Politics

Obamacare: Tea Partiers Say, Nullify It; Democratic Senator Says, Who Cares if It's Constitutional?

By: Eric Giunta | Posted: December 4, 2012 3:55 AM
Chris Smith, Barack Obama and KrisAnne Hall

Sen. Chris Smith, left, KrisAnne Hall, far right

An otherwise dry hour-long series of presentations on the federal health-care law ended on a colorful note Monday, as some three dozen tea-party activists, represented by a handful of speakers, took to the podium for an additional hour to present their concerns to Florida senators.

The Florida Senate's Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) launched its first meeting Monday, with Chairman Joe Negron, R-Palm City, assuring his fellow legislators and citizen attendees that no votes would be taken that day.

"I've always believed it's good to have a trial first, before a verdict," announced Negron, a lawyer.

What followed Negron’s remarks was a series of talks by several experts on the expected fiscal impact of the healthcare law on Florida’s taxpayers. The Florida Legislature is expected to decide, during the course of the 2013 legislative session, what Florida’s official response will be to the Obamacare bill, in particular, whether the Sunshine State will set up and manage its own state-wide health insurance exchanges or leave it to the federal government.

The seven Republican and four Democratic senators who make up the committee seemed to agree on more than they didn’t. None of the questions asked by senators to presenters reflected any intention to resist the healthcare law. Discussion, such as it was, centered on how the law would be complied with: whether the state would expand Medicaid coverage to all citizens living below 138% of the poverty threshold, and whether the state should assume the responsibility of running its own insurance exchanges.

The conservative activists who took to the podium during the meeting’s second half had another idea in mind: nullification.

“Nullification is the states standing up and saying the federal government is not our master:  we are,” an impassioned KrisAnne Hall, attorney and conservative activist, told the senators, as she concluded a speech that lasted nearly ten minutes. “The states and the people are the masters of the Constitution.  We do not have to, nor will we, comply with federal dictates not enumerated in the Constitution.”

Nullification is the theory – not popularly held since the conclusion of the American Civil War – that states have authority to invalidate federal laws that they hold to be unconstitutional.

KrisAnne Hall was permitted to speak as long as she did because several other citizens ceded their allotted time to her.

During the course of her remarks – in which she cited several Founding Fathers, as well as the stated intention of the U.S. Catholic bishops that their religious schools and charities will not comply with the Obama administration’s contraception and abortaficient mandates –Democratic senators mostly sneered and gawked, while Republicans seemed indifferent.

Among the speakers who preceded KrisAnne Hall was her husband, Pastor J. Chris Hall, who said he was speaking on behalf of the Baptist Coalition of North Florida.

“We believe the principles of Romans 13 make it clear that all should be in subjection to the higher powers, and the federal government is not [currently] in subjection to its higher power in the Constitution; it is therefore operating against the will of God for civil powers,” Pastor Hall told the senators. “We have a duty as believers not to consent to such violations of God’s divine framework.”

After the Halls and a few other speakers urged nullification on the basis of Obamacare’s alleged unconstitutionality, Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, who sits on the committee, took the microphone to address their concerns.

Referring to Norman Rockwell’s painting of a young black girl being escorted to her newly desegregated classroom by federal agents – titled, “The Problem We All Live With,” a copy of which Smith said hangs in his office – he said federal intervention was necessary in that instance because “Marbury, Madison, and Hamilton wrote in [the] Constitution that I wasn’t a man. The federal government had to step in because our Constitution is an imperfect document.”

Smith is African-American. His comments were met with gasps and boos from the tea partiers.

Though Smith is, according to his official Senate biography, an attorney, his remarks were historically and legally inaccurate.

William Marbury did not draft the Constitution; he was appointed justice of the peace in the District of Columbia by John Adams in 1801. The Constitution – which was ratified in 1789 – also did not deny constitutional personhood to blacks: that was a question left to the states until 1868, by which time the Constitution had been amended (by the addition of the 13th and 14th Amendments) so as to federally codify the personhood – and attendant rights to life, liberty, and property – of all American citizens, including blacks.

Federal involvement in desegregation was not undertaken because of any perceived defect in the Constitution, but precisely pursuant to the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which guarantees to all Americans – whatever their race – “equal protection under the laws.”

Perhaps realizing, belatedly, the incoherence of his comments, Smith met the jeers by insisting that if the Constitution were perfect, it wouldn’t ever need amendment. What relevance that observation had to the debate at hand was not clear.

“That’s a lie, sir!” KrisAnne Hall bellowed after yet another confused remark by Smith about how “in the original Constitution, people like [KrisAnne Hall] did not have a right to vote.”

