BOISE, Idaho – Republican lawmakers in nearly a dozen states are reaching into the dusty annals of American history to fight President Obama’s health care overhaul.

They are introducing measures that hinge on “nullification,” Thomas Jefferson’s late 18th-century doctrine that purported to give states the ultimate say in constitutional matters.

GOP lawmakers introduced such a measure Wednesday in the Idaho House, and Alabama, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas and Wyoming are also talking about the idea.

The efforts are completely unconstitutional in the eyes of most legal scholars because the Constitution deems federal laws “the supreme law of the land.” The Idaho attorney general has weighed in as well, branding nullification unconstitutional.

“There is no right to pick and choose which federal laws a state will follow,” wrote Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane.

Regardless of the very dubious constitutional nature of the efforts, the nullification push has become a rallying cry in conservative states at a time when anti-government angst is running high and “state’s rights” are a popular belief among the tea party crowd.

Delegates at Idaho’s Republican convention last year urged seizure of federal lands and resurrection of the gold standard. Conservatives in Montana lined up the out the door of a legislative committee room last week to speak in favor of a bill that would make sheriffs the supreme local authorities, another measure widely believed to be unconstitutional.

In Texas, a nullification proposal threatens state officials who don’t comply with jail time and fines. Last year in Austin, an insurance salesman led a Texas State Capitol rally as protesters hoisted signs urging not just nullification, but “secession.”

In Alabama, a version of nullification sponsored last year by Republican Sen. Scott Beason passed the Senate, but died in a Democrat-led House committee. He’ll resurrect it this year.

“A lot people say, if the Supreme Court decides that it is constitutional, you have to live with it. My feeling is, the people should have the final say,” Beason told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Frankly, the only recourse people have is for the states to try to flex some sovereignty muscle.”

Idaho is already one of 27 states suing over health care reform and its provision to eventually require people to buy insurance, but Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter hinted in a Jan. 10 speech he may go further by pursuing nullification.

He is supported by Republican members of the legislature who rely on a 306-page book on nullification by Kansas-based author Thomas Woods Jr.

As a college student in 1994, Woods helped found the League of the South, an Alabama group that the Southern Poverty Law Center says has become a “neo-Confederate group” seeking a second Southern secession.

Woods told the AP he thinks states have a right of secession, but he doesn’t support the Confederacy’s return. He’s no longer a member.

He argues in “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century” that Jefferson was right: States created the federal government, and remain the final check-and-balance should the president, Congress and Supreme Court all get it wrong.

“I don’t believe the Supreme Court or any body of fallible men are demigods,” Woods said.