What about Interstate Compacts? A frank look at the problems

In recent months, there has been interest in states forming compacts with each other to opt out of ObamaCare or other federal programs.  The idea is that because such compacts have the effect of federal law, they will supersede earlier federal laws (such as ObamaCare).

The strategy is apparently being driven by one or more enthusiastic financiers.  But I’d like to offer a few words of caution—not just as a constitutional/legal scholar but also as a former businessman and successful political activist.

Although the compact strategy is not a complete waste of time (see below), ultimately I think it is less cost-effective than other state “push-back” methods, such as local health care freedom laws, coordinated legal challenges, and (especially) applying for an Article V amendments convention.

Why so?  Well, let’s begin with the Constitution—Article I, Section 10:

“No State shall, without the Consent of Congress . . . enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State. . . . ”

As this section says directly, the states can negotiate all they want, but nothing is effective unless Congress approves.  Now what do you think the chances are of Congress approving states opting out of Congress’s own laws?

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PA Tenth Amendment Legislation Status – May 14

Update – May 15, 2011: Fixed incorrect status and link to SB9 instead of SR9.  Sorry for the confusion.

The list below contains the Tenth Amendment related legislation which we are currently tracking in the Pennsylvania legislature.  This week’s updates include:

  • SB3 reported favorably out of committee and are up for “second consideration”.*
  • SB354 – received a COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY committee hearing on May 11 (audio & video here).
  • SB1003 was added to the list of items we’re tracking.

If you become aware of any additional Tenth Amendment legislative activity, please let us know.

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