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Nullification: “We Shall Use Our Largest Scales”




There’s a great scene in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which Sir Bedevere – portrayed by actor Terry Jones – helps a group of unruly British villagers determine whether one of their own is a witch.

How? Simple: By placing her on his “largest scales” to determine whether she weighs the same as a duck, and is therefore made of wood, and is therefore – by definition – a witch.

Sound silly? It is … that’s why it’s in a comedy film.

Sadly the same cannot be said of South Carolina’s nullification debate, which – though every bit as preposterous – is very real.

This website has written several times regarding this debate – most extensively in this piece.

Our fundamental takeaway? That the South Carolina nullification debate is a “nuisance issue.” We don’t necessarily disagree with the notion of nullification (or secession), but the legislation that’s caused such a kerfuffle at the S.C. State House doesn’t nullify anything.

Wait … what? We’ll repeat: South Carolina’s so-called Obamacare nullification bill doesn’t nullify anything.

The bill is – at its heart – an argument over whether to assert the right to nullify other federal laws (but not Obamacare) in a non-binding preamble to proposed legislation that, again, doesn’t nullify anything.

Yeah …

Anyway … we mentioned scales earlier in this post so let’s go ahead and “weigh” this issue, shall we?

Opposing this exercise in irrelevance are Americans for Limited Government, The Cato Institute, The Federalist Society and The Heritage Foundation – four groups which have expended inordinate quantities of blood, sweat and tears over the last five years trying to debunk, defeat, repeal and defund Obamacare.

Like us …

Supporting the legislation? Jesse Graston (a.k.a. this guy) – a “representative” of the John Birch Society who as we’ve noted previously appears to have another angle at play.

Where is the local Tea Party on the issue?

There seems to be a lack of consensus – with some groups supporting the measure blindly and others (who bothered to read the bill) opposing it much along the same grounds as we have.

One of the latter groups, dubbed “Swamp State Patriots,” has organized a call-in drive over the last 24 hours – directing several thousand phone calls to the S.C. State House.

“We’re just trying to open people’s eyes,” says Allen Olson, a member of the group (and former leader of the Columbia, S.C. Tea Party). “In our opinion it’s bad legislation – and the fact that a lot of well-intentioned people are supporting it is troubling.”

According to Olson, the legislation pushed by the John Birch Society not only fails to address the fundamental issue at hand – Obamacare – but is likely to open the door to lawsuits related to future challenges to federal authority.

“The John Birch crowd and some questionable for-profit foundation are the only entities really pushing this thing,” Olson said. “Our goal is to protect the reputation of well-meaning patriots in the Palmetto State who oppose Obamacare but don’t want to go over the cliff on a bill that doesn’t do what its supporters say it does.”

Olson added “there are so many other ways to fight this law,” citing its Medicaid expansion as one example.

We agree …

As we’ve said previously, if the S.C. General Assembly (and socialized medicine lover S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley) want to truly nullify Obamacare, then they should pass a bill that actually nullifies it.

Then we’ll talk …

Absent that, this issue remains exactly what we’ve said it is from the beginning – a distraction.