BS Alert: Stenehjem’s Effect on Health Care Freedom
Saturday, February 05, 2011
BS Alert by Brett Narloch
Issue: Federalism

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State legislators have been using a wide range of tactics to minimize or completely eliminate the effects of Obamacare on North Dakota citizens. The four major ways include resolutions urging the US Congress to repeal, authorizing a state compact to make it legally unenforceable, a state constitutional amendment protecting individual rights to participate in any health care system, and the outright state nullification of the new laws. Click HERE to get a more in-depth look at each of these options.

In a letter opinion to ND State Reps. Al Carlson and Robin Weisz, North Dakota Attorney General wrote that he believes that some of the options legislators have been looking at would violate the supremacy clause of the US Constitution and would be unconstitutional if challenged. The opinion specifically addressed HB1286, which would make it a crime for anyone to enforce health care laws that have not been approved by the North Dakota legislature.

The most interesting part of the opinion is the following:

"I am unable to provide a specific opinion on the constitutionality of H.B. 1286. However, based on the plain language of H.B.1286, it is my opinion that it is likely preempted by federal law, and, thus, likely violative of the Supremacy Clause." (Emphasis mine.)

So the question is, why did Stenehjem go beyond HB1286 and offer a hypothetical about a situation that may come up if state law conflicts with federal law? Couldn't he have simply stated that he is unable to give a specific opinion on the constitutionality of the bill and leave it at that?

It seems as though this might have been motivated by politics and was perhaps a move to discourage state legislators from passing legislation attacking Obamacare. That's BS.

Supremecy Opinion