US Constitution Discussion, Part 21: Amendment X

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Martin Blank
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US Constitution Discussion, Part 21: Amendment X

Post by Martin Blank » Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:24 pm

Previous discussion part: US Constitution Discussion, Part 20: Amendment IX

Articles and Sections are offset by bold text; and underlined text has been modified, superseded, or repealed by Amendments, and generally are no longer in effect.

Article 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.


Ratification completed December 15, 1791
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Post by Martin Blank » Mon Oct 06, 2003 3:40 pm

Similar to Amendment IX, this amendment sought to clarify the purpose of the Constitution. The states would still hold power over their citizens except in certain specific, narrowly-defined cases listed in the Constitution. It allows the states, with certain restrictions, to run themselves as they see fit, with as little interference from the federal government as possible. This has led to some clashes on occasion, with the states and the federal government coming down with opposite interpretations of law and Constitution, requiring the Supreme Court to get in between them. Most notably, this happened when southern states wanted to segregate whites and non-whites; they felt that as long as they provided what were deemed to be "equal" facilities for non-whites, they were complying with the Constitution. The federal government saw things in another way, and this led to numerous conflicts at the street and legal levels.
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Post by Fixer » Mon Oct 06, 2003 5:05 pm

Yay for catch-all provisions!

And since the representatives from the states have to ratify additional ammendments to the Constitution, the states cannot really lose any power unless they agree to it.
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Post by chaos42 » Mon Oct 06, 2003 5:42 pm

There should be a tombstone at the head of this ammendment. The government has pretty much stomped all over it in their steady rise to become more powerfull. There are so many topics that you can go into on it...One that has been discussed quite frequently on this forum is the issue of drugs. States such as California have chosen through public vote to legalize the use of medicinal marijuanna. The DEA and the Justice dept step up and say "You can't do that!!!" So we have a situation where according to California it is legal but Ashcroft and the Justice Department can and has prosecuted doctors and patients. The same has been happening (though slowly reversing) with industrial hemp. I remember back in the late 90's Colorado was trying to legalize the growth of industrial hemp. Again, the DEA stepped up and threatened to prosecute. Now some states are able to grow test plots through universities so that the federal government can see if they want to change their stance.

I could probably go on for a couple hours on issues where the Federal Government has taken it upon themselves to legislate outside of their Constitutionaly set boundries and said "screw you" to the states. I know that the term "States Rights" has been labeled by liberal groups as meaning that you are a racist, etc but I am certainly pro states rights. I feel that our Government has and is continuing to expand beyond the boundries set by the Constitution and abridging the rights of the states and the people...

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Post by Deacon » Mon Oct 06, 2003 7:27 pm

I actually agree (mostly) with chaos42.

Just one correction: the DEA is just a law enforcement agency. It does not make law. Its job is to enforce laws your congressmen create.
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Post by lordsith » Tue Oct 07, 2003 1:19 am

[quote="Fixer";p="175180"]Yay for catch-all provisions!

And since the representatives from the states have to ratify additional ammendments to the Constitution, the states cannot really lose any power unless they agree to it.[/quote]

Unfortunately, the supreme court has done a marvelous job of removing any real powers from the states. The fed itself has done a fantastic job of getting whatever they want from the states simply by waving huge sums of money :: then only giving the money to the states who follow their demands.

blech.

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Post by Martin Blank » Tue Oct 07, 2003 1:48 am

The Supreme Court has sided with the states a bit recently, including when it decided that state governments couldn't be sued by its employees for not complying with the ADA. There is a gradual shift in that direction.
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Post by Seir » Tue Oct 07, 2003 1:54 am

Well, there is a reason that there are three branches of the government which serve the purpose of keeping each other in check. Now if I remember correctly, it was the Supreme Court that ruled the various Jim Crow laws of the 60's South as unconstitutional.
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Post by lordsith » Tue Oct 07, 2003 4:26 am

....MB, things have always see-sawed back and forth on issues of state/federal gov't powers (see 1st nationalist, dual federalist, 2nd nationalist periods), but its important to note that ::
Ratification of 16th and 17th amendments
National emergencies (depression mainly, and WW2, Cold War, 9/11)
Judicial Revolution (Sup Crts change of established interpretations of rights guaranteed by the constitution.)


Fed judiciary has given themselves unlimited power :: federal, state, and local laws have been struck down, state and local gov't functions such as schools and prisons have been taken over by the fed courts, state constitutions have been rewritten at will.

Worst of all, the 10th amendment has been written off as a simple truism, with no real application.

The result is that the fed has expanded its impact into all areas of of individuals lives, where it has no place.

-that is all, im writing a paper on this if i seem unusally prepared.

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Post by chaos42 » Tue Oct 07, 2003 1:47 pm

[quote="Deacon";p="175295"]I actually agree (mostly) with chaos42.

Just one correction: the DEA is just a law enforcement agency. It does not make law. Its job is to enforce laws your congressmen create.[/quote]

I understand this. The reason I mentioned the DEA and the Justice Dept. is that they enforce federal laws and are depts. that, along with others such as the ATF, FBI, etc enforce unconstititional federal laws.

