If the word “nullification” is not used in a bill that effectively renders ineffective the PPACA (Obamacare), is it still nulllification?

South Carolina state Senator Tom Davis is proposing an amendment to H3101, SOUTH CAROLINA FREEDOM OF HEALTH CARE PROTECTION ACT, that would cut off all federal funding for Obamacare, including Medicaid expansion. It might not say “nullification”, but it is difficult to see how Obamacare could be implemented in the Palmetto State with H3101 the law in South Carolina.

No penalties for the feds are included. Instead, the strategy relies on non-cooperation, part of the blueprint James Madison gave us in Federalist 46. The bill blocks personnel and agents of the state from participating in implementation, or cooperating with HHS. This puts Obamacare in the ‘impossible’ category. HHS doesn’t have the staff or resource to do this,especially if multiple states follow the same strategy, something that seems likely. The feds only have the money (printed by Yellen, but that’s a different story) to fund it.

The Davis amendment stops state cooperation. It stops the federal dollars. That stops Obamacare.


South Carolina, coincidentally, had a rather high profile situation 154 years ago.  John C. Calhoun narrowly defined nullification as criminalizing federal action. That is a very extreme form of nullification. It was only partially successful then, and wouldn’t likely work now. Nor is it necessary.

Nullification is any act or set of actions that render a federal law null, void or simply unenforceable in a state. Actions to accomplish nullification cover a wide spectrum. It can take the form of slapping slave catchers with kidnapping charges, or simply refusing to allow state jails to be used to house accused fugitive slaves. It could consist of penalizing federal agents trying to indefinitely detain somebody, or it could simply be ignoring federal marijuana laws. At the opposite end of the nullification spectrum sits a 6-year-old nullifying his mom’s decision to serve broccoli for dinner. Somewhere in the middle, South Carolina has the opportunity to follow the example set by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Simply refuse to cooperate, and refuse to take their money. American history has shown, time and again, that this simple non-aggressive nullification works. Every time.

The Davis amendment stops a bully, defends our right to choose our own way, and protect human dignity that comes with the exercise of our God-given free will.

Scott Martin

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