I recently heard a comment on the radio about this being the year that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) will begin to be implemented. Actually, ObamaCare began to be implemented in 2010 and is not scheduled to reach full implementation until 2018. This is merely the year in which certain of the more egregious aspects of the act begin to be implemented, as the Hobby Lobby case has brought to our attention. That reminder as to the violative nature of this act, combined with the President’s recent call for an assault weapons ban and the 23 executive orders which he signed relating to gun control, has a lot of people wringing their hands and saying “Obama is a dictator – a tyrant – what can we do? How can he be stopped?” It’s as though the ever mounting “Fear of Obama” has grown to such proportions that many now see him as an all-powerful potentate whose edicts cannot be challenged. However, in reality, quite the opposite is true.
Thanks to the wisdom of America’s founders and the separation of powers which they built into our form of government, there is ample opportunity to stop any usurpation by any branch of government at any level. The checks on tyranny are redundant almost to the point of the absurd. For usurpation to succeed in this land, we the people would have to fail ourselves by electing to at least a half dozen different levels of government, servants who either do not understand the simple instructions that we have given to them in the plain text of the U.S. Constitution, or who understand, but hold those instructions in contempt, or who understand, but lack the courage to perform their duty and their sworn oath to uphold the Constitution.
Using ObamaCare as an example, let’s see how many checks against usurpation are built into our system of government.
IS OBAMACARE LAWFUL?
First we must answer the question, “is ObamaCare lawful?” If something is lawful, it is our duty to obey it. If something is unlawful, it is our duty to resist it.
What makes something lawful? Someone waiving a magic wand or saying, “I decree it?” Bills passed or orders issued are not law just because someone says so. Laws, and the legislative bodies that pass them, must derive their authority from a source as all authority works by “chain of command.” A subordinate in a chain of command can never do what his superior has not authorized and have it treated as law.
America’s founders rightly understood the chain of command as beginning with their Creator, the Lord God, ruler of heaven and earth, who delegated to His creation, Man, a certain measure of authority, or rights, as noted in our Declaration of Independence. Man then institutes civil government by the “consent of the governed” (Declaration of Independence), who cede a portion of their God-given authority to the government that they institute. In America, we first delegated a measure of our authority to our respective states, which in turn conferred an even smaller portion of that authority upon the federal government which they created. The U.S. Constitution is the document whereby the states spelled out in detail the exact amount of authority that was being delegated to the federal government with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments reaffirming that “if we didn’t specifically charge the federal government with doing something, then it doesn’t have the power to do it.”
So the answer to our question can be found by simply reading the plain text of the U.S. Constitution and looking for the section on health care – which by the way, doesn’t exist. Thus Congress passing, and the President signing, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has all the legal authority and force of law of a group of children getting together and voting that the moon should be made of cheese. No one delegated them the authority to do it and they don’t have the power. For more on the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare, please see U.S. Congressman Scott Garrett’s “Top Ten Reasons ObamaCare is Unconstitutional” (http://tinyurl.com/b2q98sn) or listen to Walter Williams’ excellent commentary on the topic (http://tinyurl.com/a5z5m4b).
THE CHECKS AGAINST USURPATION
The FIRST place where an illegal, immoral, unconstitutional act like this should have been stopped is in Congress itself. Either the House or the Senate (both Democrat controlled at the time) could have honored the plain text of the Constitution and just said “NO!”
The SECOND place for a bill lacking Constitutional basis to be stopped is the President (Democrat) who has the duty to veto such a bill.
The THIRD place where this usurpation should have been stopped is the U.S. Supreme Court (Republican majority of appointees), which has the duty of announcing to the legislative and executive branches when they have overstepped their bounds by passing a law that is not a law. While the court rightly acknowledged that the federal government lacks the authority to require the citizens of the several states to purchase a product they don’t want, it instead turned around and in an act of blind faith in a taxing power that doesn’t exist, declared that the federal government has the authority to tax people for failing to purchase that same product which they cannot be compelled to purchase. This supposed “Health Care Tax” is neither uniform, apportioned among the states, nor a tax on income and thus fails all three Constitutional requirements for a tax.
That brings us to where we are today. So is there anything left that can be done to stop ObamaCare? The answer is “YES,” there’s plenty.
THE CHECKS ON USURPATION YET AVAILABLE TO US
The FOURTH place that this usurpation can be stopped is in the U.S. House of Representatives (now Republican controlled). It is fully within the Constitutional purview of the House, which holds the purse strings (see U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7, first paragraph), to withhold funding from any and all agencies engaged in the implementation or administration of this unconstitutional act. However, this would require a bold, hard-nosed, “draw a line in the sand” act of defiance by the same Republican controlled House that so far has capitulated to Obama’s every demand for more deficit spending. It’s hard to imagine that they would suddenly find their backbone now, especially after we just rewarded them with reelection.
