Monday, July 28, 2008

How Did I Miss This?

Terrific Walter Williams column from July 16th that brings to light new Oklahoma State legislations that seeks to reign in the overbearing and unconstitutional power of the Federal government.

Professor Williams, as bluntly as ever, puts it this way:

"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."

Wonderfully put. The slow erosion of our Constitution began with the War Between the States in 1861 and the States really no longer have any recourse to check the growing power of the Federal government. Professor Williams continues:

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

"The resolution's language, in part, reads: "Whereas, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: '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.'; and Whereas, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and whereas, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and Whereas, today, in 2008, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government. 'Now, therefore, be it resolved by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 2nd session of the 51st Oklahoma Legislature: that the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States. That this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.'"

The Federal Government was created to be an advocate of the States, to provide for the common defense of the States, to represent the States to other nations diplomatically, and to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. These are powers specifically granted to the Federal government in the Constitution. All other rights, whatever they may be, are reserved to the States and the people by the 10th Amendment, which the Supreme Court conveniently forgot about during and after the War Between the States. Professor Williams goes on to quote James Madison in Federalist Paper 45, and Thomas Jefferson:

"The powers delegated … to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, [such] as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. "The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people." Thomas Jefferson emphasized that the states are not "subordinate" to the national government, but rather the two are "coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. "The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government."

The States were never envisioned as the provincial administrative units under the authority of the Federal government that they have become today. This is the essence of conservatism, to get back to the original intent of the Constitution, which was drafted to protect the liberty of the States, and thereby the lives, liberty, and property of the citizens.

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