People ask me all the time to explain nullification. You hear people go off on historical events about the Fugitive Slave Law, Tariffs of 1828, and other items that mean absolutely nothing to the average person today. Others still will tell you that nullification is an act of racism, since Martin Luther King, Jr. (the greatest American of the 20th Century in my opinion) put it in his great speech, “I Have a Dream.”
Let me cut through all of this historical rubbish and explain nullification to the common man. Nullification is simple, it is a state telling the federal government no! Many of you are aware that the federal government (in Washington D.C.) and the state government (in Austin) are separate governments. The federal government is in charge of certain things, while the state is in charge of other things. When this balance of power is called into question many things can happen.
Think about our two major governments as a marriage. The federal government is one spouse the state is the other spouse. When a spouse crosses a line many things can happen. The other spouse may simply tell them to stop, explain what they did so they will understand the line they crossed better. The other spouse can be hurt and bitter causing a fight. The other spouse can file for divorce, and just walk away.
The marriage analogy is easy to understand, any relationship has its struggles. The choices that are made define the relationship. So let’s bring it back to politics. The federal government does something that is out of line (Obamacare). The state can react in many ways. The state can tell them what they did was bad and wrong, fight them, or leave them. Nullification is the act of telling the federal government what they did was wrong, that the law does not apply to the state, and the federal government ought to now better understand the line that is drawn between the state and federal government.
When you look at the relationship between federal and state government as a relationship between people, you see that nullification is the sensible option to use first in disagreements. So now that we see that nullification is a sensible option, how does it work?
Nullification is just telling them no. The state does this by telling them no in as many possible ways to make sure that they get the message. Here is how Texas ought to do this with Obamacare. (I want to point out that we have to take this one issue at a time, there is no fix all, other than taking back the federal government and making them stop passing so many bad laws.)
First, Texas is to sue the federal government for their overreach. This is being done as we speak, and no major set backs have occurred.
Second, Texas should pass a state law that forbids the carrying out of Obamacare. That has been filed, HB 297.
Third, Texas should amend the State Constitution to state that the federal government cannot control the healthcare in Texas. That is yet to be done.
Fourth, Texas should pass a Healthcare Freedom Act, and I have seen several of those floating around and I am sure that this measure will be done.
With all of those actions Texas can nullify Obamacare, and send a message to the federal government that enough is enough. It takes all four to send this message, anything less and we could be sending a mixed message back to our spouse in Washington.
Be sure to join the Texas Tenth Amendment Center on January 29th, at the Texas State Capital, as we will sending a message to the Texas Government that they better act! We are tired of the talk, and we need our state government to stand up and act on our behalf!
John Stacy [send him email] is the Outreach Director for the Texas Tenth Amendment Center. He is also the founder of the Alliance of Texans Against Government Controlled Healthcare.