BISMARCK, North Dakota, May 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – North Dakota has enacted a law declaring that the new national health care law may be unconstitutional and any provision forcing individuals to buy health insurance will be unenforceable within its borders.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed SB 2309 into law on Thursday. The legislature had passed the bill in both chambers with ample majorities (32 – 15 in the Senate; and the House 69 – 24).
The one page bill declares that the heath care law (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) championed by President Barack Obama, and criticized by pro-life groups for the dangers it poses to life, “likely [is] not authorized by the United States Constitution and may violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers.”
The bill challenges PPACA, which includes a provision known as the “individual mandate” that requires all Americans to purchase health coverage by 2014 or pay a fine to the Internal Revenue Service. Under U.S. tax law, failure to pay such penalties could result in hefty fines or even jail time.
North Dakota’s new law also states that the legislature will consider enacting actual measures to prevent federal enforcement of PPACA in North Dakota.
It further adds that no provision of PPACA or federal law “may interfere with an individual’s choice of a medical or insurance provider except as otherwise provided by the laws of this state.”
WorldNetDaily (WND) reports that the legislation adopted by North Dakota is patterned on model legislation developed by the Tenth Amendment Center, which advocates states using their authority under the U.S. Constitution to check the power of the federal government.
The Center’s founder, Michael Boldin, described the bill to WND as an act of nullification – a state’s recognition that a federal law is not a law because it lacks constitutional basis for its legal authority. Boldin said nullification was a legal remedy championed by James Madison, one of the Constitution’s framers, in the Virginia Resolution of 1798.
“By signing this nullification act, Gov. Dalrymple and the people of North Dakota have responded with the first full retaliatory strike in what will likely be a long struggle by the people to restore the proper balance of power under the Constitution,” he said. “Like James Madison told us – the powers reserved to the states and people are ‘numerous and indefinite…’ while those delegated to the federal government are ‘few and defined.’”
Other U.S. states have also challenged the federal government’s constitutional authority to compel citizens under the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause to buy health insurance. The states argue that the Tenth Amendment guarantees the sovereignty of the states by making explicit that the powers not granted the federal government by the U.S. Constitution reside with the states or the people.
Voters in Oklahoma in November adopted a state constitutional amendment that prohibits “forced participation in a health care system,” and allows individuals to pay directly for health services and carry private health insurance.
The state is currently in litigation with the federal government over its constitutional amendment.
The Virginia General Assembly also passed similar legislation, and a federal judge in Richmond ruled in the state’s favor. The Obama administration is appealing the ruling.
Twenty-six states led by Florida have a pending suit against the federal government, charging that the individual mandate violates the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. A U.S. District Court judge in Pensacola has ruled in their favor, but the decision is being appealed by the Obama Administration.
All cases are expected to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.