States' Rights

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
#1
OK, what I'm really looking for here is an explanation from a States' Rights advocate as to why State sovereignty is so important. Are not all legislators, State and Federal, elected by the people?

Pretend I don't know anything about Constitutional law here and give me the basics.
 

pro2A

Hell, It's about time!
#2
The way the Constitution was written the states had the rights. Each state is basically it's own entity, loosely tied together by the federal government with a common purpose. Hence the name "United" States, we are a nation, but the states hold the power. The 9th and 10th amendments clearly state that.

9th - "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

10th - "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."

Basically that says that anything not granted to the federal government in articles 1, 2 or 3 of the Constitution are left to the states or the people.

The federal government is supposed to be there to make sure the states don't violate the rights of American citizens (and vice versa). Senators were originally appointed by the states to represent the state on the national level to make sure this did not happen, a balance of power if you will. States rights were so important to the founders that they wanted a mechanism to protect the states if the federal government ever got out of control. When the 17th Amendment was passed it shifted the balance of power away from the states in to the hands of the people via popular vote (we are a Republic, not a Democracy). In essence the senators became part of the problem and not the solution. The house of representatives was designed so the people had a voice in Washington, and the senators were there to speak for the state.

State sovereignty is important because it's the states that are supposed to protect rights. The Constitution grants the state powers in order to oppose a strong federal government. When the balance is shifted away from the states (which is happening) you have too strong of a federal government that will trample the rights of the states. Because of the 17th amendment, the states really have no way to stop what is going on in Washington, therefore they must address the issue on the state level... which is what the constitution grants the states and also what we are seeing in Arizona.

Just my .02 cents.
 
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CaptainObvious

Son of Liberty
V.I.P.
#3
The federal government's authority is limited to those powers specifically enumerated in Article I Sec. 8 of the Constitution and nothing else. All other powers are reserved to the people and the states under the 10th amendment. The framers intended much more to be regulated by each state rather than the federal government. The thinking was that state's are much more local and would thus be more responsive to constituent's needs than the federal government. Thus people were free to move to a state that is more in line with one's politics.

Where all this federal power has come from has been due to an increasingly broad definition of the Commerce Clause since the FDR administration from cases such as Wickard v. Filburn. Up until the mid-90's when the SC struck down the Gun Free School Zone Act in Lopez v. U.S. the Court had not struck down a single piece of legislation as being unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause.

EDIT: I did want to add, to agree with Lopez doesn't necessarily mean one disagrees with the Gun Free School Zone Act, only that IF it is to be the law, the state should pass it, not the federal government.
 
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MenInTights

not a plastic bag
#4
From a practical perspective:

1 - Money will be spent more wisely and without corruption when the powers of government are closest to you. Example: If my kids school was entirely supported by our community and my state I believe it would run much more effectively and we would all have much greater control of what was taught.

2 - Regionalism. Does anyone in NYC really have any idea what's best for me in SC?

3 - Testing grounds. The framers envisioned competitive states that would test new ideas that would either fail or thrive and grow to other states. Maybe universal healthcare will work. Lets let Massachusetts try it for a decade and if it works, other states can adopt it.

4 - Corruption. I touched on this already, but governors are much more accountable when they work down the street than when they work 1000 miles away.

Not that there's not a need for Federal power, but I believe the power of government is best managed when its local.
 
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MenInTights

not a plastic bag
#5
I am curious if anyone has an argument against the 3 post here about State's Rights. In the end, I think this is something most everyone can agree on regardless of political affiliation.
 

rainbow5555

Registered Member
#6
I'm actually not heavily for this whole getting rid of corruption, Because wihout this corruption I cannot get myself out of any trouble with the law. Without corruption it would be harder for me too abuse the legal system, Which may benefit everyone else, but it does not benefit me, So I m only against corrupton which is more harmful to me than it is beneficial.
 

Gavik

Registered Member
#7
1 - Money will be spent more wisely and without corruption when the powers of government are closest to you. Example: If my kids school was entirely supported by our community and my state I believe it would run much more effectively and we would all have much greater control of what was taught.
What if you lived in the poorest community/state in the country? Richer areas would get better education/services by default, strengthening the idea of an American aristocracy. The children from rich families would automatically have a massive advantage.

2 - Regionalism. Does anyone in NYC really have any idea what's best for me in SC?
If you're talking about the US congress, then you both have equal say. Also, why not just succeed?

3 - Testing grounds. The framers envisioned competitive states that would test new ideas that would either fail or thrive and grow to other states. Maybe universal healthcare will work. Lets let Massachusetts try it for a decade and if it works, other states can adopt it.
Look at Hawaii's health care program.

4 - Corruption. I touched on this already, but governors are much more accountable when they work down the street than when they work 1000 miles away.
Relative location doesn't really matter for accountability. You might be able to shout at them easier, but the media and other investigating pressures they face are proportionally the same to what the president deals with.

It might be faster to buy 100 US senators to further your agenda, but there's less attention to be given for possible corruption to state legislators. And considering the trend of media consolidation, fewer independent, local news outlets are left to investigate any allegations. I'd say national and state politicians are equally corruptible.
 
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