Monday, August 13, 2007

Federalism and the Nanny State

It looks as though Federalism and its close cousin States’ Rights are back in the spot light. Last month a federal judge in Pennsylvania struck down a town ordinance seeking to take the immigration problem into its own hands.

The judge suggested that immigration is the sole purview of the federal government and that lesser governments are not able to preempt or duplicate its role. I’m sorry but I missed the part about immigration in the Constitution. Could someone please point it out to me (hint: it ain’t in there)? I get the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2) that federal law trumps state law. But, I also get the 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.” Immigration historically could be connected to the Commerce Clause because it does affect interstate trade (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3). I think the Commerce Clause has long since overstepped its bounds and needs to be reeled in. Anyone still think strict-conservative-constructionist judges are still a bad idea? (I need your help. Could someone explain to me how we can arrest someone for possession of drugs in the state of SC if drugs are the purview of the federal government because of the Commerce Clause but can’t arrest and prosecute an illegal alien, see Gonzales v. Raich, Lozano v. Hazleton :

Our founding fathers, particularly John Jay, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton instituted a system of checks and balances. Not just the normal system everyone talks about, the legislative, judicial and executive, but also the national and state. States were to be part of the checks and balances that kept the federal government from becoming too large and tyrannical. But now we see that the federal government has taken too much power. What the federal government has seen fit to be “necessary and proper for carrying into execution…” the business of the federal government has become beyond ridiculous.

The government has seen fit to reach into almost every aspect of our lives. Why? Some like to say it happened just before the Civil War with the Nullification acts here at home. I agree to a point. But federal involvement back then would pale in comparison to the situation we have at hand today, not involvement but intrusion. Others would point to the Civil Rights era when the banner of “states’ rights” was stolen and sullied by then Dixiecrat Strom Thurmond and his later counter part George Wallace. Again close, but not quite. Think of it as a train wreck. The train left the station pre Civil War when tariffs on trade that benefited the North and hurt the South were enacted. Then when the government RIGHTLY stepped in during both the New Deal and the Civil Rights era the train left the tracks and when highway money was tied to the drinking age being higher than the age to legally vote the train crashed! We decided once and for all that we as citizenry were actually unable to raise and educate our own kids, save our own money, provide for the welfare of our own neighbors. We decided that the federal government was now our Nanny. And if we had a problem: can’t afford school, hurricane is coming, I have four kids and no job and can’t afford to pay for one kid but am pregnant again with a fifth, we will just ask our Nanny for help. Much to the delight of politicians of all stripes we have become a nation of “there aught to be a law…” We asked and the politicians have provided.

It’s time to get back to Federalism. It’s time to govern amongst ourselves first. It’s time to look towards personal responsibility instead of towards the Nanny. I leave it to you good folks of the greatest county in all of South Carolina to find the political party that is talking about federalism and less government and the party that is proposing larger and more extravagant bureaucracies. I leave it to you to ask how much you are on the receiving end of the Nanny. I myself suckle at the teat as well. I have asked the Nanny to loan me money for school.

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