“We may only be two legislators in Alabama, but we are not giving up on the wisdom of the people.”
Galliher’s statement refers to a bill he and state Rep. Cam Ward of Alabaster have introduced to prevent implementation of the new law in Alabama. According to their bill, HB498, “no person, employer, or health care provider shall be compelled to participate in any health care system.”
The bill is one of three with the same intent awaiting consideration by the Health Committee of the Alabama House of Representatives. The Alabama Senate Health Committee declined on Wednesday to bring a fourth bill to the floor for a vote.
Whether the Legislature will get a chance to vote on Galliher and Ward’s bill in this session — or at all — is questionable. Whether or not it reaches the House floor and whether or not it passes, it becomes another particle on the sandy beach of opposition to the new health care law.
Virginia and Idaho already have passed similar legislation, and Florida is considering an amendment to its constitution to prevent the state from complying with the federal law.
Alabama Attorney General Troy King has joined his counterparts in 13 other states in suing the federal government, claiming that the new health care law is unconstitutional.
“The Constitution nowhere authorizes the United States to mandate, either directly or under threat of penalty, that all citizens and legal residents have qualifying health care coverage,” the lawsuit says.
Both the lawsuit by the attorneys general and Galliher’s bill impeach the constitutionality of the new law, citing the 10th Amendment, which provides that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Legal experts have said that the state challenges are unlikely to succeed because, when they are in conflict, federal laws trump state laws under the Constitution. Like King, Galliher is undeterred by those opinions.
“This so-called health care reform is what has led me and other fellow Alabamians along with many other states, to reaffirm the definitions and intent of the 10th Amendment,” he said.
“We need to affirm our right to govern our own matters in arenas such as this. I fully believe that is what our forefathers had in mind,” Galliher said.
He may see his challenge, in conjunction with those of other states, reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Although we see the challenge as misguided, we agree with Galliher on his most important statement:
“We are not giving up on the wisdom of the people.”