What if Washington made a law and nobody paid attention? Or even more significantly, what if states specifically repudiated it and threatened to prosecute those enforcing it?
The questions no longer are rhetorical but a real option as eight states consider a blanket nullification of the Obamacare nationalization of health-care decision-making advances in their legislatures.
"Thomas Jefferson advised, 'Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers ... a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy,'" states the Tenth Amendment Center, which advocates a return to the constitutionally delegated powers for the federal government.
"When states pass laws to reject and nullify unconstitutional federal 'laws,' regulations and mandates – it's not rebellion ... it's duty," the organization states.
States already have been moving forward aggressively on several issues, with eight approving firearms freedom acts that reject some federal gun laws, 15 actively defying Washington on cannabis laws and seven passing acts that reject health-care mandates.
Now, however, they are moving a step beyond, according to center founder Michael Boldin.
He told WND today that seven states have introduced acts to nullify the federal health-care reform – including New Hampshire, Maine, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming. A similar proposal is expected to be filed in Idaho within a matter of days.
It's another, and very important, field on which states can battle federal demands of their citizens, he said.
Obamacare already has been repealed in the U.S. House, where the vote was 245-189, which included three Democrats backing repeal. While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised to prevent the issue from coming up for discussion, Republicans say they will work on getting the Senate, which has a slight Democrat majority, to discuss the issue.
It was during House debate that Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., likened Republicans to the Nazis of World War II for trying to repeal Obamacare.
Boldin told WND that the idea that states would reject a Washington demand is not radical, it's reasonable. He said what's radical is "the idea that the federal government can be the final arbiter of the extent of its own powers."
Obamacare also is under fire in the federal court system, where one judge already has declared it unconstitutional even though two others, both Democrats, have affirmed it. Twenty-six states have joined in one particular challenge. But Boldin said the problem with that effort is that ultimately the outcome could rest on a decision from nine black-robed lawyers, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, who are Washington insiders.
To that hope, Boldin said, he had two words: Elena Kagan.
One of Obama's two appointees to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kagan expressed radical ideas during her confirmation hearings before the U.S. Senate but was approved by the Democrat-dominated body. Virtually no one expects she would rule against Obama, the man who appointed her to a lifetime position on the court.
"If the federales rule this [Obamacare] is unconstitutional, it's good," Boldin said. "But it has not solved the essential question ... the most important question in any society, is when the federal government violates the Constitution, what do we do about it?
"Do we wait for the Supreme Court to tell us to be free?" he said. "These nine unelected lawyers are not the determination of what the Constitution is. We the people are."
He cited President Andrew Jackson's opinion of the Supreme Court and its power: "'The Supreme Court has their opinion. Now let them come and enforce it."
The center reported that the states considering nullification of Obamacare are calling for penalties, including fines and jail time, for any agent seeking to enforce the federal provisions.
"It's really pretty simple," according to center communications director Mike Maharrey, "It's nothing more than states saying 'no' to unconstitutional acts.
"It sounds radical and extreme to a lot of people, but it was a concept articulated by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson just a few years after ratification of the Constitution. We can't depend on the feds to limit their own power. The states have a right and duty to interpose on behalf of their citizens."
The states' attempt to nullify Obamacare "is a sign to us that people will no longer just go to the federal government to solve problems created by the federal government. Instead, they seek to follow Thomas Jefferson's advice – when the federal government exercises undelegated powers – 'a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy,'" he said.
In Texas, the legislation is being led by Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler.
The measure would not only nullify the federal requirements but would include penalties of up to $5,000 in fines and up to five years in jail for anyone guilty of the "felony" of attempting "to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation" of Obamacare.
The bill says the federal act:
(1) is invalid in this state;
(2) is not recognized by this state;
(3) is specifically rejected by this state; and
(4) is null and void and of no effect in this state.
It provides that "a person who is an official, agent, or employee of the United States or an employee of a corporation providing services to the United States commits an offense if the person enforces or attempts to enforce an act, order, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the United States in violation of this chapter."
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
Even though the odds may be against the proposal becoming law, every time it is considered, a statement is made, Boldin said.
"Whether or not there's any guarantee of getting something passed is no reason to not do what's right," he said. "Champions look at insurmountable odds and take them on with passion, and that's what 'We the People' need to do in defense of our liberty."