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September 1, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

States’ rights are intrusive, divisive

Another view?

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What part of our government is really intrusive? Why do we have the states’ rights provision? There are 50 autonomous states of America with liberty and justice for all.

The Republicans are viewed as being all about states’ rights, at least when it suits their purpose. But then who champions the rights of all Americans?

What I see in states’ rights is a growing abuse of power. The rights of an American citizen in one state may be different in another.

One only needs to consider such broad rights issues as unionization, marriage, Medicaid privileges, unemployment benefits, gun control, women’s reproductive rights, welfare benefits and educational opportunities.

So are we dealing with rights or prohibitions? It seems to me that states’ rights issues are more intrusive and divisive than ever, less about rights and more about skirting the application of uniform benefits and opportunity for all Americans. Today it’s “one for all and none for some,” depending upon your view of your rights.

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  1. Their are certainly some advantages to the 'one size fits all' Federal government policies, but there are also advantages to allowing states to craft their own policies.

    We were once a nation that had a nice mix of both but we have swung and are swinging to a nation where the 'one size fits all' model dominates. Mr. Rychtarik favors the domination of 'one size fits all'. I would favor moving back to a more 'balanced' situation.

    If you look at it honestly, a large part of the reason states willingly go along with the 'one size fits all' policies is because the Federal government extracts huge amounts in Federal taxes and then tells states that they can only get some of that money back if they do 'this, that and the other'. I do not find that to be a healthy situation for the nation. Mr. Rychtarik apparently does.

    Michael

  2. Letter writer forgets that all government and politics should be, and for the most part are, local not national.

    Carmine D

  3. The tenth Amendment covers STATES rights. If San Francisco, a city, has decided that circumcision is a misdemeanor, then the "right" under religious doctrine can be exercised by simply taking the male child to an adjoining city to get the procedure done. I would submit that the male child involved has NO rights, state or Federal, to approve or decline the procedure. Is that fair? I imagine opinion would change if a female child was forced to undergo circumcision.

    There have been egregious "laws" passed by state legislatures around the country that uphold rights for some, and take away rights of others. They are too numerous to mention here. "States Rights" is a crutch used by people (legislatures) to force their views on the totality of the states population, whether the majority of voters or citizens agree or not. States Rights, guaranteed under the 10th amendment are sometimes abused, but should not be abrogated, unless necessary, by the Federal Govt.

  4. The writer raises an interesting point. The States are united in one union that forms a country. But that unity does not mean that our country has a homogeneous population.

    Recently we've seen several examples of States taking action to limit women's reproductive rights and challenging individual voting rights. It's imteresting that those same states' politics seem to lean toward smaller government, less intrusive government and less business regulation. It would seem that there is at least inconsistency and perhaps even hypocrisy in our views of what the role of government should be.

  5. The federal government was created with limited powers and was intended to be responsible to the states and the state officials. In fact, federal officials use to be appointed by state officials back in the day but now it's the state citizens who elect federal officials. Now the federal officials no longer have to answer to state officials because they are not responsible for giving them their jobs. On many topics the public does not have an educated conclusion in the majority giving federal officials the ability to do as they please because they can falsely claim "this is what I heard people saying they wanted". The federal officials now have no responsibility to the elected officials of the state. Nowadays, there is no assurance that the federal government will not limit their powers and conduct themselves and legislate in the best interest of the states.

  6. "Those who fail to understand history are doomed to repeat it." It was no accident that the Founders, rightfully suspicious of too much government power, enacted the provision for States "rights." They understood that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." For those of you who want a "one-size-fits-all" government, look to North Korea, Cuba, the old USSR and Red China as examples. You like what you see? There are planes and ships leaving everyday that will take you there! Bon voyage!

  7. States are incubation centers for innovative new ideas and vest control of peoples' lives in their own hands at the local level instead of in an oppressive and stagnant central government that has lost its way. States are capable of better expressing the interests and will of citizens and unleashing economic and social policies that free the state's citizens from the chains of an ineffective and wasteful bureucracy
    at the federal level.States rights are indepensible in ensuring the freedom of our citizens and the essense of an strong republic.

  8. "It seems to me that states' rights issues are more intrusive and divisive than ever, less about rights and more about skirting the application of uniform benefits and opportunity for all Americans. Today it's "one for all and none for some," depending upon your view of your rights."

    Rychtarik -- if your really knew how our United States works, you didn't think this through. The Founders were wise in Constituting our republic with a limited central government. I'd recommend you check out Printz v. United States @ http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/...

    "Richard, are you sure you want Washington DC to start making decisions that are better left to state and local government bodies?"

    RefNV -- excellent post. And long ago I apologized to my son for consenting to his circumcision. At the time it seemed like the thing to do. Yes, once I counted myself among the herd.

