cross-posted from the New Jersey Tenth Amendment Center
This election year was one of mixed results for the Nullification and Tenth Amendment movement. In some states, initiatives were on the ballots that, in one way or another, sought to remove the federal government from the decision making process on an assortment of issues. Some met with success, while others failed.
Ohioans voted overwhelmingly in favor of Issue 3, which nullifies ObamaCare’s health insurance mandate. While this is only a small part of the health care reform bill, it is a beginning. Hopefully, state legislatures, local governments and the people of their respective states will begin dissecting and nullifying the rest of the 2,000 page monstrosity.
Mississippi’s Personhood initiative (26) failed by a roughly 14 point margin. Had it passed, it would have recognized the unborn as persons from the moment of conception in their state. There was disappointment among Pro-Lifers, particularly Pro-Life Tenthers, that the measure did not pass. I would remind them that the firstTenth Amendment Resolution introduced in New Hampshire in 2009 failed in a vote that was expected to pass, given New Hampshire’s reputation for being very much its own state.
The people of the State of New Jersey re-elected incumbents in almost all the state legislative races. However, perhaps unaware they were nullifying, they voted yes on a non-binding initiative stating New Jersey should pass a law allowing sports betting in Atlantic City. While some would claim the feds have the final say, the first question asked in response should be, “Why?”
A key Democrat in the State Senate and supporter of sports betting, Raymond Lesniak, stated, “New Jersey voters have sent Congress a message that its law which has allowed sports betting in Las Vegas, but not in Atlantic City, is unfair. I’m confident the federal courts will see that injustice as well as the law’s other constitutional infirmities, and overturn it.” Senator Lesniak has planned to introduce legislation on Thursday with the hopes of fast-tracking it to the Governor’s office before the end of the legislative session. Credit where credit is due; without permission from five out of nine individuals in black robes, Senator Lesniak is attempting to nullify federal law! I don’t expect him to get in line to nullify ObamaCare, but when our state and local officials do the right thing, we have to recognize it.
As a New Jerseyan, I would not be surprised if this wound up being one of those rare bills exercising state sovereignty that enjoyed bi-partisan support. If it did, it would join the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act, signed in the last days of Governor Corzine’s administration, and another bill decriminalizing marijuana, A4252, the text of which still has yet to be published on the legislature’s website. Governor Christie is in favor of the measure as well, so it seems it is just a matter of getting a bill to his desk.
I personally voted yes on the measure. I had considered voting no, simply because of the claims that it would “generate revenue for the state,” which typically translate to $1.25 in new spending for every $1.00 in new revenue (that is just a very rough approximation and not meant to be an official figure). However, the Tenther in me said telling the feds “No!” was more important.
Congress told the states that they could legalize sports betting IF they did so before a 1991 federal deadline. How big of them, to tell the states to give a chance to exercise their sovereign rights, as long as they stuck with whatever decision they made by an arbitrary deadline. Congress then left New Jersey out of a 1992 law allowing sports betting in Nevada, Delaware, Oregon and Montana. Not to offend friends, or even strangers, in those four states, but why do they get special treatment?
I am not a fan of sports betting myself, and if New Jersey votes to allow it, some may not agree with that decision. But we New Jerseyans must agree that it is exactly that – OUR decision! Wherever you stand on the issue, contact your State Legislators and let them know. This is our state, one of the original thirteen! Congress would not exist without us, and it is high time we reminded them of that.