A Republican state legislator with close ties to the GOP operatives behind a slew of hardball tactics has sponsored and helped pass a bill — almost certainly unconstitutional — that prohibits the federal government from forcing the state’s citizens to buy health insurance.
The Virginia legislature last week passed legislation, based on a model created by the American Legislative Exchange Council, that declares unconstitutional any effort to require citizens to buy health insurance — as the health-care reform measures passed by both chambers of the U.S. Congress would do. In the state Senate, the effort was led by Sen. Jill Vogel.
TPMmuckraker readers may remember Vogel, formerly Jill Hotzman, from her work as a principal of Holtzman Vogel, the Washington GOP election-law firm that recently led a failed bid to undermine state laws against robocalls, on behalf of a shadowy conservative advocacy group.
Two other members of the firm — Jason Torchinsky and Holtzman’s husband Alex Vogel, a former RNC lawyer— were key architects of the American Center for Voting Rights (ACVR). That was the bogus and short-lived “voting-rights” group that was set up by GOP operatives in 2005 to “give ‘think tank’ academic cachet to the unproven idea that voter fraud is a major problem in elections,” as election law expert Rick Hasen has written.
Now, it appears, Holtzman is back. But the bill she sponsored would appear to itself be unconstitutional, since the Constitution’s federal supremacy clause makes clear that when federal and state law conflict, federal law takes precedence.
Thirty-seven other states are said to be considering similar legislation to that passed by Virginia.