GOP pushes ‘nullification’ of health care overhaul, starting in Idaho

Posted Jan. 26, 2011, at 4:04 p.m.

BOISE, Idaho — Republican lawmakers in nearly a dozen states are reaching into the dusty annals of American history to fight President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

Idaho representatives on Wednesday introduced a measure in committee that hinges on “nullification” — Thomas Jefferson’s 18th century doctrine that purported to give states final say in constitutional matters, instead of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alabama, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming also are weighing its merits.

Some scholars say nullification proponents won’t win, because federal laws are “the supreme law of the land.”

But Idaho GOP Rep. Vito Barbieri says if Congress can tell states what to do with impunity, states “might as well just get rubber stamps.”

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