I believe," said Texas Governor Rick Perry, "that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states' rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union."
The Oklahoma Legislature has been thinking along these lines as well. From House Joint Resolution 1003, 2009:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:
This resolution passed the House in February, and the Senate on the 15th of April in the midst of Tea Parties. I have no reason to believe Governor Henry will actually sign the damned thing, though. And even if you could get many more states on the bandwagon, Washington isn't going to pay attention.
Which means that tougher measures are called for. Put me down in favor of Randy Barnett's Federalism Amendment, which reads like this:
Section 1: Congress shall have power to regulate or prohibit any activity between one state and another, or with foreign nations, provided that no regulation or prohibition shall infringe any enumerated or unenumerated right, privilege or immunity recognized by this Constitution.
This covers a lot of ground. I find myself thinking about Justice Clarence Thomas' dissent to the Supreme Court's ruling in Gonzales v. Raich, in which he said: "If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison's assurance to the people of New York that the 'powers delegated' to the Federal Government are 'few and defined', while those of the States are 'numerous and indefinite'." It's hard not to believe that recent Administrations, in either cooperation or conspiracy (take your pick) with the Congress and the courts, have done their damnedest to mock Madison.
The trick, of course, will be in persuading three-fourths of the states to propose this in convention, because there isn't a chance in hell that the government we have has the slightest bit of interest in curbing its own powers.
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Copyright © 2009 by Charles G. Hill