The insidious Amendment

The government has at times been very subtle in the manner it gets around the Constitution of the United States. The fourteenth amendment is a great example of how this is applied. The 14th is a reconstruction amendment and on the face of it is quite in keeping with the intention of the constitution as a whole. Until we see the last clause of that amendment. That reads “Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” Congress, not the states, in an amendment directed at the states. Seems to be contrary to the tenth amendment. You know the one that gives the states power over the federal government? It is the last one in the Bill of Rights. I quote: “It’s quite clear that the Tenth Amendment was written to emphasize the limited nature of the powers delegated to the federal government. In delegating just specific powers to the federal government, the states and the people, with some small exceptions, were free to continue exercising their sovereign powers.

When states and local communities take the lead on policy, the people are that much closer to the policymakers, and policymakers are that much more accountable to the people. Few Americans have spoken with their president; many have spoken with their mayor.

Adherence to the Tenth Amendment is the first step towards ensuring liberty in the United States. Liberty through decentralization.” When you combine the 10th with the Welfare Clause in the main body of the Constitution and actually follow what they say, almost all of the Obama presidency comes under fire.

The 14th changed the perception of the constitution and has become the basis for some recent Supreme Court Rulings. Since the 14th was adopted later than the tenth it supposedly has more perceptive weight than the earlier 10th. After all the people gave away their right to local oversight of the federal government with that one. The 14th was insidious in those final words. In 1868, when it was ratified following an Article V convention called by congress, the nation had just ended the civil war. That was was, among other things, fought to decide whether a states had the right to leave the Union whenever it chose. We know the Union won the war. Close on the heels of that victory the Congress proposed the 14th with the proviso that the states in the South that voted against it were not going to be allowed representation in Congress. Some choice. Sign away your Tenth Amendment rights or all of your rights. Of course the people of the North were happy to grant the Government anything after preserving the Union and ending the war.

I wonder what would happen if we included in the currently proposed Article Convention, one proposed by the people, a change to that amendment so it ends with:

Section 5. The State Legislatures shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Or perhaps leave section 5 out completely.

 

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