Idaho’s Nullification Bill Dies in the House

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A rather bold bill that would have strongly asserted the sovereignty of the state of Idaho was shot down this past Monday, February 19th, 2018.  The bill, House Bill 461, would have enabled the state of Idaho to nullify any US Law or Supreme Court Ruling that the State of Idaho did not agree with.

In the end, the cowering legislators chose the example of the Civil War, where numerous southern states nullified the actions of the Federal government, only to brought to heel by use of force.   The argument of nullification as a path to liberty is one numerous liberty activists have championed, with Tom Woods being perhaps one of the biggest proponents.

In Idaho, that effort has failed.  The tactic of the explicit and implicit threat of force has convinced enough of these elected officials that Idaho should just shut up and keep with the Federal program, else they too could face a military invasion and occupation by the Federal government.

Note:  This is not an endorsement or defense of slavery in any way, shape, or form.  The South’s defense of slavery is reprehensible.  But, if the Constitution were actually a thing, the South had every “right” to nullify the Federal government, even for horrible reasons like defending slavery.

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The idea of nullification ended as a viable counter to the overreach of the Federal government after the invasion and occupation of the South.  This strike down of this bill further emphasizes that point.

House kills Shepherd bill on nullification of federal laws

After about an hour of debate Monday, Feb. 19, the Idaho House voted to kill House Bill 461, on nullification of federal laws, with a 40-29 vote.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins, declared Idaho lawmakers have the power to nullify federal laws and U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

“It should be obvious to us over the years there’s been quite a few cases that many of our constituents and us probably don’t think were fully constitutional,” Shepherd said.

However, the majority of the representatives seemed to believe the legislation would cause more problems than it would fix. Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, cited Federalist Paper 80, which reads that “uniformity in the interpretation of national laws” is a necessity.

“This idea that states are superior to the U.S. constitution has been debunked, not for 150 years, it’s been debunked for 200 years,” Erpelding said. “Voting for this does nothing except expose our state to legal challenges.”

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, said while he disagreed with certain Supreme Court rulings as well, voiding federal laws would be inappropriate for a state to do.

“That debate was resolved in a bloody civil war that cost over 600,000 American lives and over 3 million wounded,” he said.

Read more at Idaho County Free Press

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