South Carolina Lawmaker Proposes Bill To Make It Illegal To Implement ObamaCare
One South Carolina State Legislator apparently thinks he has a silver bullet against the Affordable Care Act:
Nullification is yet again picking up steam in Dixie.
Pursuing an archaic legal theory that punctuated pre-Civil War disputes between the federal government and states, South Carolina state Rep. Bill Chumley last week pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would criminalize implementation of President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform law.
If his bill becomes law, any state official caught enforcing the healthcare law would be guilty of a misdemeanor and “must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
Federal officials caught enforcing the law, however, would be given stiffer punishment under the proposal.
Any federal employee or contractor enforcing the law “is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both,” the bill proposes.
“I think we’re within our rights to do this,” Chumley explained toU.S. News. “It’s an obligation, I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect the people.”
Article VI of the Constitution makes the Constitution the “supreme Law of the Land.” In 1803, Chief Justice Marshall, speaking for a unanimous Court, referring to the Constitution as “the fundamental and paramount law of the nation,” declared in the notable case of Marbury v. Madison, 1 Cranch 137, 177, that “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.” This decision declared the basic principle that the federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution, and that principle has ever since been respected by this Court and the Country as a permanent and indispensable feature of our constitutional system. It follows that the interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment enunciated by this Court in the Brown case is the supreme law of the land, and Art. VI of the Constitution makes it of binding effect on the States “any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” Every state legislator and executive and judicial officer is solemnly committed by oath taken pursuant to Art. VI, cl. 3, “to support this Constitution.” Chief Justice Taney, speaking for a unanimous Court in 1859, said that this requirement reflected the framers’ “anxiety to preserve it [the Constitution] in full force, in all its powers, and to guard against resistance to or evasion of its authority, on the part of a State . . . .” Ableman v. Booth, 21 How. 506, 524.
No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it. Chief Justice Marshall spoke for a unanimous Court in saying that: “If the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery . . . .” United States v. Peters, 5 Cranch 115, 136. A Governor who asserts a [358 U.S. 1, 19] power to nullify a federal court order is similarly restrained. If he had such power, said Chief Justice Hughes, in 1932, also for a unanimous Court, “it is manifest that the fiat of a state Governor, and not the Constitution of the United States, would be the supreme law of the land; that the restrictions of the Federal Constitution upon the exercise of state power would be but impotent phrases . . . .” Sterling v. Constantin, 287 U.S. 378, 397 -398.
At this point, it’s unclear if there’s anyone who actually supports this thing beyond the legislator who proposed it and, apparently, a State Senator who apparently agreed to co-sponsor the measure in the State Senate. So, we’re likely talking about one of the tens of thousands of bills introduced every year in state legislatures that never see the light of day. Nonetheless, one wonders when the stupid stuff like this will come to an end.
If by some chance this bill did pass both Houses of the South Carolina Legislature and get signed into law, though, there’s absolutely no question that it would be considered unconstitutional, and South Carolina would be a laughingstock.
H/T: Balloon Juice