Note I said:
I could probably go on for a couple hours on issues where the Federal Government has taken it upon themselves to legislate
I do understand that the laws enforced are passed by the legislative branch, executive order, or by virtual bench law by the Supreme or Circuit Corurts.

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Post by Mr.Shroom » Thu Oct 09, 2003 12:58 pm

[quote="lordsith";p="175745"]...that is all, im writing a paper on this if i seem unusally prepared.[/quote]

Post it when you do. Methinks were both on the same wavelength, but I'd rather you prove yourself a fool rather than having me open my mouth and having the label slapped on us both.

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Post by chaos42 » Thu Oct 09, 2003 6:57 pm

I would be interested in seeing your paper too.

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Re: US Constitution Discussion, Part 21: Amendment X

Post by lordsith » Sat Oct 11, 2003 3:53 am

OOOO kay!

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Federalism Paper
10-8-03

Over all time, there has always been an ongoing battle between good and evil. The same could be said of federalism and socialism (or anti-federalism), the debate over governmental control. While few are biased enough to think that one side is good or evil, much can be said for the effectiveness of both agendas, and the consistency with constitutionality. The debate generally comes down to the issues regarding the 10th amendment, responsibility of the national government, and the bounds of the judicial system. What is required at this major shifting point in American politics is the use of reason and sound judgment to return some complete power to the states, while allowing the national government to maintain its sovereignty and control of the Union.
The issue of federalism, the balance of state-national power is not one to be taken lightly. As Peter Woll, of American Government: readings and cases puts it, “No subject attracted greater attention or was more carefully analyzed at the time of the framing of the Constitution than federalism. The Federalist devoted a great deal of time and space to proving the advantages of a federal form of government relative to a confederacy, since the Constitution was going to take some of the power traditionally within the jurisdiction of the state governments and give it to a newly constituted national government,” (Woll). This in mind, the opposing sides can be addressed.
Before an in depth look at federalism and its opponents can be done, an investigation of the intent of the founders. Rather than guessing, it is simple to goto the source of the Constitution, namely the Federalist Papers #17 written by Hamilton, which addresses the authority of the government over individual citizens, as well as the question of national government usurping state authority. Hamilton quickly disperses the notion of a government overstepping its bounds by taking state powers, “It may be said, that it would tend to render the government of the Union too powerful, and to enable it to absorb in itself those residuary authorities, which it might be judged proper to leave with the States for local purposes. Allowing the utmost latitude to the love of power, which any reasonable man can require, I confess I am at a loss to discover what temptation the persons entrusted with the administration of the general government could ever feel to divest the states of the authorities of that description. The regulation of the mere domestic police of a state appears to me to hold out slender allurements to ambition. Commerce, finance, negociation [sic], and war seem to comprehend all the objects, which have charms for minds governed by that passion; and all the powers necessary to these objects out in the first instance to be lodged in the national depository. The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same state, the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things in short which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction.” This statement by Hamilton can be shortened to show that the founders believed, erroneously, the government simply would not even consider encroaching on the affairs of the state in such a way that it would remove powers of the state and allow national control. The reasoning behind this argument is that no national government would be concerned in state day to day operations, and would rather focus on commerce and finance. We can see the intent of America’s founding fathers in a later passage, however the intent and hopes are clouded by dreams of a federalist nation, “It will always be far more easy for the State governments to encroach upon the national authorities, than for the national government to encroach upon the State authorities” (Hamilton). Hamilton obviously did not envision a nation so interwoven in foreign affairs, or a generation of people so dependent on the national government that they did not work, and rather received weekly paychecks for not working, and free health care provided by a national government. It is this problem, the balance between state and national control, is covered in 2 essays in “Points of View”.
In Government Works: Why Americans Need the Feeds, Milton J. Esman argues that Americans need the federal government, and the current setup gives all the powers to the states which is required, finding somewhat of a federalism for the twenty first century. First, the language of the constitution is purposely vague, allowing for adjustments and variations depending on emerging trends, or needs. For example, it is during periods of crisis: economic depressions, wars, and disasters of all types that the national government expands its powers to control the situation (Esman). The most recent example of expansion of national powers during times of duress is the Patriot Act, passed following the tragedies of the world trade center bombing on September 11, 2001. The Patriot Act allowed for widespread expansion of national powers, such that suspected terrorists could experience a: suspension of right to privacy, elimination of one’s right to free speech, as well as a removal of speedy/fair trial by jury of peers, Such acts were said to be necessary to allow the national government to protect its citizens from the present danger of terrorism. While some would argue that the expansion of national powers and interests into the international realm would diminish the powers of the local governments, something quite the opposite has occurred. It is described that, “…states have maintained unchallenged control over a vast array of responsibilities that effect the daily lives of their residents. These include the bulk of civil, criminal, and domestic relations law; most phases of law enforcement, elementary and secondary education; most roads, water supply systems, and other public works; regulation of and assistance to all units of local government…” (Esman).
It is also important to discuss the size of the governments in question. Esman points out the growth of state and local governments since 1960: federal employment has increased 20%, where state employment increased 160%. Federal spending has increased 317%, where state spending has increased a whopping 341%. This shows that states have not dissipated from the forefront of politics and power, but rather increased in power and bounds, or as Esman puts it, “their powers have not been usurped, nor have they withered away, nor have they been reduced to mere administrative agents of Washington,” (Esman). Esman’s main plank throughout this essay is to assure the reader that the national government is not running away with power, the balance of power still exists, and rests in the hands of the people.


