Magazine article The New American

Obamacare and the Demise of Federalism: The Constitution and the 10th Amendment Delineate the Responsibilities and Limitations of the Federal Government. Where Do We Stand?

Magazine article The New American

Obamacare and the Demise of Federalism: The Constitution and the 10th Amendment Delineate the Responsibilities and Limitations of the Federal Government. Where Do We Stand?

Article excerpt

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By the time of the founding, the definition of federalism was already so firmly settled and so deeply imbedded in the American understanding of good government that James Madison, in his defense of the proposed constitution, felt it necessary to assuage worries of some Americans that the state would surrender sovereignty under the new federal system. "Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act," he wrote in The Federalist, No. 39.

If one values the written words of the framers of our Constitution, then, he believes that there are few principles of good government as inviolable and fundamental to the preservation and protection of republican government as that of federalism. In the United States this division is additionally enhanced by the fact that the states are not mere confederate subordinates to the central authority. They are historically, perpetually, and unalterably self-governing and empowered specifically to promulgate and execute laws according to their own wisdom and volition. It is no exaggeration to say that federalism is the sine qua non of the stability and balance that infuse American liberty with the vitality and flexibility that have made it the envy and example of freedom to the world for over 200 years.

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The uniquely American expression of federalism is crystallized in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution: "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 to understand that principle, one must read it in tandem with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that delegates to the Congress its specific powers. When placed side by side as complementary lenses through which all bills and other proposals of the national government must be viewed, these two sections of the Constitution clarify whether or not acts of the Congress conform to the powers delegated to it by our founding document.

The Obamacratic Oath

In the reasoned evaluation of President Obama's healthcare proposals or any other "federal" scheme potentially to be hamfistedly foisted onto the states, the first and most important consideration is that if we are to be governed by the Constitution as written in 1787 then we must steadfastly adhere to its four corners, whether it be in the granting or the restricting of power. In the present case, the primary concern must be with the systematic, bipartisan, and unrepentant disdain and disregard for that sacred document manifested daily by those elected to represent us in Congress. We, the people, have the duty to protect the states from constant encroachment from Washington, D.C. Fortunately, there are those state legislatures that are aware of the assault and are prone to fight back. Heroically, several states recently have stiffened themselves against the attack from the national government: Alabama, Tennessee, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Louisiana, for example. Specifically, Alabama's legislature has passed legislation declaring that it will not enforce any federal scheme to foist upon the states a "cap and trade" global-warming tax. Additionally, Arizona, Florida, and Texas are among the states safeguarding their sovereignty by informing Congress that categorically and without exception they will refuse to implement any federal healthcare scheme.

The New Deal, the Great Society, and the War on Poverty were all euphemisms for the planned and purposeful demolition of the barricades erected by our Founders for the defense of the constitutional boundaries of state sovereignty. The healthcare "crisis" and the "necessary" reforms proposed to address it are but the latest attempt to weaken the states and make them dependent on the largesse of the national government. …

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