February 25, 2014
Can a State enact a law that purports to “nullify” a controversial federal statute that the State firmly believes to be unconstitutional, even if the U.S. Supreme Court already has upheld the federal statute against a constitutional challenge brought by the State? That is the question presented by a bill now being considered by the South Carolina General Assembly—H. 3101, the “South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act.” House Bill 3101 is a response to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted by Congress —commonly known as “Obamacare”—as well as the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. In NFIB v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court upheld the PPACA’s individual mandate against the claim that it exceeded Congress’s authority. As a party to the case, the State of South Carolina is bound by that judgment. House Bill 3101 cannot “nullify” the judgment of the Supreme Court upholding the individual mandate.