Before the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, women’s suffrage was allotted on a state-by-state basis; the right was neither affirmed nor denied in the Constitution.

Sunshine State News asked Negron, after he adjourned the committee meeting, whether the radical course of action suggested by the tea partiers – nullification – was “off the table.” The senator would not answer the question.

“I think what’s on the table is what I talked about earlier in the meeting,” he replied. “We want to make sure that our regulatory burden on Floridians and Florida business is limited. We want to make sure the quality of healthcare is the best it can be in Florida, and that there is choice and competition in the system.”

Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (954) 235-9116.

Comments (54)

anajackson
3:05AM APR 27TH 2013
hey I have read your story about Obama and Tea Parties.I can understand.Nice post Thanks for sharing this information.!
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Carol Geary
3:43PM DEC 5TH 2012
Som eone is telling stories! being an older couple with disabilities myself with cancer and my Husband with Diabetes we tried to get another insurance with 2 other Companies and was turned down flat! when president Obama says you cannot be turned down for pre-existing conditions some person is blowing smoke!
wawoo
4:32PM DEC 5TH 2012
Carol Geary, it will be 2014 before the exclusion for pre existing conditions is against the law for all health isnurance policies. It is in effect for policies covering children under the age of 19 now and if covered, they may not be dropped. One of those concessions to the insurance companies that Republicans said they wanted.
Carol Geary
3:40PM DEC 5TH 2012
I do not feel like we should cave in to the people thats for obama care, new taxes. even if the white house only taxed people that make $250,000 wgat about the Bush taxes expiring you dont think that is going to affect people in lower tax brackets? if people think this then people are being fooled. I personally feel all sttates should fold against Obama care then what would he do?
Shirley
8:46PM DEC 4TH 2012
I think it should be out-lawed. The senior citizens won't be getting the proper care. They just want them to die. If we have to have it, I think all the legislataors & the predsident should be made to have it.
wawoo
9:11PM DEC 4TH 2012
Shirley, you must have responded to the wrong news. Yes, Governor Scott just released a report on Nursing Homes that does guarantee that many elderly will continue to be abused and die horrible deaths in Florida. The Nursing Homes are reccommended to supervise themselves and be protected from lawsuits by the families of those they will continue to abuse. Meanwhile, PPACA/Obamacare is legal and is a strong step in the right direction for improving delivery of healthcare and reducing the rising costs of same. It is a shame we are governed by the Republicans who say government does not work and then do their best to make it so all the while passing the costs of reduced governmentdown to the middle and lower class while rewarding their overlords with tax reductions and removing publc oversight as well as making sure government contracts are expended to those supporters benefit, not the general publics.
Frank
3:02PM DEC 5TH 2012
Sometimes I think SSN only mentions nullification because they know it'll bring out the right wing nullification hysterical types . . .perhaps Eric would like to do an actual legal analysis and actually list the many U.S. Supreme Court rulings supporting nullification of federal laws by the states . . . . I'm sure I and justices everywhere would just love to see that "fair and balanced" nullification analysis . . . . .
Roy G. Callahan
7:32PM DEC 4TH 2012
IKt's obvioius Ted has never read the Decaration of independence, the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. My best guess is he is a taker, not a producer, thus his comment.
Ted
1:31PM DEC 4TH 2012
The teabangers are anti-American and seditionist. They should be surveiled by the FBI as any anti-government group would be and isolated as much as the skinhead militias are. They are a threat to the future well-being and effective governance of this country.
Repubtallygirl
4:41PM DEC 4TH 2012
Name one instance where the patriotic Tea Party members committed a crime...one?? ............crickets.

The FBI meanwhile did arrest 5 Occupy Wall Street members who plotted to blow up a bridge in Ohio.

We want the govt to STOP SPENDING for the "future well-being and effective governance of this country."
wawoo
4:33PM DEC 5TH 2012
Actually the mass murderer that just commited suicide in Alaska was associated with Tea Party political causes. Be careful what you ask for.
Frank
7:49PM DEC 4TH 2012
Gee. . . just one. . . . that’s hard . . . . how about the arrests of San Diego Tea Party Spokesmen Michael Kobulnicky (sexual assault), Tea Party co-founder Mark J. Meckler (airline concealed weapon), Fort Lauderdale Tea Party founder Danita Kilcullen (felony assault on a police officer), Rand Paul campaign worker Tim Profitt (stomping on liberal woman’s head), Grand Strand Tea Party Anthony Trinca (selling pirated computer software), TeaCon 2011 Organizer and family advocate Steve Stevlic (prostitution solicitation) . . . . . . .we can go on, but one gets the picture . . . . .guess that just makes you, once again, a participant in the politics of the “Big Lie” . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . . . .
Ted
4:50PM DEC 4TH 2012
Like most teabanger positions: simplistic. Do some homework and check the recent history of what government austerity programs have done for Spain and Greece, in particular.