Fed up with the Feds: Whatever Happened to the Federal System? written by Douglas Seay and Wesley Smith details the conservative view that the national government is growing too strong too quickly, and steps must be taken to protect civil liberties and the basis that our U.S. formed. Before a discussion is undergone to flesh out the idea promoted in Seay’s and Smith’s article, the issues previously brought up must be considered.
While it is important that the national government have the power to act when required in times of emergency, never have plans been put in place to revoke the acts which are enacted during these times of duress. Several examples of an abuse of power ongoing from a law passed during an emergency are the New Deal legislation: welfare, social security, and a large public works program. Without going into the legitimacy of socialistic reforms still in place from generations ago, it is not difficult to see how the laws passed during the times of stress on our nation was used to promote an increase in power by the national government. It is still unseen if the horrendous breach of the bill of rights called the “Patriot Act” will be repealed once a working plan to fight the war on terror is put into place.
The second issue that must be responded to is the claim by Esman that, “states have maintained unchallenged control over a vast array of responsibilities that effect the daily lives of their residents.” This simply is not true. How can a state maintain complete (unchallenged) control over a broad base of responsibilities if states are dependant upon federal aid to support those programs? The national government can tax its citizens without regard to any census or enumeration, and so it has a large amount of income each year. This income often can go back to the states in the form of aid, to support only programs which follow the guidelines put in place by the national government, or the proverbial carrot on the string. This also explains the increase in budget by states when compared to federal budget.
As Seay and Smith argue that the unfunded mandates to the States result in disproportional spending by the States in comparison to aid from the federal government and the states own abilities to tax their citizens, “Federal mandates are requirements laid down by Washington, through legislation, executive regulation or order, or judicial fiat, which force state and local governments to undertake certain programs or provide certain services at their own costs,” (Seay, Smith). Logically, if States must spend a portion of their own budget to support unfunded mandates, then there must be cutbacks in other areas. This is where the “race to the bottom” comes in. Commonly used to cut down supporters of federalism, it is actually a positive. Were the national government not to tax illegally (ie: 16th amendment, see “The Law That Never Was”, written by Bill Benson), and allow State governments to support local governments needs without worrying about paying for national mandates, then each state’s citizens would have enough income to pay increased State taxes, and States would be able to focus an appropriate amount of budget towards the lower class and needy.
Seay and Smith also detail the high cost to Democracy that has been a result of a movement away from a federalist system, “Laws are made by citizens and their elected representatives; they are not supposed to be subject to the whims of individuals,” (Seay, Smith). These high costs include, but are not limited to: an untethered judiciary and increased taxes on an already taxed people (Seay, Smith).
The solution has already been expressed earlier, and Seay and Smith outline their plans to solve the issues that federalism faces: Devolve the power to the states by returning taxes in the form of tax cuts. Next, hold a Constitutional convention on federalism to allow the states to use their Constitutional right to make amendments to get back on track. Third, revive the 10th amendment to restore the power granted to the states. Last, the states must curb the federal judiciary to stop the power grabbing that has been a constant in the chambers of judges nationwide. Most importantly, repeal the 16th and 17th amendments, which will return constitutionality to the balance between States and the national government.
It is most important that the nation stays united throughout this process, as we stand for truth, liberty, and justice.















WORKS CITED


Esman, Milton J. “Government Works: Why Americans Need the Feds” Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics. Ed. Robert E. Dilerico and Allan S. Hammock. New York, NY. McGraw Hill, 2004. 70-76.

Seay, Douglas and Smith, Wesley. “Fed up with the Feds: Whatever Happened to the Federal System?” Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics. Ed. Robert E. Dilerico and Allan S. Hammock. New York, NY. McGraw Hill, 2004. 57-69.

Woll, Peter. “American Government: Readings and Cases”. Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1987.

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Post by Mr.Shroom » Sat Oct 11, 2003 4:26 am

Tip: Never start a non-philisophical paper with even a mild comparision upon good and evil. One could view that as author bias and invalidate your paper beforehand unjustly. Theres a better way to have made such an comparision.


I was hoping that this would be more singular opinion that a report on various opinions, but perhaps I was mistaken upon the intent of your paper. However, as such, it doesn't truly address my confusion over the matter of how the federal judiciary has actually violated their scripted restrictions and\or 'given themselves unlimited power', though it seems you had a case there.

I guess not.

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Post by lordsith » Sat Oct 11, 2003 4:46 am

:: few are biased enough to think that one side is good or evil ::
I was hoping to dispell any thoughts that i was going at it from one stance or another. ah well.

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