For many years, presidents have been assuming more and more power for themselves and for the federal government, but California has been taking the lead recently in the battle for States Rights against this growth Federal power.
Thomas Elias notes this trend in his recent Pasadena Star-News article, “California a key states’ rights battleground.”Â
Here’s an excerpt:
the states’ rights argument has been essentially turned on its head under a U.S. Supreme Court decision and a series of federal administrations that have tried to allow citizens – and some wild animals – fewer rights than California and other states want to give them.
Add in environmental issues, where this state leads the fight for tough cutbacks on greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation of worldwide climate change while the national government pushes the doctrine that federal laws and decisions should always take precedence over state decisions.
But resistance is alive and well – in some situations, at least – in the State of California.Â Medical Marijuana continues to “grow” – so to speak, but other issues are moving to the forefront as well.Â Elias writes:
The latest battle involved the U.S. Navy vs. California gray whales and the many dolphins that inhabit Pacific Ocean waters off California.
The state Coastal Commission and private wildlife protection organizations sued the Navy a year ago, trying to get warships to shut down some powerful submarine-detecting sonars during training exercises in the strait between Santa Catalina and San Clemente islands. Use of that sonar has been associated with deaths of the big marine mammals that pass through those waters during annual migrations.
The reality here is that the Constitution doesn’t authorize the federal government to intervene in such local affairs.
A States Rights/10th Amendment viewpoint would be much different than what we see today.Â Each state could determine the policies that were best for their own areasâ€¦and would be held responsible for the outcome of their action(s).
Under an administration willing to claim almost anything – including an absurd assertion by Vice President Dick Cheney that his office is not part of the executive branch of government despite having assigned space in the White House – to increase its power, it is vital for states to fight back against wrongheaded federal actions.
That’s why California is now a key battleground in an entirely new states’ rights battle, one that will continue for many years if presidents keep wishing they were dictators.
As California succeeds, hopefully we’ll see other states follow their lead.