Saturday, December 12, 2009

Remember State Sovereignty?

Below is the text to the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution:

"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."

This text is similar to a provision in the Articles of Confederation:

"Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegate to the United States, in Congress assembled."

The 10th Amendment states that the federal government is limited only to the powers granted in the Constitution.

In my opinion, the idea of cooperative federalism, which is the system in which Congress and the states work within these days, is unconstitutional. Cooperative federalism is a system in which Congress attempts to exercise its power by offering or encouraging the States to implement national programs, often through funding, or lack of funding. For instance, funds for highway improvement were withheld unless the States implements such national standards such as the national speed limit and the nationwide legal drinking age.

State Sovereignty resolutions have been introduced in 37 states since October 2009. 7 states have passed such resolutions (Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Tennessee).

The 10th Amendment Center is an organization that promotes the idea of state sovereignty and gathers information about actions taken by the states to protest federal involvement in their governments.


  1. The thing is though, the Interstate Commerce Clause in the Constitution has been interpreted to mean that the federal government essentially has final say (especially in anything dealing with issues the cross state lines). This interpretation started almost immediately after the Constitution was ratified and the Founding Fathers took office (if I am not mistaken, Alexander Hamilton used this clause as his reasoning for creating the first national bank). Then there was the whole Civil War which pretty much ended with the federal government on top of the state governments. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for the feds to give up their power and move a lot of it back to the states (or to the people) but I just don’t see that happening any time soon. There is also though a problem with the states having too much power. The Articles of Confederation failed miserably and I’d hate to see us go back to something that resembled that.

  2. The Interstate Commerce Clause states that Congress shall have power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several state, and with Indian Tribes."

    Personally, I do not interpret these words to mean the federal government has the final say in everything other than the powers specifically addressed to them in the Constitution.

    In regards to the National Bank, I am sure Hamilton used this clause, however I do not agree with it.

    And in regards to the Civil War that could really start a conversation that is too deep to get into on this post but I will simply state this in regards to my feelings on the Civil War. If a Union is not worth preserving, why preserve it?

    You're right though, I don't see the federal government handing over any of its power back to the states any time soon. My purpose of this post was merely to educate the few people that do read this post on what the Constitution actually says. You would be surprised how many people, including elected officials, have never actually read the text of the Constitution.

  3. Going to add you to the page right now man.