Thursday, April 27, 2006
Needed: A Lesson In Federalism
“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.” –Article X, U.S. Constitution
Where the Constitution is silent, the states should speak. That has always been my understanding of federalism: that states are best suited to handle their own affairs than bureaucrats in Washington.
I’ve always believed that lawmaking is best left to democratic majorities than to men in robes, so I did not expect that in undertaking a reading of a book by one of the most brilliant legal minds of our generation, I would come to doubt or misunderstand my own convictions.
For the past however-many weeks, I’ve been engrossed by Robert H. Bork’s “The Tempting of America.” It has challenged my ideas and has put my understanding of the Constitution to the test, but what it’s done that I did not expect was confuse my understanding of federalism, which has always been rooted in the same principles it contains.
A hypothetical came to mind – and I realize that this is a far-fetched outcome on the slipperiest of slopes, but I hoped that conservative reasoning would help me find a solution to the potential, albeit hypothetical, problem.
First, I must add a disclaimer. I disagree that the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause was intended to take the power from the states to vary in their lawmaking. I believe that it had everything to do with slavery and nothing to do with limiting the 10th Amendment. That said, here is the potential problem which I hope might inspire some feedback from those of you better versed in Constitutional Law and federalism than me.
[Now remember, I did say this would be far-fetched, but I believe it must be in order to illustrate my confusion.]
Imagine that a group of deviants were to move to a state and form a majority with the sole purpose of forming state laws that allowed them to live their deviant lifestyles legally. Under the concept of federalism which I explained earlier, so long as these laws do not go against anything specific in the Constitution, they should be allowed to express their morals as a democratic majority in the state. But what if this group of deviants had a perverse agenda and wished to enact laws that seriously damaged society?
My initial argument against this was that the hypothetical couldn’t work because we are assuming that people are unreasonable and irrational, but surely, there are a good number of people in this country who could be classified as such. So what check would there be to their power? Surely, anyone in the state who feels threatened by the newly expressed morality would vote with their feet and go elsewhere, if only to protect themselves. What recourse would there be for the minority who stays? Who would protect them?
Now, I’m not for a moment saying that I prefer rule by Judges to rule by democratic majorities, but what about this hypothetical? Should rule of a majority be preferred even if it is oppressive? Am I beginning to sound like a liberal? (gasp.)
I do not believe that Supreme Court Justices or federal judges should be able to undo state laws that do not raise constitutional questions. I do believe that a state should be able to have it’s own interests as expressed by the people. But who protects the minority? Would the people in the country have to vote a constitutional amendment to outlaw whatever the people of State X enact in order to preserve morality? Is there a solution consistent with conservative principles? Does federalism solve the problem or must we really advocate that a judge has a better sense of morality than a democratic majority? In this sense, one would hope a judge would, but I'm not sure I'm ready to jump to that conclusion. I don't think the Founders did.
Friday, April 14, 2006
What the Washington Post, and all the other liberal rags that have jumped on the anti-Christian bandwagon don't realize is that Christians do believe that Judas betrayed Jesus. However! We also believe that Judas was doing God's will, because Jesus came to die and He knew that. He knew it was God's will for everything to happen as it did and that's why He wept at Gethsemanae. That's why He went to the cross. Any Christian with even a basic understanding of the Bible - and even those who don't believe but have read it or are familiar with the stories - knows this. This is no big shock, sorry Slate!
In particular, the New York times, in an article last week, made two statements that really annoyed me in their coverage of this "discovery."
1. "As the findings have trickled down to churches and universities, they have produced a new generation of Christians who now regard the Bible not as the literal word of God, but as a product of historical and political forces that determined which texts should be included in the canon, and which edited out." I would love to see the evidence they got to support this rhetoric, as I find it hard to believe that this trickle down (which happened a day or so before this article was printed) occurred and produced, overnight, a new generation of anything.
2. "For that reason, the discoveries have proved deeply troubling for many believers. The Gospel of Judas portrays Judas Iscariot not as a betrayer of Jesus, but as his most favored disciple and willing collaborator." Who are these many believers, you wonder? So do I. But don't expect to find them anywhere in the article because not even the writer knows.
This is yet another instance where rhetoric is more important - and sells more papers - than facts. Happy Good Friday!
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
On the Illegality of Persons
This, on the other hand, does seem promising for any other group of people that circumvents the law to realize the prospects (under Visconti's warped views) of coming together in masses... Right now, somewhere, the members of the North American Man Boy Love Association are celebrating! First illegal aliens, then pedophiles. Watch out world!
But this is not to make light of the issue of illegal immigrants, because it is a serious one. Yesterday, as I was returning home from work, the Mall and my Metro station were flooded with groves of Mexicans gathering for "La Marcha." To be honest, it was a little moving on one hand to see such solidarity, as they waived their American flags, until I got to thinking on it longer. If immigrants want so much to be American and assimilate into American culture and society, then why can't they do it legally like all other immigrants have in the past? If immigrants want to be Americans, they must appreciate and respect the rule of law, and if they break it, they should be tried and treated like any other person who calls themself American. I don't think this is such a foreign idea.
My family came here from Italy to Ellis Island and so I have a soft-spot for those who come from other countries and try to make a life here and live the American dream. But my relatives came here legally, they paid taxes, they didn't hide behind employers willing to pay them horrible wages in exchange for keeping their secret. It would seem to me that if Mexicans are such an organized political class and so desperate for acceptance in America, they would want to do so in a legally valid way. Unfortunately, until they are put on a path to citizenship, they remain in voilation of our laws and our laws should not only be respected, they should be enforced.
It also seems to me that Mexicans are too willing to accept being used, for the most part, because they are exempt from minimum wage requirements promised to citizens of this country. Why not become citizens the right way? R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Perhaps, if they were legitimate citizens, like everyone else, they would be treated with fairer employment practices like every one else. If this is what they really are after, anyway...
Maybe I'm missing something...
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The article , entitled "Pro-Life Nation," also sheds light on the secretive methods women in El Salvador use to obtain back-alley abortions, trying, whenever possible, to make the concept of valuing life seem as archaic and oppressive as possible.
The New York Times has never made a secret of it's liberal agenda and by trying to apply it's values to a country that is focused more on protecting human life than catering to convenience it makes it's own preference all too clear.
This is not to say that I don't sympathize with the women who are victims of rape or incest or have ectopic pregnancies that are criminalized by no real fault of their own. Still, I can't see why it's so hard to understand a culture of valuing life. But that's the New York Times, isn't it?
All the news that's fit to print, and then some...