AX – Resurrecting the 10th Amendment [Reader Post]


Mascots are a great way to inspire a team. My alma mater Florida State has the Seminoles, the hated University of Florida has the Gators and of course Notre Dame has the Fighting Irish. I would like to recommend a mascot to rally conservatives – and the GOP if they wish to come along – for the 2010 elections: AX. No, it’s not an ax nor is it the first two letters of AXE line of personal care products. Rather, as this involves government, it’s an acronym. AX stands for the Tenth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights.

The 10th Amendment of the Constitution may simultaneously be both the most ignored and most important of all of the Amendments.

“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.”

Ignored because according to Washington, there is virtually nothing the federal government can’t do. Important because at some point the government will literally control everything and them Americans stop being citizens and simply become drones serving the all powerful state.

If this election stands for any single thing it is that government, particularly the federal government, has simply grown too big and too intrusive. To grasp how true this, imagine just one day out of your life: You wake up in a bed that has one of those “Under Penalty of Law” tags that warns that it must not be taken off by anyone other than the consumer. You head to the bathroom where EPA regulations determine how much water the toilet can use per flush. You head to the kitchen and pour cereal from a box that must be approved by the FTC and whose contents must pass FDA muster. Next you add sugar and milk that cost you twice what they might otherwise if USDA programs did not get in the way of free markets.

Now you get dressed and put your kids in your SUV, whose manufacturer and sales staff had to run the gauntlet of agencies: EPA, FTC, OSHA, NLRB, etc. just so you could have a car. After filling up with $25 of gas ($1.80 of which goes to federal taxes – and likely another $2.00 state taxes) you drop your children off at school where their fate lies in the hands of the Department of Education and a place where the teaching of American History and personal responsibility will likely never rear their ugly heads. Finally you arrive at work where things really get exciting as you get to mix and match with the entire spectrum of government acronyms: IRS, OSHA, ADA, FTC, NLRB, FCC, SEC, HHS… And we haven’t even touched on the things we really like to do from going to a restaurant to watching TV to flying on planes to surfing on the Internet.

At the end of the day Americans consider ourselves free, but the truth of the matter is that the only real freedom left is a sheen of speech and sometimes religion that surround a daily existence where the government’s hand is never far away.

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution was originally against a Bill of Rights in general and later the 10th Amendment in particular, because he felt they were unnecessary. He wrote in Federalist 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite… The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security.

He acquiesced to, and eventually became an advocate for both because he understood that others saw a potentially darker side of government run by men and he knew that without such restraints there would be no Constitution.

Unfortunately, the last century has seen the 10th Amendment become nothing more than a fig leaf. While on a very rare occasion courts will strike down something Congress has done based on the limitations of the 10th Amendment, as the various rationales given by the Obama Administration for the Constitutionality of ObamaCare demonstrate, Democrats (and some Republicans as well) largely believe in simply doing what they want and then finding a Constitutional justification for it later.

For this reason I’m suggesting that the 10th Amendment become the mascot of the 2010 election – and then 2012 – with a simple mandate that requires new legislation to specify its specific Constitutional authority, as the GOP has put forward with their Pledge to America. More significantly however, this legislation would require every department and agency in the federal government to demonstrate the Constitutionality of its very existence as well as every single regulation or law it has in place. While I understand that is a massive undertaking, the truth of the matter is that burdensome federal regulations cost the United States millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in GDP annually.

Once the American people see that much that makes up the yoke of federal regulation under which they toil – as well as many of the departments and agencies from which such regulations stem – is based on nonexistent or spurious connections to the actual Constitution, they will demand that Congress expunge the regulations and shutter the departments.

Which brings us back to AX. Mascots provide a rallying cry that allows people from different backgrounds with different life experiences to focus on something they have in common. Resurrecting the 10th Amendment is just such an idea and if conservatives use it as the foundation for their platform of taking the country back from the cancer of progressivism I think they’ll find that most of America will be standing there right beside them cheering them on. GO AX!

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Great post about AX!

However, although I am pro-AX, I no longer emphasize AX for the following reason. From my perspective, the Founding States had established the federal Senate to be the primary firewall for protecting the republic, one of the Senate’s jobs being to prevent Congress from making constitutionally indefensible legislation which usurps states powers and steals state revenues in the form of illegal federal taxes. (Are you listening bankrupt California?)

In fact, regarding illegal federal taxes, Justice John Marshall had appropriately established the following case precedent, now wrongly ignored by both federal and state lawmakers, that Congress cannot lay taxes in the name of state power issues.

“Congress is not empowered to tax for those purposes which are within the exclusive province of the States.” –Chief Justice Marshall, Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824.

So not only is federal Obamacare, for example, constitutionally indefensible, evidenced by the Constitution’s silence about healthcare which makes healthcare a state power issue, but based on Justice Marshall’s official words, neither does corrupt Congress have the power to lay taxes in the name of healthcare.

What a mess! 🙁

The problem is that the federal Senate is no longer serving the Founder’s purpose to protect state interests. And the reason that corrupt senators have been ignoring AX for decades now is because state lawmakers unthinkingly ratified AXVII, aka the 17th Amendment, foolishly giving up the voices of the constitutionally-powerful state legislatures in the constitutionally-humbled federal government.

So instead of beating the drums for AX, I now emphasize repealing AXVII, the reason that AX is not working, IMO.

Remember in November! AXVII has to go after November.

How you define general welfare has been an issue debate since the founding of the nation. However in my opinion it is not the broad interpretation of general welfare that allows for unlimited government it is the lack of a balanced budget amendment. We need a balanced budget amendment. Another thing we should consider doing to increase efficiency is merging certain departments. Why not merge Energy, Interior, and Agriculture into a U.S. Department of Natural Resources that would include the US Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, the various scientific agencies, food inspections, etc. Any thoughts on that one?

As for the 10th, one could argue that that applies to the judicial system since the federal government has such limited power when it comes to prosecuting crimes. Congress is not even mentioned in the 10th.

Mascot? I’d go with “A-10”. Not real pretty but it gets the job done.

I think passing one of the original first proposed Amendments:

Article the first… After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

That would mean the House of Reps would have over 5,000 members. Harder for corporate interests or union interests to buy off… any citizen with a web site and Kinkos could run and win. Then we would have really elected representatives.

Blast. That is a good one. I also think you should not be allowed to donate to a campaign unless it’s one you can vote for.

But seriously Blast, that really is very clever. If I were standing by you in person I would so shake your hand right now.

I once read an alternate-history novel where citizens had the equivalent of a “proxy” instead of the vote. They could vote it themselves, or assign it to any representative they wished. It was all done electronically…

Practically, I think each state should amend it’s own constitution to require all federal legislation to contain a clause specifying it’s constitutionality… regulations too for that matter… If omitted, the law has no authority within that state, and enforcement becomes a felony. If enough states do it, what can they do….