The Case for a Federalism Amendment

A fascinating piece in The Wall Street Journal making the case for a Federalism Amendment.

In response to an unprecedented expansion of federal power, citizens have held hundreds of “tea party” rallies around the country, and various states are considering “sovereignty resolutions” invoking the Constitution’s Ninth and Tenth Amendments. For example, Michigan’s proposal urges “the federal government to halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the Constitution of the United States.”

While well-intentioned, such symbolic resolutions are not likely to have the slightest impact on the federal courts, which long ago adopted a virtually unlimited construction of Congressional power. But state legislatures have a real power under the Constitution by which to resist the growth of federal power: They can petition Congress for a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution.

Article V provides that, “on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states,” Congress “shall call a convention for proposing amendments.” Before becoming law, any amendments produced by such a convention would then need to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.

An amendments convention is feared because its scope cannot be limited in advance. The convention convened by Congress to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation produced instead the entirely different Constitution under which we now live. Yet it is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel.

Read the rest. I’m looking forward to the legal comments.

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One thought on “The Case for a Federalism Amendment

  1. It’s bullcrap. There’s no need to change the constitution and frankly nothing scares me more than having the liberals who are now in power to get their grubby hands on it.

    Like I wrote a few weeks ago, don’t like the strings attached to federal money, then don’t take the money. The states are not forced to accept it.

    The only other federal power out there are those in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments dealing with civil rights, the commerce clause dealing with interstate commerce, and the money clause dealing with federal spending.

    It would be perverse for anyone to argue against the Supremacy Clause when it comes to the reconstruction era amendments. It was those amendments that got us much of the civil rights legislation against the racist governments of the south. The commerce clause got us all civil rights legislation against private entities, the FLSA, etc. I have no problem with those and only a putz would stand to oppose those types of laws. In fact, as it stands, the states are permitted to provide their own laws and provide even greater protection than federal laws so long as the federal law is not intended to be the exclusive remedies.

    All I can say, insofar all these folks out there who have a bug up their bum on the constitution, should read the writings of Alexander Hamilton, and should read the definitive book on Hamilton by Cernow.

    The feds when they abuse their powers under the constitution then have to face the court. Hence why many federal laws have been struck down because they exceeded the scope of Congress’ authority.

    But other than the above, the states have plenty of plenary powers. But at the end, it’s all about the money. Heck, the states have the power to tax and raise their own revenue. they can tell the feds to shove it and can raise their own revenue, but they don’t have the courage to do it.

    I just wish all these so called pundits would think first. Can you imagine what the libs would do if they had their chance at proposing amendments to the constitution? Fundamental right to abortion on demand paid by the government; fundamental right to government healthcare, fundamental right to marriage between anyone and anything; etc. Once it’s in the constitution, you’re stuck with it. Caselaw can change through time, but once it’s in the big enchilada, only a future amendment can change it, which is hard to do. Hence why the amendment process is as hard as it is.

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