The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution 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.” It was added to the Bill of Rights because several of the Founding Fathers, including Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and Thomas Jefferson, would have opposed the ratification of the Constitution without it. They feared a powerful central government that would – in brazen disregard of the US Constitution – seize ungranted powers, deny the sovereignty of the states and impose tyranny on the people.
Over the past century we have witnessed an out-of-control federal government, in both the Executive and Legislative branches, misuse the Commerce Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) “[The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes…” to justify regulating elements of American life, thus doing exactly the thing feared most by the Founders, who never intended an increasingly expansive, individual-liberty-crushing nanny state.
The most recent example is of course the unconstitutional federal mandate forcing citizens to purchase health insurance or face stiff fines and/or penalties. This government power-grab has resulted in many states passing legislation to reassert their sovereignty and added even more passion, energy and momentum to the burgeoning Tea Party Movement. It has also compelled some thirty states to file suit against the federal government over the constitutionality of the healthcare law.
States like Florida have passed resolutions that simply reaffirm the principles already outlined in the Tenth Amendment. Other states like Montana have passed laws exempting commodities manufactured and sold solely within their borders, (e.g. firearms), from federal regulations. Still others like Arizona have gone a step further by passing a law that mirrors an existing federal statute pertaining to illegal immigration – a law that the federal government, in dereliction of its duties – refuses to enforce.
In each instance the Obama administration and Congress have belittled the efforts of governors and state legislatures to uphold and assert state sovereignty.
While the federal government continues to whittle away at the rights of the states and the American people, they are simultaneously working to impose the will of the United Nations and International Law upon us.
The Clinton Administration signed the Law of the Sea Treaty in 1994 but to this day, the Senate has yet to ratify it. This treaty would essentially give the United Nations jurisdiction over mineral extraction from the sea floor and allow it to limit the territorial waters of nations. Further, it would also call for the redistribution of wealth from developed nations to undeveloped nations. Additionally and perhaps most disturbingly, it would also – in the opinions of many – limit the ability of the United States Navy to operate in certain areas without U.N. approval.
This week President Obama directed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to sign the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, which could potentially lead to a ban on all privately held semi-automatic weapons in the United States. This is in clear violation of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed…”
The Second Amendment was intended to prevent the American government from imposing tyranny upon the citizens of the United States. It guarantees an inalienable right, one granted to every American at birth. As George Mason put it in 1788 during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them." Or as Thomas Jefferson put it, "Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow for those who do not."
It seems unlikely, but not impossible, that the Small Arms Treaty will be ratified by the Senate – especially in an election year. But the point is that the rights of the states and individuals are under relentless attack while the federal government continues to weaken the United States Constitution in favor of international laws. Our very liberty is in jeopardy when those who we’ve entrusted to represent us attempt to deprive us of our means of defending that liberty.
This may explain why the Obama Administration and its allies in Congress fear states rights; to their great credit, strong governors like Jan Brewer in Arizona and Chris Christie in New Jersey as well as state legislatures nationwide have refused to buckle under the assault waged against them and the Constitution.
Besides being a document that grants the enumerated powers to the federal government from the people – not the other way around – the Constitution is also a contract between the federal government, the states and the people. It is a limiting document.
As such, it is imperative that the people of our great constitutional republic elect representatives at the local, state and federal levels who understand and embrace this founding principle of our nation. We must reign in the federal government and reject all efforts to further weaken the Constitution and impose the will of the United Nations in its place.
Many Americans seem to have lost their fear of an omnipresent central government or have become so dependent on the federal government that they dare not speak or act against it. But as President Gerald Ford so wisely said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have”.