South Carolina Legislator Wants Laws To Criminalize Implementing Obamacare


Some in South Carolina want to nullify Obamacare.

Pursuing an archaic legal theory that punctuated pre-Civil War disputes between the federal government and states, South Carolina state Rep. Bill Chumley last week pre-filed a bill for the upcoming legislative session that would criminalize implementation of President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform law.

If his bill becomes law, any state official caught enforcing the healthcare law would be guilty of a misdemeanor and “must be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

Federal officials caught enforcing the law, however, would be given stiffer punishment under the proposal.

Any federal employee or contractor enforcing the law “is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both,” the bill proposes.

“I think we’re within our rights to do this,” Chumley explained to U.S. News. “It’s an obligation, I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect the people.”

Nullification is a controversial topic (those interested in it should pick up Tom Woods’ book Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century), and the more historically ignorant commentators will tie the practice to the south’s fight to maintain slavery. But it’s worth remembering that states such as Wisconsin attempted to use nullification to dismiss the Fugitive Slave Act, allowing them to protect runaway slaves in their states.

The idea is that the union is a creation of the states, created by the compact of the Constitution, and that states are not obligated to follow laws which violate the terms of that founding document. Additionally, the states are the final arbiter of what is and is not constitutional, not the federal courts. Which makes sense. More often than not, the Supreme Court as a branch of the federal government is going to side with federal authority over state authority.

This isn’t about secession, this isn’t about provoking another Civil War, though Obamacare supporters will no doubt cast the effort as both because that’s how we talk about politics these days. You don’t merely disagree with the other side. The other side is a bunch of extremists.

Rather, this is about a sovereign US state deciding through the democratic process that a given federal law falls outside of the bounds of the powers they gave the federal government when they ratified the constitution.

Thomas Jefferson believed the states had the right to do that, and for good reason. The federal government ought not be passing laws the states don’t want to follow. And we had a check on that happening once upon the time. It was called the US Senate, whose members were initially appointed by the states. But now that the Senate is popularly elected, rather than representing the state governments, nullification is more important now than ever.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • sbark

    now thats a “progressive” way to fight ObamaCare…….

  • Thresherman

    Naturally the leftist will say that this is forcing a “Constitutional Crisis” when it really is providing a test case on the limits of Federal Authority over the States.

  • brenarlo

    A similar bill was introduced and passed in the ND legislature in 2011… though they took out the punishment for anyone implementing it.

  • Nancy Snead

    states that dont want t9 use obama care r doing the citizens in there states a wrong its evil they dont care about anyone except there evil and vindictive selfs they r just racist evil baboons

    • sbark

      Public Education graduate?

      • camsaure

        Nope probably a new public education teacher…. sadly so.

  • SigFan

    That is going to be one interesting battle to watch. If SC succeeds in this look for quite a few other states to follow suit – and good for them.

    • Bat One

      Look for Georgia to follow suit when the legislature convenes in January.

    • camsaure

      Why should we wait, our state should be right there with them.

  • WOOF

    SCOTUS has on a number of occasions declared nullification ,null and void.
    The South Carolina legislature would like to make Dixie the national anthem, fly the Stars and Bars over the State Capitol building, and be awarded reparations for slaves that were freed.
    President Obama has the option to call out a well regulated militia to enforce the Affordable Care Act .

    • Rob

      The South Carolina legislature would like to make Dixie the national anthem, fly the Stars and Bars over the State Capitol building, and be awarded reparations for slaves that were freed.

      One note song, poodle. We’re talking about health care policy, and you make it about race.

      • Bat One

        WOOF is just whistling “Dixie!”

      • WOOF

        This is about private property, a taking, southern heritage, the Great Cause and the Northern War of Aggression.

    • HG

      What does that tell you Woof? The President could call up a militia to enforce Obamacare? In America? That’s progress?
      You people are looney.

      • WOOF

        Equally looney to the S.C. legislator nullifying ACA. George Washington did call up a militia when people refused to pay their whiskey taxes.

        • HG

          Equal? Are you kidding? Forcing obamacare under threat of death by militia is the same as legislatively resisting obamacare?
          good luck with that.

    • Bat One

      President Obama has the option to call out a well regulated militia to enforce the Affordable Care Act .

      Never happen! Like nearly all liberals, Obama is basically a bully. And beneath every bully’s bluster there lurks a coward. He may have the option, but he doesn’t have the stones!

      • HG

        Hear, hear!

        • WOOF

          Oye, oye, that’s an armed drone your hearing. OB 1 is a killer, make no mistake about that.

          • HG

            I don’t doubt you’d approve of the OB 1 using drones against civilians who resist obamacare. I love it when liberals show their true colors.

  • HG

    Liberals think they can just force free people to do what they want and we will not resist. These control freaks are stomping their feet in frustration over these legal efforts to resist unconstitutional laws. They’ll pitch quite a fit. Keep pushing libs.