In the face of a gutless U.S. House that will not exercise any resistance against this egregious violation of our health care freedoms, it falls to state and local government to interpose.
The FIFTH line of defense against usurpation is your state governor (30 states have Republican governors, 19 Democrat, 1 independent). Governors also swear an oath to uphold both their state and the U.S. Constitutions. Several governors are saying that they will not implement ObamaCare in their state. But beware, their “not implementing” ObamaCare is not necessarily the same as protecting you from this federal overreach. Most of the “not implementing” talk is centered around the provision of the act that calls on states to set up a “health exchange” and participate in an expansion of the Medicaid program. While choosing not to implement such provisions would help slow down the implementation of ObamaCare, it doesn’t stop it as the federal government has plans to implement these provisions for the states should states fail to do so.
This “not implementing” is not at all the same as a governor publicly declaring the unconstitutionality of the health care act, declaring the citizens of the state to be free from its requirements, then charging the state police with protecting the citizens of the state from this unconstitutional overreach by arresting any federal agent attempting to enforce its mandates on the residents of the state. This may sound extreme, but I am fully persuaded it is exactly what the framers of the Constitution had in mind, especially when they drafted the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, and is precisely what Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Patrick Henry or others of the venerated founders would do were they a state governor today.
The SIXTH protection, and perhaps the best recourse left to us, is nullification by state legislatures (27 of which are Republican controlled, 17 Democrat, 5 split and Nebraska is non-partisan). Excellent model legislation has already been drafted and only awaits the action of a state legislature with the courage necessary to adopt it. This is not wimpy model legislation that merely opts out of implementing health exchanges or expanding Medicaid. This model legislation not only declares the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act null and void, but calls for the fining or imprisonment of any agent attempting to enforce provisions of ObamaCare in that state. You can read the model legislation for yourself here – http://tinyurl.com/ayl5vsb – then contact your state legislator and implore them to defend your right to health care freedom by sponsoring this legislation. Nearly all of the states have governors and legislative majorities that are of the same party, so if either of the dominant parties actually cares about our Constitutionally-protected rights, then at least 17 to 27 or so of the states could nullify this egregious act tomorrow and stop it dead in its tracks.
This idea of interposition and nullification by states might sound strange to some who are not familiar with it. Please know that it is nothing new, but was actually understood and intended by the same men who gave us our Constitution. Learn more about it at the following links.
- “States can Stop ObamaCare“ by Richard Mack – http://tinyurl.com/agkqn66
- MP3 audio file on “Interposition“ by Dr. Herb Titus – http://tinyurl.com/ayyyhlo
- Video on “Nullification“ by Thomas Woods – http://tinyurl.com/a88t9hq
By the way, there is similar model legislation available for both state and county nullification of federal attempts at gun control. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/9w9lweu.
The SEVENTH and final defense left to us is the County Sheriff. The sheriff is the highest law enforcement official in the land. While the state and federal governments have only the limited authority delegated to them by the state and federal constitutions, the county sheriff receives his authority directly from the citizens who elect him to protect their lives, their liberty and their property from both criminals who violate the law and from any branch of government that oversteps its jurisdictional bounds. For an in-depth look at the authority of the county sheriff to interpose on behalf of his citizens, check out this video by Sheriff Richard Mack https://vimeo.com/28224647.
Though I am not aware of any county sheriffs who are planning to resist the implementation of ObamaCare, 256 sheriffs are currently identified as vowing to “uphold and defend the Constitution against Obama’s unlawful gun control measures” according to an article at http://cspoa.org/sheriffs-gun-rights. While these 256 sheriffs certainly are to be applauded, and supported by the citizens of their counties, there are a total of 3,033 counties in the U.S., leaving us a long way to go before the rights of all Americans are secure.
While I honor those sheriffs who are taking a stand, I must admit that I find it a bit difficult to ask a sheriff to put his neck on the line for a people who have elected a President who ignores the Constitution, U.S. Representatives who won’t stand up for the Constitution, Supreme Court Justices (by appointment of the Presidents that we’ve elected) who twist the meaning of the Constitution, governors who do not interpose to protect our rights and state legislatures without the courage to nullify a blatantly unconstitutional act. When we the people elect such to represent us, what makes us think we deserve a county sheriff who will protect us from the very people that we’ve elected at all the other levels of government?
There are indeed many checks and balances against tyranny – seven that are named in this article, four of which still remain to us to stave off ObamaCare and gun control as well for that matter. Nevertheless, none of these checks are of any effect if we the people are willing to check our ballot for candidates who either do not understand the Constitutional principles of liberty or are not willing to defend them.