Those States Rights

College of Political Knowledge

Civics Series

I would like to take a closer look at the whole states rights thing and what it means to the country today.

  • States’ rights refer to the political rights and powers granted to the states of the United States by the U.S. Constitution.
  • Under the doctrine of states’ rights, the federal government is not allowed to interfere with the powers of the states reserved or implied to them by the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • In issues such as enslavement, civil rights, gun control, and marijuana legalization, conflicts between states’ rights and the powers of the federal government have been a part of civic debate for over two centuries.

The debate over states’ rights started with the writing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. During the Constitutional Convention, the Federalists, led by John Adams, argued for a powerful federal government, while the Anti-federalists, led by Patrick Henry, opposed the Constitution unless it contained a set of amendments specifically listing and ensuring certain rights of the people and the states. Fearing that the states would fail to ratify the Constitution without it, the Federalists agreed to include the Bill of Rights.

In establishing American government’s power-sharing system of federalism, the Bill of Rights’ 10th Amendment holds that all rights and powers not specifically reserved to Congress by Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution or to be shared concurrently by the federal and state governments are reserved by either the states or by the people.

In order to prevent the states from claiming too much power, the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2) holds that all laws enacted by the state governments must comply with the Constitution, and that whenever a law enacted by a state conflicts with a federal law, the federal law must be applied.

Here is a sticking point for me.

Federalism… the beginning of this country it was a brilliant idea that helped bring the country together as a single unit… was the only way to get all 13 colonies to sign on to a national government…..however today the concept is driving the political divisions that are running rampant….each state has become its own tiny ‘duchy’ within the bigger empire.

I gave my thoughts on federalism recently on my op-ed blog, Gulf South Free Press……

The biggest obstacle to any substantial progress in our country is the bicameralism that we live under….I feel we would be better served today with a unicameral system of government…..again my thoughts on this topic……

Sorry about that but I got a bit off topic….my bad!

The biggest drag on our country is the whole concept of states rights which was outlined in the 10th amendment……for those ignorant on the US Constitution…..In American government, states’ rights are the rights and powers reserved by the state governments rather than the national government according to the U.S. Constitution.

Amendment X

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.

That is a very simplistic look and leaves open a whole array of opportunities for abuse… voter suppression, cultural BS, and labor oppression.

The authors of the Constitution were experts in the use of language, and in the construction of legal documents. Under any form of statutory construction, the use of the comma followed by the word “or” presents an alternative to the previous phrase. And the Constitution also clearly differentiates between the states and the people. The use of the word “people” in that last phase presents an alternative to the powers of the states – the power of the people, not of individual states.

The use of the word “people” in the Constitution, from the “We the People” of the Preamble on, means all the citizens of the United States separate from whatever identity they may have with individual states. There was a draft of the Preamble that used the words, “We the States,” but it was changed to emphasize the nature of he Constitution and its effects. The Constitution was intended by the founders to be a compact among the people of the United States, not between the federal government and the state governments, or among the state governments. The people are citizens of the United States, not of individual states.

(Dan Riker)

The Constitution provides for the states to maintain some rights and responsibilities, but none that can trump those of the federal government. The Constitution clearly states that it, and federal laws adopted under it, are the supreme law of the nation. The Constitution provides for no means of changing it except by amendment; no means of dissolution of the union; no right for any state to withdraw from the union; no right for any state to wage war against any other state; no right for any state to engage in foreign affairs; no right to determine, or grant, citizenship; no separate citizenship of states; no right to restrict the rights of citizens to vote.

10th Amendment means that the reserved power is shared between the states and the people. It does not create a body of absolute “states’ rights.” It means that states have the power to act where the federal government has not, and when such acts will not conflict with federal laws or responsibilities.

Destruction from within.

Then there is everybody’s hero Bubba Clinton as president he screwed things up royally with his lame ass vision of redefining Federalism….his program only added to the climate of division…..Clinton did nothing positive for the Party or the country…the only people that benefited from his presidency were his corporate masters….and his legacy is still screwing the country.

His new ideas on Federalism went something like this….

1–establish national goals and allowing states flexibility in choosing means to achieve..

2–waiving national guidelines to enable states to design approaches to problem solving rather than following national guidelines.

3–helping states learn from other’s successes

I would say the GOP has learned Clinton’s ideas all too well.

Right now there is only one way to change this slide into the past…..and that is through a change in the amendment and that would take a Constitutional convention and that will never happen in today’s political climate.

For now we will remain a plot of land with several duchy that have NO interests in a strong nation….only on petty issues that does not strengthen this nation in any way.

It will remain a country of individual good as opposed to the common good….on which this country was originally founded.

We are today betraying the original intent by the Founders and that betrayal is destroying this country from within.

I do not see this division ending in my lifetime…..a sad demise of the original intent.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

8 thoughts on “Those States Rights

  1. As I have mentioned previously, we do have different laws about some things in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. But all Englsh counties have to abide by one set of laws, so I suppose England is ‘federal’. I think the system in the US is crazy, with things like abortion outlawed in one state, and legal in the state next door.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Reblogged this on In Saner Thought and commented:

    This is a post from my secondary blog, Gulf South Free Press……I feel that this subject is driving many of the restrictive policies in many states…..too many laws with NO oversight. Enjoy chuq

  3. Back in the day of the Founders the individual colonies were distinctly different in certain aspects of economic strengths, maritime trade influences, and even a measure off local culture nuances. You can also toss slavery onto that as the colonies where cotton, tobacco, and general agriculture flourished depended on that oppressive institution. There was even climate differences. The Brits provided for the common defense and general administrative and judicial welfare of all the colonies. Essentially booting out the Brits simply substituted another authority to do the same thing, although such government being far more representative to the desires of the citizens. My point is that the average person did indeed have a certain loyalty toward their own state. This became more prevalent as the nation approached the Civil War as secession emphasized the divisiveness, and military units on both sides were mustered primarily by state assemblage over federal compulsory obligation. But since those days our current “modern” society is far less about “state loyalty”. We have such a mobile population that migrating Americans due to jobs changes, family demands, etc., and the mass distribution system of goods and services blurring state differences, we are now far less about great differences between states and far more about a shifting population demanding a national uniformity between states so as not to make living so complex. It seems we are at a domestic point in time where politics remains the focal difference between the states… and within that it’s all about rural vs. urban.
    I think Pete’s mention of Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland is a perfect example of an intense local loyalty separate from the Crown although united by economics and trade, and depending upon the common law and general security offered by London authority. Indeed a Brit version of federalism.
    Personally, I think to the traditional 1776 need for separate states was far more important to them in their days than to us today. Today it’s more an expression of politics.. and an outlet for grass roots politics. In my life alone I have taken up residence in six different states at one time or another so I certainly have no particular state loyalty… but the fact I can travel in each state down the interstates at 65 mph rather than remembering what state has what speed is a subtle but big convenience to me.

    1. This may have had its day in the past but today it is nothing but a path to ruin….and we are running down that path a break neck speed. chuq

  4. Seems like it will be evolutionary over time. By that I mean, states rights will slowly become less influential as our national problems become such that a problem in one state will end up affecting all states, hence you don’t want 50 different ways of dealing with a problem… like Trump did with the pandemic. It was asinine. The response should have been federal from the start.

  5. Thank you for the very useful overview and remembrance on the core, Chuq! Here in Germany the federalism in my opinion is only used to show power, in an archaic way. In the end, the citizens have nothing to say. Sometimes you really feel like the senatorial system in ancient Rome. Best wishes, Michael

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