NY Times: The Whole Point Of The Constitution Was To Weaken The States, You Know

I debated touching this one, because it is a long opinion peace by Excitable Jamelle Bouie, which would require a long, long post. One which attempts to rewrite the Constitution and the point in order to invest the federal government with all the power. One which you folks can figure out in a heartbeat

The Whole Point of the Constitution Was to Weaken the States

As millions of Americans see it, the Constitution was written to protect and extend the powers and prerogatives of the states. It established a “limited” national government and preserved, for state governments, any number of rights and responsibilities.

The whole point of the Constitution, in this view, is to restrain the federal government as much as possible. If there is one reason, beyond partisanship, that anyone is attracted to a plainly deficient idea like the “independent state legislature” doctrine (which I wrote about last week), it is that it’s in line with the widespread belief that state governments have pride of place within the American constitutional order.

It’s a cute start, but, the entire point of the Constitution was to invest certain powers in the federal government, in order to bring together all the states under one banner, something that was missing with the Articles of Confederation. With the AC you essentially had 13 separate countries thinking about doing their own thing. Let’s remember, the word “state”, at the time, really referred to nations. When they play Hail To The Chief, the chief of what? Of state. State meant nation. A new term came about because we called the former colonies states: nation-state. Well, the Constitution invested the power to raise an army, national monetary policy (rather than each state having their own), control of national borders, and more. But, they were limited and specific, with everything else left to the states.

And the People. All these leftist pundits forget about that.

But this is a misunderstanding. Even in the age when state governments were more independent and autonomous than they are today — the nearly 80 years between ratification and Appomattox — it was still understood that states were subordinate to the federal government. In turn, the federal government had considerable power to act on and influence the states. Why else would the statesmen of antebellum South Carolina develop a theory of nullification, if not to challenge the prevailing view that states were bound to submit to the will of national government?

But, only on certain things. Things laid out specifically in writing. The Senate was meant to be comprised of people who specifically represented the will of each state, as appointed by each state’s general assembly. They were ambassadors from the states, who weren’t concerned with the national parties.

Go back a little further, to the first years of the American republic, and you will see that one of the key goals of the Constitution was to curb the power of the states and leash them to the broader authority of a new national government led by a powerful legislature and an unusually strong elected executive.

You can see where Jamelle is going with this, right? That the federal government is the supreme everything, that it is the only rule that matters, no matter what the issue. That there should be this Centralized government which can dictate all things. Something the Framers really, really did not want, understanding that the governments of the states were much closer to the citizens, understanding their needs and wants, much better than people divorced from reality in tiny D.C.

Jamelle continues with his misreading for many more paragraphs, ending with

Remembering that the Constitution was written in significant part to weaken and undermine state governments is, I think, the first step toward asserting the power of Congress, not just over the states but over institutions, like the courts, whose power has run far ahead of our system’s checks and balances.

And this is how you create an authoritarian system. Idiots like Jamelle never seem to realize that this would negatively affect their own lives. But, go ahead and try, and see how fast the nation splits in two for real.

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5 Responses to “NY Times: The Whole Point Of The Constitution Was To Weaken The States, You Know”

  1. Dana says:

    It has to be remembered: Several of the states which ratified the Constitution did so with the reservation that the federal government enact some form of a bill of rights, to rein in the power of the federal government. What became our First Amendment specifically restricted Congress, and not the states, and eventually the Supreme Court ruled, in Barron v Baltimore 32 US 243 (1833) that the Bill of Rights applied only to the federal government, and not the states. It has been only with the slow ‘incorporation’ of the Bill of Rights, via the Fourteenth Amendment, that that has changed.

    Of course, the Fourteenth Amendment was imposed on a defeated Confederacy which did not consent to it. You can be happy that we are one nation and not two, and still believe, as I do, that the states ought to, and do, have a right to secede.

    I read Mr Bouie’s OpEd as well, and his history isn’t good. While James Madison certainly favored a stronger federal government than existed under the Articles of Confederation, he’d be utterly appalled into what the federal government has metastasized. These days, we have federal involvement in things like city parks and funding local streets, things which ought to be the sole province of state and local government.

    We not only survived, but had better educational results before the federal Department of Education was created; it is something we should not have and do not need. Things like the Department of Housing and Urban Development are federal bureaucracies which interfere in things which, by definition, are state and local concerns.

  2. Elwood P. Dowd says:

    And this is how you create 50 authoritarian systems. Conservative idiots like Porter never seem to realize that they are not the only men in America.

    He feels that if a state like Texas wants to dissuade Blacks and Hispanics from voting than Texas should be able to do so. He feels if Mississippi wants to keep women from obtaining an abortion they should be able to do so. He feels if the governor of Florida wants to prevent children from being vaccinated the gov should be able to do so.

    Mr Bouie presents the case that the US Constitution was constituted to prevent 50 different authoritarian systems. nuCons oppose democracy and the federal government, preferring 50 different mini-nations with state legislatures able to dictate to the feds.

  3. Hairy says:

    One nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
    Civil rights should only be granted at the discretion of ondividual states individual ststes should be able to restrict voting however they wish? Are you serious?

    • Jl says:

      Yes John, it’s called the Constitution. States are free to set their own voting parameters as long as they don’t go against the US Constitution.
      “Restrict voting however they wish”. Do you have proof of this voting restriction?

      • RatMan29 says:

        It’s in multiple places.

        Article I, section 2: You can vote for a member of the House of Representatives if you can vote for a member of the larger house of your state legislature. This leaves it wide open for each state to limit the vote as it likes, except where specifically restricted. Thus I’ve listed all the specific restrictions here.

        (When the Constitution was ratified some states required voters to be property owners. Today, this would still be legal but would reduce that state’s representation per Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.)

        Article I, section 4: State law governs elections, but Congress may modify those laws concerning the time, place, and manner of an election for members of the House.

        Article II, section 1: Creates the Electoral College and spells out how it operates. But leaves it up to each state how the electors are chosen.

        12th Amendment: Changes Electoral College procedure so that the electors vote separately for a President and for a Vice President. But still leaves it up to each state how the electors are chosen.

        14th Amendment: Section 2 removes the 3/5 rule and reduces the House representation of any state that doesn’t let all its male citizens over 21 vote. This implies that section 1 does not make states grant anybody the right to vote.

        15th Amendment: Forbids states to deny the right to vote because of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

        17th Amendment: Makes Senators directly elected, with the right to vote determined by that for state legislators just as it is for House members.

        19th Amendment: Forbids states to deny the right to vote because of sex.

        23rd Amendment: Gives Washington, DC presidential electors. Leaves it up to Congress to decide how they are chosen.

        24th Amendment: Forbids states to deny the right to vote for non-payment of any tax, including a poll tax.

        26th Amendment: Forbids states to deny the right to vote because of age, if the person is 18 or older.

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