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.
– U.S. Constitution, Tenth Amendment
Fed up with
Washington’s involvement in everything from land use to gun control
to education spending, states across the country are fighting back
against what they say is the federal government’s growing intrusion
on their rights.
At least 35
states have introduced legislation this year asserting their power
under the Tenth Amendment to regulate all matters not specifically
delegated to the federal government by the Constitution.
has been boiling for years, and it’s finally come to a head,"
said Utah State Rep. Carl Wimmer. "With TARP and No Child Left
Behind, these things that continue to give the federal government
more authority, our rights as states and individuals are being turned
on their head."
The power struggle
between the states and Washington has cropped up periodically ever
since the country was founded. But now some states are sending a
simple, forceful message:
has gone too far. Enough is enough.
Brian Schweitzer recently signed into law a bill authorizing the
state’s gun manufacturers to produce "Made in Montana"
firearms, without seeking licensing from the federal Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Similar laws are being considered
in Utah, Alaska, Texas and Tennessee.
law is expected to end up in the courts, where states’ rights activists
hope judges will uphold their constitutional right to regulate firearms.
reverse a longstanding trend, said Martin Flaherty, a professor
of constitutional law at Fordham Law School.
1937 to 1995 there is not one instance of the Supreme Court knocking
back Congress," he said. "In the Constitution the interstate
commerce clause gives Congress the right to regulate commerce between
the states. That gives them a lot of power. There were questions
of how far they can reach, but then comes the New Deal, and Roosevelt
gets all these picks on the [Supreme] Court, and they come upon
a theory whereupon congressional power is almost infinite."
understanding of the Constitution is now the norm, with advocates
for the federal government arguing that issues of a certain size
and scope can be addressed only by an institution with the resources
of the federal government.
As an example,
federal authority is necessary in the economic crisis, said U.S.
Rep. Dan Boren, whose home state of Oklahoma recently passed a sovereignty
situation in our nation over the past year has not been contained
in any one community or state. The industries and institutions affected
by the recent economic crisis touch multiple layers of our economy
and are not confined to any one state or region," he said in
a statement. "I feel there was Constitutional justification
for Congress’s recent efforts to stabilize our economy."