States Asserting Their Rights, Pushing Feds Back Into Constitutional Box

Posted on March 16, 2010

1


UPDATE: Idaho is now challenging federal authority over the Obamacare debacle; 37 other states considering.

According to the New York Times, states are increasingly pushing to limit the federal government’s authority over them. The feds have been overstepping constitutional limits imposed in the 10th Amendment and elsewhere for many years, and once in a while we see states attempt to push back on a particular issue. What’s different this time is that many states are now pushing back on many issues. Guns, drugs, control of the National Guard are just some of the stakes that states are beginning to throw their full legislative weight into.

“Whether it’s a correctly called a movement, a backlash or political theater, state declarations of their rights — or in some cases denunciations of federal authority, amounting to the same thing — are on a roll.”

Moreover, the effort seems to be bipartisan, with both red and blue states joining in fray. The ones with teeth are those which are signed into law, rather than simple resolutions which are essentially meaningless. Some of the actions currently under way in the states include:

  • South Dakota: Gov. Rounds (R) signed a bill into law declaring the regulation of firearms made and used in South Dakota to be outside the purview of the Federal Government.
  • Wyoming: On Thursday, Gov. Freudenthal (D) signed a bill into law declaring the regulation of firearms made and used in Wyoming to be outside the purview of the Federal Government.
  • Oklahoma: the House of Representatives passed a resolution declaring that the people of Oklahoma should be able to vote on a state constitutional amendment opting out of any federally mandated health care programs.
  • Utah: the legislature declared that any federally mandated health insurance to be null and void in Utah, without the approval of the legislature.
  • Utah: the legislature declared Utah has the right to claim federal lands in that state under eminent domain.
  • Utah: the legislature resolved the “inviolable sovereignty of the State of Utah under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.”
  • Utah: the legislature declared that federal law enforcement authority can be limited by the state, even on federal land in the state.
  • Utah: (last month) Gov. Herbert (R) signed a bill into law declaring the regulation of firearms made and used in South Dakota to be outside the purview of the Federal Government.
  • Alabama: considering a bill that would assert local police authority to supersede federal law enforcement.
  • Tennessee: considering a bill that would assert local police authority to supersede federal law enforcement.
  • Washington: considering a bill that would assert local police authority to supersede federal law enforcement.
  • Montana: (last year) signed a bill into law declaring the regulation of firearms made and used in Montana to be outside the purview of the Federal Government.
  • Rhode Island: considering a bill that would authorize the governor to take control of its National Guard troops, arguing that the federal government’s deployment orders have exceeded their authority.
  • Vermont: considering a bill that would authorize the governor to take control of its National Guard troops, arguing that the federal government’s deployment orders have exceeded their authority.
  • Wisconsin: considering a bill that would authorize the governor to take control of its National Guard troops, arguing that the federal government’s deployment orders have exceeded their authority.

Some of the issues the states have raised, such as control of federal land would seem to stand little chance in the courts. However, there are several issues that demonstrate legitimate examples of the federal government operating completely outside constitutional limitations. Control of the National Guard (a proxy for the militia), intrastate commerce involving guns, and other issues, I believe, stand a chance of rolling back some of the (il)legal precedents set by FDR’s court.

Posted in: Uncategorized