The Meaning of Federalism

by Clarence B. Carson, Fee.org

Several developments have contributed to making the meaning of federalism obscure. Some are old, some recent. Some may be more or less innocent; others are destructive of federalism itself. One of these that may be more or less innocent is the habit of referring to the United States government as the “federal government.”

Whether it is innocent or not, it does tend to confuse the unwary. These United States have a federal system of government. The system embraces both the general government and those of the states. Thus, both the United States government and the state government are correctly alluded to as “federal” governments.

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Feds violated 10th Amendment. Again.

As It Stands by Dave Stancliff/For the Eureka Times-Standard

A landmark decision for all Californian’s quietly made history on August 20th in a Santa Cruz courtroom.

For the first time since 1996, when the Compassionate Use Act was passed, the federal authorities have been charged with violating the 10th Amendment for harassing medical marijuana patients and state authorities.

The case of Santa Cruz vs. Mukasey, was heard by U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel, who said the Bush Administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit by Santa Cruz city and county officials, and the Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana (WAMM), wasn’t going to happen.

In a recent telephone interview with Alan Hopper, an ACLU counsel familiar with the case, I asked him what came next?

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Leave the Drinking Age to the States

“The federal government should stop trying to do everything, which it doesn’t do well, and start doing, and doing better, the few tasks that only it can handle,” says Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate for president.

“For instance, Uncle Sam has become a nanny-state, telling us what we can eat and how old we must be to drink. More than 100 university presidents have called on Washington to reduce the drinking age of 21. Maybe they are right and maybe they are wrong, but this isn’t a job for Congress. It should be the decision of the 50 states, which have very different histories, traditions, and views of such issues.”

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Were the States Sovereign Nations?

by Brian McCandliss, LewRockwell.com

A defining – but so far unasked – question regarding the Civil War is the political status of the states: specifically, was the “United States of America” indeed, as our popular Pledge of Allegiance claims, “one nation, indivisible?” Or was it, rather, a union of sovereign nations, bound only to each other by mere treaty, as with any other treaty – such as the current United Nations? (As a point of fact, the term “union” is the only term used in the text of the Constitution to refer to the United States, while the word “nation” never appears a single time).

This question seems to be the proverbial “elephant in the room” of American law and history, for its answer is key in defining a state’s right of secession: this question marks the difference between, for example, Boston seceding from Massachusetts, and Spain seceding from the United Nations. While in the first instance, few would question the legal right of state officials to use force in preventing local urban inhabitants from seceding with a state’s city, such an exercise against a sovereign nation in the latter example would be (hopefully) viewed as nothing short of ruthless imperialism equivalent to that of Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler or Genghis Khan.

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Oklahoma: Standing up for State Sovereignty

by Rich Hand

As usual, Walter Williams hits the nail on the head. This article references a referendum introduced in the state legislature of Oklahoma to put the Federal government on notice that it has over stepped its bounds based on the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The founders would have never been able to get the constitution passed by the states if they could foresee the current actions of the federal government.

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Can We Ever Return to the 10th Amendment?

Guest Commentary from Constitution Daily

General George H. Thomas earned himself the nickname The Rock of Chickamauga after his defense of September 20, 1863 saved the Union Army from annihilation. The battle of Chickamauga was a Confederate victory, but the losses to the South were enormous. General Thomas’ determination to protect the Union retreat saved the opportunity for General Sherman to later break the rebel hold on the major city of Chattanooga and proceed to scorch Georgia.

In the aftermath of the battle, a chaplain asked General Thomas how he like the states arranged for burial in the new cemetery. Thomas replied he wanted them all mixed together. “I’m tired of states’ rights.”

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A Rebellion Brewing in Oklahoma

by Walter E. Williams

One of the unappreciated casualties of the War of 1861, erroneously called a Civil War, was its contribution to the erosion of constitutional guarantees of state sovereignty. It settled the issue of secession, making it possible for the federal government to increasingly run roughshod over Ninth and 10th Amendment guarantees.

A civil war, by the way, is a struggle where two or more parties try to take over the central government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis no more wanted to take over Washington, D.C., than George Washington wanted to take over London. Both wars are more properly described as wars of independence.

Oklahomans are trying to recover some of their lost state sovereignty by House Joint Resolution 1089, introduced by State Rep. Charles Key.

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States Rights Alive in California

Gay Marriage, Medical Marijuana, the Environment and more.

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.” 

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The Tenth Amendment and the Joy of Federalism

Guest Commentary from VirginiaConservative

(or I don’t care how they do things in Massachusetts).

Ask someone what is the most important amendment to the constitution.  If he were a liberal, he would likely answer “the right to free speech”, the 1st.   If he were a conservative, he would likely answer “the right to keep and bear arms”, the 2nd.

Although all amendments are important (or at least those found in the Bill of Rights), I have another suggestion.  For those who fear the encroachment of an ever-expanding national government, might I recommend the 10th? 

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