Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Myth #24: The Federal Government's Job is to Tell The States What They Can and Can't Do

This is the Twenty-Fourth Myth in the series: 25 Myths of the U.S. Constitution.

Note: These articles later were updated and combined into my first book: 25 Myths of the United States Constitution.

By Douglas V. Gibbs

At an event where I was hosting a Constitution Booth, after an intense conversation regarding the 14th Amendment, a woman said to me, "You people have it all wrong. The federal government is there to tell the States what they can and can't do."

The woman's misunderstanding of one of the most basic principles of the U.S. Constitution stems from erroneous thoughts regarding the Supremacy Clause in Article VI. She believes that anything the federal government legislates, says, or does supersedes all state legislation or regulatory actions. And this belief is not isolated to a small group of unknowing citizens, but belief in that fallacy includes members of the United States Government, as well.

When the Obama administration decided to sue the State of Arizona over its immigration law, the argument used by the Justice Department was in line with this flawed thinking regarding the Supremacy Clause.

Eric Holder's brief stated that although the federal immigration laws that Arizona was trying to enforce were indeed on the books, based on the Supremacy Clause, Arizona could not enforce federal immigration law unless the federal government decided to as well. For Arizona to enforce federal law when the U.S. Government chooses not to placed Arizona, according to Holder, as being "contrary" to the federal government.

That is not what the Supremacy Clause says, and for that matter the notion that the federal government is there to tell the States what they can and can't do is patently false. In fact, it is the other way around.

Originally, the States held all of the authorities, and the union was a loose agreement that joined the States into a confederation. The union under the Articles of Confederation was not much unlike today's European Union.

The Constitution created the federal government and through that process the States "granted" some of their powers to the federal government so that it may properly function. The States let the federal government exist, and the States let the federal government have a few of their authorities. The States are needed to ratify amendments, and before the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, the States' representatives in the U.S. Senate were needed to ratify treaties, and approve of any nominations of judges or executive officers.

In short, the federal government could not do much at all without the approval of the States. The States are the final arbiters of the U.S. Constitution, so in truth, the States have the ability to tell the federal government what it can and can't do.

The States are supposed to have nearly all the power, and the federal government is supposed to be limited to the powers the States are willing to grant to it.

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined." --James Madison in Federalist No. 45

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

Myth #2: Federal Law Supersedes State Law - Political Pistachio

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another thing that causes a huge misconception, is an inaccurate understanding of Romans XIII, that we are to submit to all government reguardless of how tyrannical they become.

That has been done for the last 50 to 60 years, and coupled with the 501(C)3 requirements, it allows the government to violate the 1st Amendment Establishment Clause, and there-by set up a false pretense to base a flawed, at best, ideology, and the people are then easily misled by media that is the benefactor, and promoter of deception, and the American clergy thinks it is forbidden to speak on such thing unless they dare risk their tax exempt status.

This why we have a huge portion of the population believing as the woman you spoke with, who thinks that the National Government is all powerful, and the States are but sub-serviant provinces to the Caesar in DC (Rome) so to speak.

When in reality, the States, and the people created this leviathan, that was only given a few enumerated powers, but like Seymour The Man-eating Plant in Little Shop Of Horrors, it has grown to the point, that it is now consuming those who fed it and let it get to this point.

In truth, my great grandparents, and grandparents, and parents should have stood up and stopped this, but with things like Wilson's Sedition Act(1917), and Trading With The Enemy Act(1917), my grand parents use to tell me, on political topics to watch what I say, or they will come and get you. And to my knowledge, neither has been rescinded even though they were supposed to be after WWI ended.

Of note, Wilson also imprisoned clergymen who spoke out against the War in Europe and America's involvement. Just like Lincoln did in unCivil War.