And, when you need Medicaid to pay for your mother's $8,000 per month nursing home bill because neither she nor you "can spare it" ... you'll be more than happy to change your mind on "government spending"!
Don Fanucci
7:14PM DEC 4TH 2012
You stupid leftist: Greece and Spain did not enact real "austerity". Check out the National Review article "Europe’s Failed ‘Austerity’," for one.

Second, healthcare in this country is expensive precisely because government so heavily regulates and subsidizes it. Learn some basic economics, you miserable cockroach.
Frank
7:56PM DEC 4TH 2012
Fictional characters live in fictional economies . . . .careful, or we might just use an eraser and just rub your fictional character out . . . .
John Collier
1:13PM DEC 4TH 2012
Fla needs to out law it !!! If the Supreme Court thinks it's legal or not .They also need to re count all the votes in this state and throw out all the duplicate votes where people voted with abstente ballots and voted in person ,and throw out all the votes from convicted felons and illegal aliens who were allowed to vote by crooked polling posts
Ted
1:47PM DEC 4TH 2012
Right. And IF you REALLY want to uncover and then prosecute SIGNIFICANT voter fraud ... then you should most certainly begin that effort with the Election of 2000 in Florida ... and may sure you extend it all the way up to the rightwing nutcases on the U.S. Supreme Court.

And note: If the teabangers believe the USSC's decision on the Affordable Care Act should be thrown out ... then so should have been the USSC's decision on Bush V. Gore. And ... since we can't unring that bell now ... Bush and Cheney should be prosecuted for wrongfully seizing office and malfeasance in office.

What's good for the [filtered word] is good for the gander!
Frank
1:44PM DEC 4TH 2012
The delusional nightmares of Democrats actually voting can be controlled with professional help from those who are better anchored in reality . . . . .

Take your baseless "case" to court and make your accusations under oath . . . . .otherwise, seek help . . .

Pathetic and in denial . . . . . .
Frank
12:12PM DEC 4TH 2012
Ah, yes . . . . that far right boogey man of "nullification" raises its orphan head again on SSN. When will the far right (and religious right) ever learn?

This "issue" has been the subject of several Supreme Court rulings over the past few centuries as to its constitutionality. See, for example, Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958) where the court (9-0) stated that for integration, that its implementation "can neither be nullified openly and directly by state legislators or state executive or judicial officers nor nullified indirectly by them through evasive schemes for segregation whether attempted 'ingeniously or ingenuously.' "

Yes, nullification is as legal today as slavery is in the U.S. . . . . just like KrisAnne Hall huband's un-American rule by religious, biblical law . . . . lest we go back to an eye for an eye justice . . . . and allowing slavery once again. . .

Pathetic, shrill far right nonsense . . . . .
KrisAnne Hall
1:11PM DEC 4TH 2012
Frank, too bad your Constitutional ignorance is only superseded by your lack of sound reasoning. If you really want to be educated on nullification, may I suggest reading the post on my website krisannehall.com on states' rights and nullification. If you choose to remain ignorant, well that is your choice!
Ted
1:50PM DEC 4TH 2012
So, my dear, what should we do about all those uneducated ignoramuses who failed to effectively engage nullification in response to the USSC's decision in Bush v. Gore?

You're just a common, garden-variety anarchist who obviouisly isn't old enough to know any better.
KrisAnne Hall
7:12PM DEC 4TH 2012
So I guess you are refusing to become educated. I am not an anarchist, I am a proponent of Liberty. Liberty cannot survive in the face of a expanded central government. Apparently you are having difficulty understanding the difference between anarchy and Liberty. I have lots of resources on these issues on my site, krisannehall.com. Alas, I can lead a horse to water...
Frank
11:47PM DEC 6TH 2012
Yes, but apparently you can't read U.S. Supreme Court decisions that say nullification (and interposition if you're a splitter) is not constitutional whenever it's been tested in the Supreme Court. . . . . .

