The bills tweaking the federal government likely won’t pass. Nullification should have been settled after Abraham Lincoln’s vision of federal power won the Civil War 150 years ago, said House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford.
But the nullification talk does create problems getting things done at the Statehouse, said Rutherford, D-Columbia.
‘‘It’s not serious talk. They suggest one thing openly to their constituents who bite at the red meat, but they live in a separate place. This just kills any chance at having a conversation or reaching an agreement,’’ Rutherford said
Supporters of nullification say the federal government never prohibited it, even after the Civil War. They say even the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the new health care law doesn’t mean much. They point out the justices have changed their minds before, citing the segregation-supporting 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, and the segregation-ending 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
The nullification supporters attract a sometimes unwelcome subset. Also at the rally was the state director of the League of the South, holding up a sign that read ‘‘If nullification fails, try secession.’’
Robert Hayes, who attended the rally at the capitol, said South Carolina has bucked supervision since it successfully demanded to be separated from North Carolina decades before the American Revolution.
‘‘I think it is in the genetic makeup of South Carolinians,’’ Hayes said. ‘‘We simply like to stand up to any government that oppresses our freedoms.’’