    "If you look at it honestly, a large part of the reason states willingly go along with the 'one size fits all' policies is because the Federal government extracts huge amounts in Federal taxes and then tells states that they can only get some of that money back if they do 'this, that and the other'."

    wtplv -- another excellent post! You made a point far too few ever question anywhere. What the feds do is just like making a wild animal your pet -- take away its freedom, then teach it the only way it gets to eat is on your terms.

    "There have been egregious "laws" passed by state legislatures around the country that uphold rights for some, and take away rights of others. They are too numerous to mention here."

    ressince73 -- another very good post this morning! What you mentioned is highlighted in our nation's history by the Reconstructionist period following the Civil War.

    "It was no accident that the Founders, rightfully suspicious of too much government power, enacted the provision for States "rights." They understood that "power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    lvfacts101 -- everybody seems to have their history hats on this morning. Another excellent post!

    "The Constitution's structure reveals a principle that controls these cases: the system of "dual sovereignty." ... Although the States surrendered many of their powers to the new Federal Government, they retained a residuary and inviolable sovereignty that is reflected throughout the Constitution's text. ... The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people." -- from the Syllabus, Printz v. U.S. 521 U.S. 898 (1997)

  9. Our constitution does NOT provide for welfare benefits for all. Excessively liberal interpretation of "common good" has led us to the doorway of implosion. It is NOT common good to excessively tax working Americans to pay for every other "civilization" on the globe, for illegals cradle to grave care, for career-indigents.

  10. This letter is a prime example of how US history, and the story of who we are and why, politically speaking, is being lost to the thinking of centralists. Thank goodness for federalism; it is one of the most important and balancing aspects of our system of government. As history demonstrates, things done in the name of "expediency" and often for the "common welfare" of an entire nation usually lead to tyranny of one sort or another.

  11. I agree with the letter writer on this one. Life is getting extremely confusing. What happens if a married gay couple moves to a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage? Illicit drugs like marijuana are illegal under federal statutes yet more and more states are going to legalize marijuana in the coming decades.

    There's one group that benefits greatly from all of this. LAWYERS! They are going to make billions. In this country if you don't belong to a powerful special interest group your a welfare case.

  12. Mr. Rychtarik would be saying something very different if the Federal government were to mandate a trash pickup schedule that he disagreed with. He should be glad they haven't done that yet in the name of environmental concerns justified by the Commerce Clause.

    As it is, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are almost unheard of by the general populace and have been stripped of most of their effectiveness thanks to rulings that have supported warping the Commerce Clause out of almost all recognition.

  13. "I agree with the letter writer on this one. Life is getting extremely confusing. What happens if a married gay couple moves to a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage?"

    zippert -- that's supposed to be covered under the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges and Immunities Clause. The high courts have been arguing about it ever since passage.

    "...the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are almost unheard of by the general populace and have been stripped of most of their effectiveness thanks to rulings that have supported warping the Commerce Clause out of almost all recognition."

    boftx -- ever since Roosevelt threatened the U.S. Supremes with replacement, that court generally has been more mindful of where they get their funding. So the Golden Rule -- as in he who has the gold makes the rules -- is nothing new. So much for our checks and balances.

    "I heartily accept the motto, 'That government is best which governs least'; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically." -- Henry David Thoreau 1849 "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience"

  14. The original driving force behind the erosion of "states' rights" was not the Federal government, but the advances of technology. Major US railroads now run on rails placed 4 feet, 8.5 inches apart - aka "standard gauge". Early railroads operated on a variety of gauges, some mandated by the different states to improve employment. Cargo had to be manually moved from one set of cars to another when the gauge changed. At the behest of the railroads, the Feds stepped in and mandated the "standard gauge." The same happened with roads (imagine - drive on the left in Utah, on the right in Nevada, and back to the left in California...), electrical current (110V 60 cycle, rather than 220v 60 cycle or 115 v 50 cycle), radio/TV frequencies, the four time zones of the continental US, etc. Used to be that "noon" in Reno was when the sun reached its highest. That happened earlier in Las Vegas, later in Sacramento

    The traditional view of "state sovereignty" advocated by the right would put us back into that chaotic time. Want California to tell you that you can't take your "steering wheel on the left" Nevada car onto their "drive to the left" roads?

  15. "There's a reason red republican states lead the nation is so many negative categories."

    Red Republican states win the category for most Governors in the U.S. state houses.

    Carmine D

  16. State's rights imply County rights imply City Rights imply organizational rights, such as religions within the City. It doesn't work.

    The Confederacy was a State's rights Government and that's one of the main reasons it failed. None of the States could be held to monetary contributions to the war so the Confederate soldiers went barefoot. It doesn't work.