    • Guest

      Thanks again for showing the cognitive dissonance of the Republican Party, HorridGas! You conservatives claim not to be control freaks, except for when it comes to what goes on in an individual’s bedroom, whom one can love, or a women’s vagina. It sure is a great day for seeing your ideological bankruptcy!

      • HG

        You’re an idiot. I could care less if you prefer to do the same-sex or if you love the same sex. I could care less what a woman does with her vagina. Try to think outside of your ideological constraints.

  • Guest

    It’s funny how Rob extols how this person is using the “democratic process” (by using the court system, funnily enough, a process usually seen by conservatives as upending democracy through judicial activism) but than explains that this action is important since people, not states, are represented in the Senate (and one would naturally think a body chosen by the people would be the more democratic). Rob’s can’t even be ideologically consistent in one post! What a hack. This action is good because it’s democratic, but it’s also good because it’s not democratic. Derp!

    • HG

      Your stupidity is profound. Legislative actions in a state gov’t has never and is never judicial activism. The two are separate branches, idiot.

  • WOOF

    The SC “law” calls for the imprisonment of
    federal officials implementing Obamacare.
    Do that and federal troops will be in Columbia
    surrounding the state house.

  • LastBestHope

    This is good stuff. It puts the 10th Amendment front and center.
    Let US have this discussion.

  • realitybasedbob

    South Carolina, huh?

    Say, isn’t that the first State to go all treasonous and try to break apart God’s chosen country, America?
    Anyone else notice how Muslimy their flag is?
    What’s going on down in the Palmetto State anyway?
    Why do they hate America?

  • LastBestHope

    Don’t ever doubt the fire that lives in South Carolina. All know they were the hottest of heads in 1860…but did you know they were of the same mind leading up to our Declaration of Independence?

    “South Carolina, ever the firebrand state, acting under the lead of Henry
    Laurens, seized the royal arsenal and munitions of war long before the news of
    Lexington and Concord had reached that colony.

    Some months later, the royal governor withdrew from the colony and John Rutledge was vested by the Colonial Assembly with the power of Governor. Under Rutledge 5000 Carolina militia were enlisted for the defense of that colony. Charleston, its leading seaport, was then one of the most prosperous American cities.

    In June 1776, British commanders Clinton and Parker prepared to reduce it to submission. In the meantime, however, Colonel William Moultrie, with a kind of careless skill, had constructed fortifications of palmetto logs at the southern end of Sullivan’s Island, at the entrance to the harbor of Charleston.

    (Palmetto, for those of you no longer are familiar with our fair state, is a funny looking tree that thrives near the coast with a fuzzy trunk that I always thought of as looking like some kind of palm tree.)

    Here was placed a defending force of about 1200 men, while several hundred men and a battery (cannon) were sent to defend the northern end of the island against a possible landing party.

    Defense of Charleston, 28 June 1776. The British attacked on the morning of 28 June 1776, and bombarded Fort Sullivan (the palmetto log construct described above) from a fleet of war vessels, aided by a landing force of several thousand men under Sir Henry Clinton. The landing party was promptly repulsed by the guns of the battery at the north end of the island.

    The British fleet, however, began a heavy ten hour bombardment. The Americans returned fire causing great damage, while the shots of the British bounced off or sank
    almost harmlessly into the soft spongy, but strong enough, palmetto logs.

    As at Bunker Hill, the patriots had a meager powder supply, but used it to good
    advantage, firing with the cool precision of trained soldiers, and did terrible
    damage to the British ships. The flagship of Admiral Parker was made a wreck, he
    himself was wounded, and only one of the other nine vessels was immediately able
    to put to sea after the battle. No more disastrous defeat of a British armament
    is reported in history.

    In addition to the damage to their ships, the British lost 200 men in the conflict, while the American loss was but 12 killed and 25 wounded. The British ship Aciwon ran aground on the site of present day Fort Sumter and was burned by the the victorious Americans, not, however, before its guns were first redirected at the other British ships. Just as the engagement at Bunker Hill and the evacuation of Boston freed New England from British armies, so the successful defense of Fort Moultrie (so named after the battle, this is the same palmetto log construct) for a period of three years saved South Carolina and the other southern colonies from invasion.

    This first decisive patriot victory preceded the Declaration of Independence but a few days.”

    • realitybasedbob

      Oh yes, all your State’s glorious Swamp Fox history is well known, as is your State’s inglorious descent into treason, which persists today, like a boil on America’s behind.

    • realitybasedbob

      Thank you very much, South Carolina.

    • realitybasedbob

      Mr. Hopey, real Americans want to know, which is the seal of the traitorous state of South Carolina

      • LastBestHope

        I’m busy right now bob. When I have time to waste, I’ll talk to you.

        • realitybasedbob

          Thank you, traitor state supporter.