The South Carolina House has passed a proposed bill that declares the Affordable Care Act null and void, and purports to criminalizes its implementation:
TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, SO AS TO ENACT THE “SOUTH CAROLINA FREEDOM OF HEALTH CARE PROTECTION ACT” BY ADDING ARTICLE 21 TO CHAPTER 71, TITLE 38 SO AS TO RENDER NULL AND VOID CERTAIN UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES TAKING CONTROL OVER THE HEALTH INSURANCE INDUSTRY AND MANDATING THAT INDIVIDUALS PURCHASE HEALTH INSURANCE UNDER THREAT OF PENALTY; TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS FROM ENFORCING OR ATTEMPTING TO ENFORCE SUCH UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS; AND TO ESTABLISH CRIMINAL PENALTIES AND CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATING THIS ARTICLE.
Of course, the Bill is not law unless it is also passed by the Senate and signed by the governor. I took a few minutes and read the Bill – among other things, it declares that the U.S. Supreme Court’s finding that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional . . . was unconstitutional. Apparently, under the new South Carolina system of checks and balances, the judicial branch determines the constitutionality of legislation passed by the legislative branch, and then the legislative branch of the states determines the constitutionality of the decisions of the judicial branch regarding the constitutionality of the legislation passed by the legislative branch. Or something like that.
The Bill also purports to establish criminal penalties and civil liability for violation of the article, but after two readings I could not find the penalty or civil liability, much less the conduct that the Bill purports to criminalize. I suspect it’s not a Bill at all, but rather a press release in Bill’s clothing. A press release would have cost considerably less time and money. I confess, I could care less about the Affordable Care Act, or this Bill, other than the Bill is poorly drafted and, like many, it is a ridiculous waste of time. This is what we pay our representatives for?
We elect these people to represent us, and to draft legislation that will govern our lives, but we don’t demand intelligence, a legal education, or even a basic understanding of constitutional law before we elect them. We usually elect them not based on their character or ability, but based on how much money they are able to spend marketing themselves to us. We elect them knowing that the money they spend marketing themselves to us comes from corporations and special interests who will influence their decisions. Our system of representation is irreparably broken, and, although everyone is complaining, we are paralyzed and unable to fix it.
We could scrap this system of representation. One state could do it, and the rest would follow when they see a new system that works. We could start over with a system where we nominate leaders, and then vote for those leaders based on their character and ability. We can outlaw campaign contributions, allow for nominations, present the candidates with the most nominations who agree to serve, allow them to present their resumes, debate, and speak to the public at designated times, and never allow a candidate or a special interest to buy a seat on the legislature. We could enable a think tank of our best and brightest from across the political spectrum to create a streamlined system that is designed to give us the best leadership possible.
The best leaders don’t ask to be leaders. They don’t campaign to be leaders and they don’t buy their positions. The best leaders are out there living their lives, undoubtedly doing good works with their lives, but they will never serve in government because we don’t ask them to.