Six Wisconsin Lawmakers Backed Arresting Federal Officials Who Implement Health Reform

Nineteenth Century nullificationist Senator John C. Calhoun

According to newly released emails, six members of the Wisconsin legislature told a tea party group that they backed an unconstitutional plan to arrest federal officials charged with implementing the Affordable Care Act:

Lawmakers who backed the idea of arresting federal officials who try to implement Obamacare received both praise and condemnation from their constituents, as well as a round of media inquiries, newly released emails show.

In responding, the six lawmakers generally downplayed their support for the idea even though they told the tea party-aligned Campaign for Liberty they approved of the notion.

The emails, released under the state’s open records law, also show an aide to Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) advised her to turn down an offer to talk about Obamacare on Greta Van Susteren’s program on Fox News because of the Campaign for Liberty survey. . . . Lazich and five other lawmakers — along with three others who will be sworn in in January — told the Campaign for Liberty they backed passing a law to “nullify” the Affordable Care Act and arrest federal officials who tried to implement it. The idea, disputed by legal scholars, is based on the belief that under the 10th Amendment states can choose to ignore federal laws.

As ThinkProgress has repeatedly explained, state laws purporting to nullify federal laws — much less state laws that would subject federal officials to arrest for carrying out their official duties — are a world of unconstitutional. The Constitution expressly states that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land,” regardless of whether state lawmakers disagree with those laws.