Your type of "Liberty" DOES appear to create anarchy (or treason when acted upon by force) if you believe you (or your state) can unilaterally nullify federal actions or laws in the face of Supreme Court decisions that say the opposite . . . . . you want to argue otherwise, show me the Supreme Court decision that says nullification is constitutional . . . . . . .don't have one . . . .thought not . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Frank
1:47PM DEC 4TH 2012
Fine, show me ONE Supreme Court case since the Civil War upholding your nullification . . . . none . . . . then look at my cite, saying it doesn't exist . . . . there are others . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Don Fanucci
2:03PM DEC 4TH 2012
You mean, show you one ruling by the federal government saying the federal government is not supreme over the states?

Stupid leftist: Name me one tyrant who doesn't insist on his supremacy over his subjects.
Frank
2:34PM DEC 4TH 2012
See, NO nullification is legal U.S. Supreme Court decisions . . . .
Don Fanucci
7:15PM DEC 4TH 2012
Duh! Stupid lefitst.
Frank
3:04PM DEC 5TH 2012
At least I'm not a fictional creation of Mario Puzo.
Ray Zehrung
2:15PM DEC 4TH 2012
Don..you're using logic. You know that doesn't work. Only hyperbole and revisionist history works with the left.

President Obama is a supposed Constitutional professor. That should be enough evidence.
Frank
2:39PM DEC 4TH 2012
Can't accept reality, can you . . . . nullification of federal laws by a state doesn't exist . . . the supreme court of the land has said so, and that DOES make it constitutional law . . . despite your pathetic denials . . .

Just goes to show you that Obama DOES know a lot more about constitutional law than you appear capable of learning . . . and you can't stand that, can you . . . . .
Don Fanucci
7:16PM DEC 4TH 2012
"the supreme court of the land has said so, and that DOES make it constitutional law"

The stupid leftist believes that what isn't constitutional becomes constitutional, magically, because a leftist court says it is. Never mind what the damn document actually says.

Stupid leftist.
Frank
8:08PM DEC 4TH 2012
Go back to your mafioso fantasy land . . . . where the Supreme Court's opinion isn't the law of the land . . . and only your personal fantasies and strange legal interpretations have a delusional reality . . . . you clearly don't believe in the American Constitution that the rest of us live under . . . . only some convulted creation of your own . . . whose anti-American content you happily expose with every word you write . . . . it seems everyone's a leftist except you and the few nullification frustrated Tea Party types out there . . . . . welcome to your future - - - continued, total and utter frustration by as far right a Supreme Court as you'll likely ever see in your lifetime. . . . . welcome to an increasingly multi-cultural America of moderates and leftists . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Don Fanucci
12:46PM DEC 4TH 2012
Wait a minute: You mean to tell me that the federal government has ruled that its laws can never be nullified by the states? LOL

"I am your dominator. I am because I say so."

Stupid leftists.
Ray Zehrung
1:53PM DEC 4TH 2012
Some leftists don't seem to remember this part of the Declaration:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...

The government was given certain enumerated powers by the STATES and the People....any power not enumerated in Article 1, section 8, is no law and is void.

And by the way, leftist person...nullification was used by the State of Michigan to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act of 1858. A law passed by Congress and signed by the President.
Frank
2:17PM DEC 4TH 2012
Ah, yes, the infamous (and unknown) "Fugitive Slave Act of 1858" . . . . and your government or congressional source for information about the "Fugitive Slave Act of 1858" would be??? . . . some right wing blog???

Perhaps I should just wait for the rest of my response until you can find (and prove) that such a non-existing act exists . . . . except erroneously on certain right-wing blog discussions . . .

Perhaps you are confused about the "Fugitive Slave Act of 1850" and the 1854 attempt by the Wisconsin Supreme Court to find the law unconstitutional, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1859 in Ableman v. Booth.

Perhaps you are confused by "personal liberty laws" that were passed by several states (including Michigan in 1855) to make the legal system more fair for all people and to ensure the safety of freedmen and escaped slaves WITHOUT employing the controversial tactic of nullification.

Perhaps you can get a little more educated before you spout and demonize others. . . . .and perhaps next time you can actually learn how to place your comments where you meant them, instead of in response to a fellow far righter . . . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . . .
Ray Zehrung
2:24PM DEC 4TH 2012
Yep...I was off on the date. You have my apologies. The "right wing" source I used was Wikipedia.



And you fail to realize that Michigan was one of the havens for runaway slaves.

Also, the very point of nullification by Wisconsin is made in that they did NOT submit to the SCOTUS ruling, even after the SCOTUS determined the law to be constitutional.

So...are you implying that the SCOTUS upholding the fugitive slave act was just and moral?

This is your defense?

