Friday, December 4, 2009

Powers Not Delegated

I'm a Constitutionalist and I make no apologies for bieng so.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Before any party affiliation I might claim, my first loyalty is always to the Constitution of the United States of America.  As such, the growth and expansion of the federal government not only frightens me, it angers me.  It is a blatant violation of an amendment that the Supreme Court and Congress have evidently forgotten about.

The 10th amendment is one of the most important and least regarded amendments to the Constitution.  So important that it had to be included in the Bill of Rights.  I've read the Constitution several times of course, but I could remember the exact words of the 10th amendment so I went back and checked today.  Something leapt out and smacked me in my face. 

The amendment itself is only 28 words long, but its intent can be summarized in a single word of the 28.  The text reads, "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."

The writers of our Constitution were very careful about the words they used so the use of the word "delegated" in that amendment is not an accident of chance or a misunderstanding.  It was deliberate.

According to Mirriam-Webster, to delegate means to assign responsibility or authority.  This means that all rights first belonged to the states and a very fair few were "delegated" to the federal government.  What the states did not agree to let them have through ratification of the document is in no way under the authority of the federal government.

I know that for the few people who actually read my blogs that I am most likely preaching to the choir, but I continue to be baffled by the misinterpretation of an amendment made so obvious by the use of that single, very powerful word.

Wouldn't it be fun to have an organization of lawyers the size and power of the ACLU whose sole function was to pull every law passed by Congress into the Supreme Court as a violation of the tenth amendment?  Maybe then we could get the two branches of government who should pay it the highest respect to remember it actually exists.

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