Slate: The New Frontier in Anti-Obamacare Challenges: Interstate Compacts

At today’s final American Legislative Executive Council meetings — semi-annual sit-downs for conservative legislators — a number of experts pushed the concept of Interstate Compacts. It was, for most observers, a brand new idea. Diana Reimer, a Pennsylvania Tea Party activist who was attending the sessions this week, told me it was the most interesting new idea she’d heard.

So what is the idea? Several states — Arizona, Virginia, etc — have already passed Health Care Freedom laws that prohibit the states from complying in the health care mandate. According to Nick Dranias of the Goldwater Institute, that opens the door for states to form compacts that would supersede federal regulation.

“Take that existing framework,” Dranias suggested to a room of state legislators this morning. “Make any violation by anyone of those rights a criminal offense, pair up with a state that thinks like you on the same topics, make sure they criminalize any violation of those rights, and reach a compact. Lodge it with Congress. And then bring on the fight when the IRS comes in and tries to penalize people for not following the individual mandate.”

More here.

The idea of an Interstate Compact is also discussed in this Federalist Society Video, at around 55 minutes.

Two papers by that speaker are

Article I, section X of the U.S. Constitution says,

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

Therfore, with the Consent of Congress, a state may enter into a Compact with another state.  Can it also be said that if the Congress declines to object, than its consent is implied?

When people attempt to go on a diet, start an exercise regime or quit smoking, we often elicit support from a friend who joins us in the effort.  Similarly, although a state can nullify a federal law by itself, additional participation in an Interstate Compact may strengthen the states’ resolve to maintain the resistance.

cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center

Steve Palmer

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