What rights do states have? (2023)

noAmerican government, state rights are the rights and powers reserved to the state governments, and not to the national government, under the United States Constitution. InConstituent Assembly1787 tocivil warfrom 1861 to the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the present dayMarijuana Legalization Movement, the question of states' right to govern themselves has been at the center of the American political scene for more than two centuries.

Main conclusions: State rights

  • The rights of states refer to the political rights and powers granted to the states of the United States by the United States Constitution.
  • Under the state rights doctrine, the federal government may not interfere with state powers reserved or implied by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • On issues like slavery, civil rights, gun control, and marijuana legalization, conflicts between states' rights and federal government's powers have been part of civil society debate for more than two centuries.

the teaching ofstates rightsstates that the federal government may not interfere with certain rights reserved for individual states10th amendmentto the United States Constitution.

the tenth amendment

The debate on the rights of states began with the drafting of theConstitutionmiBill of Rights. During the Constitutional Convention, thefederalists, performJuan Adams, advocated a strong federal government while theThe Anti-Federalist, performPatrick Heinrich, he rejected the Constitution unless it included a set of amendments that specifically enumerated and guaranteed certain rights of individuals and states. Fearing that states would not ratify the Constitution without it, Federalists agreed to include the Bill of Rights.

By setting up the US government's power-sharing system.federalism, The Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights states that all rights and powers not expressly reserved to CongressArticle I, Section 8, the constitution or hisshared at the same timeof the federal and state governments are reserved for the states and the people.

To prevent states from claiming too much power, the constitutionpriority clause(Article VI, Paragraph 2) provides that all laws made by state governments must conform to the Constitution and that whenever a law made by a state conflicts with federal law, federal law applies.

alienation and hate speech

The issue of states' rights over the supremacy clause was first put to the test in 1798 when the Federalist-controlled Congress passed the clauseAlien and Sedition Laws.

The Anti-FederalistThomas JeffersonmiJames Madisonbelieved in the limitations of the law offree expressionand freedom of the press is against the constitution. Together they secretly wrote the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions supporting state rights and calling on state legislatures to repeal federal laws they deem unconstitutional. However, Madison later feared that such uncontrolled application of states' rights would weaken the Union, arguing that by ratifying the Constitution, states had ceded their sovereign rights to the federal government.

The Question of States' Rights in Civil War

timeSlavery and its discontinuitymost visible was the issue of the rights of statesunderlying cause of the civil war. Despite the general scope of the Supremacy Clause, state rights advocates such as Thomas Jefferson continued to believe that states should have the right to overrule federal laws within their borders.

In 1828 and again in 1832, Congress enacted protective measurestrading fees, which helped the industrial countries of the north but harmed the agricultural countries of the south. Outraged by what they called the "tariff of abominations," the South Carolina legislature passed an annulment ordinance on November 24, 1832, declaring the Federal Tariffs of 1828 and 1832 "null and void, of no effect, and without law." , nor binding upon that State". , its officials or citizens.

President on December 10, 1832Andre JacksonHe responded with a "proclamation to the people of South Carolina," demanding that the state honor the supremacy clause and threatening to send federal troops to enforce the tariffs. After Congress passed a compromise law lowering tariffs on the Southern states, on March 15, 1832, the South Carolina legislature repealed its suspension ordinance.

The so-called Annulment Crisis of 1832, while making President Jackson a hero to nationalists, fueled a growing feeling among Southerners that they would remain vulnerable to the majority of the North as long as their states remained part of the Union.

Over the next three decades, the main struggle for states' rights turned from economics to the practice of slavery. Did the Southern states, whose largely agricultural economy depended on stolen slave labor, have the right to continue the practice despite federal laws abolishing it?

In 1860, this issue coincided with the election of the anti-slavery presidentAbraham Lincoln, led 11 southern statesseparated from the union. Although secession was not intended to create an independent nation, Lincoln saw it as an act of independenceTreasonconducted in violation of the priority clause and federal law.

civil rights movement

Since the day the United States Congress passed in 1866America's first civil rights law, public and legal opinion is divided over whether the federal government is overriding states' rights to try to outlaw racial discrimination across the country. In fact, the most important provisions ofFourteenth AmendmentThe issue of racial equality was largely ignored in the South until the 1950s.

During thecivil rights movementSouthern politicians of the 1950s and 1960s who supported continued segregation and the enforcement of state laws".Jim Crow” Denounced anti-discrimination laws like the LawsCivil Rights Act 1964as federal interference in state rights.

Even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and theVoting Rights Act 1965, several southern states passed "interposition resolutions" claiming that states retained the right to overrule federal laws.

Current issues of state rights

As an inherent by-product of federalism, the legal issues of states will undoubtedly feature in American citizen debates for years to come. Two highly visible examples of current legal issues facing states are marijuana legalization and gun control.

Legalization of marijuana

Although at least 10 states have enacted laws allowing their residents to possess, grow, and sell marijuana for both recreational and medical use, possession, production, and sale of marijuana remains a violation of drug laws of the federal government. Despite the previous return to the Obama-era hands-off approachtrack violationsIn addition to state marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions clarified on March 8, 2018 that state law enforcement officials would target drug dealers and gangs rather than casual users.

Arms Control

The federal and state governments have decidedgun lawsfor more than 180 years. Due to the increase in incidents of gun violence andmass shootings, state gun control laws today are often more restrictive than federal laws. In these cases, gun rights advocates often argue that states have actually overstepped their rights by ignoring bothsecond changeand the primacy clause of the Constitution.

not case of 2008District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a District of Columbia statute banning its citizens from carrying guns outright violated the Second Amendment. Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that its Heller decision applies to all US states and territories.

Other current state rights issues include same-sex marriage,death penalty, mieuthanasia.

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