After being shot down earlier this week, the Arizona State Senate revived and successfully passed a bill that would create a mechanism for the state to nullify federal laws.
As TPM has reported, Senate Bill 1433 would create a 12-person “Joint Legislative Committee on Nullification of Federal Laws,” which would “recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution.”The bill passed the Senate 16-11 after three Republicans switched their vote.
Iowa passed a similar bill in its House last month, though that bill specified that the state would not be required to follow the individual mandate in the health care reform law. The Arizona bill gives the committee more broad powers to review “all existing federal statutes, mandates and Executive orders for the purpose of determining their constitutionality.”
But State Senate President Russell Pearce (R) — who introduced the bill, and also sponsored the state’s controversial immigration law — implied that health care reform was at least part of the impetus for the law: “If we don’t take back our sovereign ability for the states to control the federal government, I guess we have no right to complain,” he said, the Arizona Republic reports. “I guess ‘Obamacare’ is OK for you.”
Nullification laws go against the language of the Constitution, which is pretty clear on the subject:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Arizona bill will now go to the House for a vote.