Who's really pathetic?
Frank
2:58PM DEC 4TH 2012
Your date, your facts were all just wrong . . .I see nothing on Wikipedia about a Fugative Slave Act of 1958 . . . the only place I can find such an act mentioned is on a few right-wing blogs . . . . also, we're talking about your pushing nullification, not whether slavery was just and moral . . . . . in case you missed it, I noted that today neither is legal . . . .and the south in my lifetime (1950s) tried to use nullification to keep their version of slavery intact - separate and equal - so, to play your game and paraphrase you:

"So...are you implying that the SCOTUS should have upheld nullification in the case of Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1 (1958) - how would that have been just and moral? This is your defense?"

Now, who continues to be pathetic . . . .as well as non-factual and illogical . . . .
Ted
1:51PM DEC 4TH 2012
Stupid anarchist!
Frank
1:48PM DEC 4TH 2012
Yes, fictional persons are real . . . . in far right NeverNeverLand . . . .
Repubtallygirl
11:58AM DEC 4TH 2012
*Shocked* that Smith would be inaccurate.
Frank
1:53PM DEC 4TH 2012
Of course we'd expect that you'd assume the inaccuracy is accurate as reported by a right-wing, partisan web site . . . I'd like to hear the entire statement . . . .as in context it almost seems to read as if at least one word may have been missed (or unspoken) . . . since Marbury v. Madison was the Supreme Court case that confirmed that the federal courts have the authority to declare laws unconstitutional, the addition of the word "Until" makes Smith's statement a lot more understandable:

"[Until] Marbury, Madison and Hamilton wrote in [the] Constitution that I wasn’t a man. The federal government had to step in because our Constitution is an imperfect document.”

That seems right in step with this and Smith's other statements . . . . .even though it actually took a Civil War and Presidential Proclamation to abolish slavery. . . at least in the South . . .

Just because Smith happens to be black, is no reason to leap to the attack and ignore the belittling, racist Tea Party white jeers . . . . . but then I'm not the one who previously wrote "blacks are not smart enough to get IDs". . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Repubtallygirl
4:38PM DEC 4TH 2012
No, what he said was factually incorrect. All of your spin doesn't negate the fact that what he said was factually incorrect. I find that typical trait in most Democrats.
Ray Zehrung
1:58PM DEC 4TH 2012
Let's not forget that the KKK was a Democrat organization. Also, the Democrats were the ones who voted AGAINST the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And we should really remember what Lyndon B Johnson, a Democrat said about voting:

“I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” —Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One -

Gotta love the fact that the people who are really fighting for liberty and freedom are demonized by the left, when it is the left that has traditionally been anathema to freedom.

Oh...and Lincoln was a REPUBLICAN.
Frank
8:20PM DEC 4TH 2012
The sheer idiocy of stringing these random comments together once again points out the lunacy of some better than any comments I can make . . . . no wonder Jeb Bush has remarked on today's Republican Tea Party domination that it would not have a place for either his moderate father or Ronald Reagan . . . . . .so, we could have a random quote pissing contest, but that would be . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
wawoo
9:10AM DEC 4TH 2012
Or a nice example of why Tea Party Republicans need to be nullified. Was I dreaming? Was not there a Supreme Court ruling as to the Constitutuionality of PPCCA/Obamacare that found it to be Constitutional?
KrisAnne Hall
11:00AM DEC 4TH 2012
The Supreme Court does not hold the authority to rule the healthcare act constitutional. If you are REALLY interested in knowing truth then go to my website KrisAnne Hall.com and read the article on states' rights and nullification.

If you are not interested just keep spewing your lies and we will keep fighting for your liberty too. God bless.
Ted
1:53PM DEC 4TH 2012
So, my dear, have you shaved your head and tatooed it ... and do you dress in camo all the time or just on weekends?
Frank
11:52AM DEC 4TH 2012
You must be right . . . the Supreme Court has no role in our form of government . . . . guess all those Court rulings against the nullification myth over the last two centuries must all be meaningless . . . . . just ask the South how that worked out for them regarding school integration . . . . . . just spewing non-truths and far right politics of the "Big Lie" . . . .trying to get everyone to believe the opposite of what's reality. . . .

Pathetic denier . . . .
Don Fanucci
10:50AM DEC 4TH 2012
Stupid leftist: If the Supreme Court said the moon was made out of cheese, would that make it so? If the Supreme Court said the federal government could establish Christianity as the state's official religion, would that make it constitutional?

The Supreme Court is wrong.
Frank
11:45AM DEC 4TH 2012
Spoken like a true fictional character - say hello to Vito Corleone when you get the chance. . . . . oh, and when you get the chance, see if you can read up on the American system . . . . you clearly don't have a clue what it's all about . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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