I bet you didn’t know it needed defending?
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
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.
This is a statement made by the Federal Government about the extent of its power and where its power ends. It was by this Amendment (before the 14th) that made it so that states had established religions even when the Federal Government could not.
It is also by this amendment that many states are taking more actions to protect themselves from the actions of the Federal Government.
States Are Different Entities
States were always meant to be different entities, with different groups of people that came together for Federal purposes. Though you wouldn’t hear anyone call themselves a Carolina-American, the idea that states could have separate laws goes back to the beginning of the Union. Many of the states had different established churches as one example.
There is strength in difference.
Which is why, as the country becomes more polarized, certain states have decided to do different things—create “same-sex marriage”, legalize drugs for medicinal purposes, institute socialized medicine, have different abortion control laws, have the death penalty for capital offenses, etc. And this, in itself, is all fine and good. There are laws that protect other states from having to abide by other state’s rules where it make sense.
The problem comes into play when the Federal Government makes a ruling on something controversial, because it demands that everyone and all states comply.
For example, abortion. I believe that we might see some states be pro-abortion and some pro-life today if this went through the legislature rather than the judicial system.
Now, there are cases where the Federal Government should act. Slavery is wrong. It was wrong when the country was founded and it’s still wrong today. So having the Federal government declare that it wasn’t up to the states to decide1 whether slavery was right or wrong does hold to first principles—that all men were created by God with the right to life, liberty and property.
However, when you come to the current debates and issues, I’m not sure that a clear moral case can be made for why states should have to be put into the position of supporting something foisted upon them by the Federal Government.
We’ve talked at length about DOMA—the protection of the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman on the Federal level—but the current move by the states is to protect Health Care Choice, or as they’re pitching it, protecting their citizens from socialism:
The proposed Kansas amendment preserves the right of individuals to pay directly for medical care — something that is not allowed in single-payer countries such as Canada. It also prohibits any individual from being penalized for not purchasing government-defined insurance.
Under the amendment, any state attempt to require an individual to purchase health insurance–or forbid an individual from purchasing services outside of the government-established health care system–would be rendered unconstitutional.2
This is another interesting State’s Right case, where I’m sure, if it were stressed, would find itself in the Supreme Court. The result of that would have impacts on the whole country.
So which way do you think things should go? Should the Federal Government be making one-size-fits-all decisions or should those decisions be made locally?
- Prior to the War Between the States, the South were pro-slavery the North was anti-slavery. The battle was fought, however, over States Rights—could the states say what they wanted to happen in their land or not. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
- CNS News