No, not the 5th – the 10th. The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States provides protection to the states from encroachment by the federal government. The federal government has become more and more involved in our everyday lives from the college football bowls to the compulsory low-flush toilet bowls in our home.
Liberals and Progressives would have us believe that the federal government is the ultimate authority and they delight in expanding its powers and limiting the freedoms of individuals and states. They believe the Constitution is some type of “living, breathing document” that has outlived its usefulness.
Conservatives know that the Constitution and other founding documents are the foundations of our freedom. The Tenth Amendment is critical to states rights and the last line of defense against the intrusion of federal government. The founders knew that a large federal government could become too powerful and overstep its function.
As stated in the U.S. Supreme Court decision of United States vs. Sprague (not Howard) of 1931, “The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people. It added nothing to the instrument as originally ratified.”
There is an ongoing effort, and rightfully so, to reject the mandates and infringements of the federal government upon the states. Keep in mind that the states created the federal government, not the other way around.
Like Texas, Oklahoma, Montana and Utah, Tennessee’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution to urge Congress to recognize Tennessee’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. Part of that resolution is as follows:
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.
The Tenth Amendment allows Congress to pass only laws that fall within their constitutional authority. The Constitution only gives Congress the authority to make laws that pertain to certain issues such as taxation, international commerce, currency regulation, the federal Judiciary, and the armed forces to name a few.
That’s it – no healthcare, stimulus, bailouts, education, welfare, etc. For example, Congress was granted the power to promote the general welfare of the nation by the Constitution. That means that Congress should provide laws that are in keeping with the principles of the self-governed.
It also means that Congress may provide legislation that acts in the general “best interest” of our nation. It doesn’t mean that everybody should get a welfare check on the first of the month.
The Constitution also grants Congress the authority to make laws necessary and proper for the carrying out of their enumerated powers, which is a clause that has been manipulated to grant the federal government authority far beyond what our founding fathers intended.
The federal government has been steadily expanding their authority in areas the Constitution has not authorized. Congress has ignored the Constitution by imposing health, environmental and educational mandates on states.
The most recent federal health care proposal will be by far the most serious overreach of Congressional power. Congress is well known for passing unfunded mandates down to states. This top-down approach is unsustainable and unconstitutional.
We send representatives to our state capitals and Washington and often refer to them as “lawmakers.” The fact is – we rarely need any new laws. We just need to abide by the ones we currently have, cut spending, cut taxes and let the free market system that our founders established flourish as it did in the past.
If we take those steps, we will once again make America the greatest economic force in the world, the land of opportunity and a beacon of liberty and freedom for all who wish to come here legally and assimilate. We will give people the opportunity to become successful, not by the hand of government, but by their own hand.
(Dennis Powers is a conservative columnist and his columns can be found at BackyardPolitics.org and BackporchPundits.com. Send your comments to DennisHPowers@Comcast.net or mail them to POB 179, Jacksboro, TN 37757.)