Missouri's Proposition C: 'Of No Legal Significance'
by Charles Lemos, Wed Aug 04, 2010 at 11:09:47 PM EDT
"Of no legal significance.”
That was the response by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs when asked about the Administration's viewpoint on Missouri's Proposition C which passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday. More from The Hill:
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs flatly dismissed Missouri's vote Tuesday rejecting a key part of the healthcare law.
Gibbs said Missouri’s vote approving a ballot initiative to exempt residents from the new law requiring individuals to buy health insurance was “of no legal significance.”
Asked what it means that voters in Missouri would vote against the federal mandate, Gibbs said: “Nothing.”
Gibbs is correct that the Missouri vote doesn’t trump federal law, but it has given a boost to those calling on Congress to repeal the healthcare law.
Republicans spent much of Wednesday trumpeting the vote as a victory that sent a message of voter disapproval to the White House.
The Missouri vote was to begin with a low-turnout affair among an electorate dominated by Republican primary voters, conservative activists and Tea Party extremists. It has no legal standing still that's not stopping others from pushing similar referenda in other states.
The measure, a legislatively-referred ballot initiative approved by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2010 regular session, bars the Federal government from mandating that people buy health insurance, and would shield Missourians who do not have insurance from the law’s tax penalty called for under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed into law by President Obama earlier this year.
Comparable measures have already been enacted by legislatures in five states — Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana and Virginia — according to the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group that is pushing the initiatives. Arizona and Oklahoma are scheduled to vote in the November general election on state constitutional amendments to nullify the insurance requirement. A judge in Florida tossed a similar constitutional amendment off that state’s ballot two weeks ago, sayings its language was too overtly political.
Government by referendum is a slippery slope. The United States is a representative democracy and those who are pushing these measures would do well to remember our Constitutional form of government.