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Letter to the editor: Sen. Long should allow debate in Senate

Friday, March 1, 2013 - 12:01 am

This letter is in response to Andrea Neal’s article “Sen. Long has history on his side on Obamacare invalidation bill.”

The key question raised by SB 230 and its attempt to nullify Obamacare is, “Who decides questions of constitutionality in the last resort?” As Neal points out, Sen. Long has repeatedly cited a 1958 Supreme Court case, Cooper v. Aaron, to defend his inaction. In the court’s ruling it declared that its own rulings have equal weight to the Constitution itself; citing this case really just makes one wonder if he understands the question.

The 10th Amendment clearly outlines the two parties in the federal compact, the federal government on one side with the states as agents of the people on the other. Obviously the federal government has the most to gain from exceeding the limits of its own authority, and the states have the most to lose if it does.

Does Sen. Long really believe that our founders, who wrote extensively of their fear of federal overreach, intended that one-third of the federal government should be the sole judge of whether its other two-thirds are usurping the rights of the states? Is it a rational argument to say that the Supreme Court has the final say on all constitutional matters, simply because in 1958 it said it did? A large group of Senators disagrees with his assessment that SB 230 is unconstitutional; they have signed on as sponsors. Some of them argue that this is the rightful remedy to a federal government gone wild, and Sen. Long should allow that debate to take place on the Senate floor.

Michael Thomas