Not really.12:36 PM, May 9, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
“South Carolina has passed a bill that criminalizes the implementation of Obama’s health care law reform law,” said HuffPost Live host Jacob Soboroff last week. The claim, from the Huffington Post and others, is that South Carolina is attempting to “nullify” Obamacare. But what the Republican-dominated South Carolina state house passed on May 1 doesn’t really nullify anything--not yet, at least. The legislation is more like a resolution, asserting that the state of South Carolina opposes the unconstitutional parts of Obamacare.
Nevertheless, the Republicans who drafted the bill seemed to have wanted to convey that nullification is exactly what they are doing. Here’s the bill’s introduction:
A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, so as to enact the "South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act" by adding Article 21 to Chapter 71, Title 38 so as to render null and void certain unconstitutional laws enacted by the Congress of the United States taking control over the health insurance industry and mandating that individuals purchase health insurance under threat of penalty; to prohibit certain individuals from enforcing or attempting to enforce such unconstitutional laws; and to establish criminal penalties and civil liability for violating this article.
The the truth is that the enforceable provisions of the bill in its current form don’t render the law "null and void." As Section 2 of the bill reads, “No agency of the State, officer or employee of this State, acting on behalf of the state, may engage in an activity that aids any agency in the enforcement of those provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and any subsequent federal act that amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that exceed the authority of the United States Constitution.”
The problem is, the bill doesn’t specify what parts of Obamacare “exceed the authority” of the Constitution. Instead, it says that the general assembly has “the absolute and sovereign authority to interpose and refuse to enforce the provisions” of Obamacare that exceed Congress’s authority. The bill's chief sponsor, Republican Bill Chumley, says the bill "will do what it says" and allow the general assembly in the future to bar the state of South Carolina from enacting the unconstitutional elements of Obamacare. What elements would those be?
"We're going to take it on a case-by-case basis," Chumley told THE WEEKLY STANDARD, adding that the legislature would possibly have to pass additional laws in order to stop the implementation of Obamacare's unconstitutional provisions. He did not name any specific parts of the federal law that are unconstitutional and said the bill is chiefly defining the state's position on Obamacare.
"Some people have said it sounds more like a resolution," Chumley said.
Of course, nullification of a federal law by a state is illegal under the courts’ interpretation of the Constitution’s supremacy clause. It stands to reason that if South Carolina ever passed such a law, the courts would strike it down. Chumley disagrees with that interpretation, saying that the supremacy of federal law over state law only applies when those federal laws are constitutional.
"Has the Constitution been changed?" Chumley said.
According to the South Carolina Policy Council, a conservative think tank in Columbia, the provision giving “absolute and sovereign authority” to the general assembly would have one important consequence: It would take away from the executive branch the authority to, say, refuse the federal money earmarked for expanding Medicaid under a provision of Obamacare and give that authority exclusively to the legislature. The state’s Republican governor, Nikki Haley, has said she opposes this Medicaid expansion. The GOP also controls both houses of the general assembly.
11:25 PM, May 7, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, has won his old House seat back in a special election to succeed Tim Scott, who was appointed to the U.S. Senate earlier this year. The Associated Press reports:
9:47 AM, May 7, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, the Democratic nominee for the South Carolina First Congressional District special election, is listed twice on today's ballot. Colbert-Busch is also the nominee of the Working Families party.
The special election is today. Here's a screen shot of the ballot those South Carolina voters will see today, courtesy of the South Carolina State Election Commission:
5:01 PM, May 6, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
It's been a roller coaster of a special election in South Carolina's First Congressional District, and about 24 hours before the polls close, the race for the House seat once held by Senator Tim Scott looks to be a close one.
5:25 PM, Mar 20, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina, has cleared the first hurdle in his comeback campaign. He will be in a runoff to determine the Republican candidate for a vacant House seat. He got some 37 percent of the primary vote. Which would have seemed an utterly improbable back in 2009, when he delivered a tearful apology for deceiving his wife about an affair and voters about his whereabouts.
8:40 AM, Jan 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The race to succeed Tim Scott in South Carolina's First Congressional District begins with a new television ad from GOP candidate Teddy Turner, the son of billionaire CNN founder (and proud liberal) Ted Turner.
9:41 AM, Jan 16, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford announced his candidacy for the state's First Congressional District Wednesday. Sanford, who served as that district's House member from 1995 to 2001 and later as governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011, is vying for the Republican nomination to replace former congressman Tim Scott, who was appointed last month to the U.S. Senate.
4:55 PM, Jan 15, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Mark Sanford, the former congressman and governor of South Carolina, will announce he is running for his old House seat Wednesday. Jim Geraghty at National Review confirms the news in an interview with Sanford:
2:37 PM, Jan 14, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Jenny Sanford, the ex-wife of former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, will not run for the Charleston-area open congressional seat in the upcoming special election.
12:34 PM, Jan 11, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, will run for the House of Representatives, sources close to Sanford confirm. He will try to win election to the seat formerly held by Tim Scott.
Sanford, a Republican who held the House seat himself from 1995 to 2001, will announce his intention to run early next week, ahead of the January 18 filing deadline. The special election to succeed Scott, who was appointed to the Senate by Governor Nikki Haley last month, will take place on May 7, with a GOP primary being held on March 19.
6:08 PM, Dec 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The son of mogul Ted Turner, Teddy Turner, announced his intention this evening to run for the House seat being vacated by Tim Scott, who today was appointed to fill the remainder of Jim DeMint's Senate term. The House seat represents part of South Carolina.
Teddy Turner, unlike his liberal father, is a Republican.
Here's the full press release, with the announcement:
12:27 PM, Dec 17, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Tim Scott will be the next U.S. Senator from South Carolina. The first-term Republican congressman from Charleston, who was just elected to a second term, was appointed to the seat being vacated by fellow Republican Jim DeMint. South Carolina governor Nikki Haley made the announcement in Columbia Monday afternoon, flanked by Scott, DeMint, and other members of South Carolina's congressional delegation, including Senator Lindsey Graham.
9:43 AM, Dec 17, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will appoint Republican congressman Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate, the New York Times reports. Haley, the first-term Republican governor, is expected to make an announcement about her selection around noon in Columbia. CNN is also reporting that Scott has been selected.