Idaho’s GOP Attorney General Calls Nullification Unconstitutional

Nineteenth century nullificationist Senator John C. Calhoun

In the wake of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s (R) recent statement that his state should consider nullifying the Affordable Care Act, the office of Idaho’s Republican Attorney General released an opinion reaching the obvious conclusion that it is unconstitutional for states to nullify federal laws:

Taking the logic of the nullification theory to its natural extension, federal law would become a patchwork of regulation depending upon which States chose to comply. It is hardly surprising, given this specter, that no court has ever upheld a State effort to nullify a federal law. […]

There is no right to pick and choose which federal laws a State will follow. Aside from ignoring the Supremacy Clause in Article VI, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution, that contention cannot be reconciled with Article I, § 3 of the Idaho Constitution or the oath of office prescribed in Article III, § 25.

Unfortunately, supporters of Idaho’s nullification bill appear undeterred by their state’s chief legal officer’s reminder that they are actually required to follow the Constitution, and they plan to move forward with the bill. As ThinkProgress previously reported, Idaho’s governor and the bill’s leading sponsor are basing their support for nullification on a book written by a leading Confederate apologist and frequent guest on the Glenn Beck Show named Tom Woods — because who needs to obey the Constitution when Fox News tells you that you are free to ignore it?