Nullification Crisis 2?

President Obama signs his landmark health care bill into law tomorrow – but Pennsylvania Republicans are already trying to overturn it.

Attorney General Tom Corbett — who’s running for governor – says the commonwealth will join a lawsuit challenging the measure’s constitutionality.

State Representative Curt Schroder supports the suit.

Schroder has introduced an amendment to the Pennsylvania constitution that would nullify the bill’s health care mandates within the commonwealth’s borders. Virginia has already passed a similar measure, but Governor Rendell calls those efforts a waste of time, pointing to the US Constitution’s supremacy clause, which bounds states to follow  federal laws.

The efforts call to mind the 1832 Nullification Crisis,when South Carolina –led by Vice President John C. Calhoun —  declared two unpopular federal tariffs unconstitutional, and therefore void within the state. If my memory of high school history serves me correctly, President Andrew Jackson briefly considered using the military to enforce the measures within the state — somehow, I just don’t see that happening this time around.


About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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