uneducated extremists

Perhaps Governor Nathan Deal and his insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, have as their heroes the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.

History recalls all of these prominent figures hell-bent on insisting that their individual states could “nullify” acts of Congress, and not pay attention to the laws of the United States. They saw nullification as a remedy when they felt the Federal Government as reaching too far and absorbing the powers of the individual states.

Nathan-and-Ralph
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (left) with Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens

For that’ s exactly what the governor and insurance commissioner are up to these days, defying the law of the land when it comes to Obamacare. The new law goes into effect on October 1.

Yet you remember a similar medical care program that was enacted at the behest of Milt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts. You wonder would fellow-travelers Deal and Hudgens be so insistent on blocking national Medicare for all peoples if this had been passed by a Romney president, and therefore known as “Romneycare.” Remember, too, that it was none other than Newt Gingrich that pushed the idea of a national health care act. Gingrich was quoted on that Massachusetts health care legislation: “We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans.”

Today Governor Deal and Insurance Commissioner Hudgens are virtually standing at the Capitol doors saying, “No not one” Georgian will benefit from the national health law, when it is sorely needed by many families. In effect, these two Georgians are acting against what could be of tremendous benefit to many thousand Georgians, give them better health care, and save them enormously in monies.

But no, the two persist. And meanwhile Georgians suffer.

The idea that a state can impose “Nullification” and ignore the law, has been around since our country was founded. Time and time again, there have been major rulings against such a measure but nullification somehow remains alive. By the way, one dictionary defines “nullification” as “the action of a state impeding or attempting to prevent the operation and enforcement within its territory of a law of the United States.” Note the words “impeding or attempting to prevent” some action. It doesn’t work. The Constitution is the law of the land, and every state must abide by its provisions.

Yet nullification remains some peoples’ hope. The South Carolina legislature agreed by passing the Ordinance of Nullification in 1832, threatening to secede if the federal government forced collection of the 1828 tariff duties. President Andrew Jackson asserted the supremacy of the federal government, and the U.S. Congress passed a compromise tariff bill reducing the duties but also passed the Force Bill, which authorized federal enforcement of the law. The South Carolina legislature rescinded its ordinance, but the conflict highlighted the danger of nullification.

Even today, people continue to usurp the Constitution via nullification. Just this week, Missouri Republicans sought to make federal gun regulations unenforceable, and failed to override a Democratic veto. It was essentially nullification all over again.

In recent years, the Far Right wing, the uneducated, and extremists, have jumped on nullification in three areas: gun control, health care and driver’s license standards. But efforts to impose “nullification doctrine” continue to get overruled. Some people just do not understand what a duly-enacted law of the land means, just because they don’t like it.

That apparently includes Nathan Deal and Ralph Hudgens.

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This article originally appeared at Gwinnett Forum. Photo: Composite image created for LikeTheDew.com from public domain sources.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.