges, as part of that same government, are the most appropriate and effective means of binding legislators and bureaucurats within that same government.
This is horribly misguided: questions of constitutionality should ultimately be decided by the many, not the few.
Nullification affords that opportunity.
Curious to know more? Brush up on the basics. Buy the book. Support the Tenth Amendment Center which has had success in recent years promoting nullification bills around the country. Organize. Mobilize. Resist.
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