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Justice to the 10th power

While discussing the latest idiocy regarding illegal aliens, an idea struck me: could there be a Constitutional basis for the states taking up the fight in securing our borders, when the Federal government fails?

From what I see, the Federal government's responsibility for securing the borders derives from The Constitution's Article I, Section 8: "provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." By the traditional reading, that means that concerns of preventing illegal aliens are the bailiwick of the Feds.

But what to do when the Federal government doesn't do its job? Does that mean that those criminals simply fall through the cracks, and are free to violate the laws?

Inspired by Chief Chamberlain, I went looking for a way in the Constitution to justify his actions. And I think I may have.

The 10th Amendment states the following:

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.

In simpler words, if a power isn't specifically given to the Federal government, it is reserved to the individual States or the people directly.

Now, it may be a bit of a stretch, but like the liberals like to say, the Constitution is a "living document" and "an evolving paradigm." It really isn't much of a stretch to say that if the Federal government chooses to not exercise its power to fulfill one of its obligations, the responsibility for that doesn't simply go away. Using the principle of the 10th Amendment, the responsibility should then shift to the States and the people.

It'd be much simpler if the United States Constitution followed New Hampshire's. Article 10 of our Bill Of Rights (which is at the BEGINNING of our Constitution, not tacked on to the end) clearly states:

Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance ag ainst arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

Chief Chamberlain, lead on. Your arresting of illegal aliens for "criminal trespass" is in the finest spirit of the men who wrote the Constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire.


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Comments (8)

Makes sense, apart from the... (Below threshold)

Makes sense, apart from the minor problem of the 10th being roundly ignored long since, and things like the commerce clause being stretched liberally to mean the feds have unlimited power and purview.

More emphasis as to why Pre... (Below threshold)

More emphasis as to why President Bush's remarks -- when asked about the MinuteMen project, saying that he "(didn't) endorse vigilantiism" -- were quite so shocking.

I voted for Bush and I'd at this point not even remotely consider abandoning the Republican Party as to my voter affiliation and support, BUT, this issue about refusing to secure our borders, to enforce immigration legislation ("the border's a hard thing to monitor" -- um, well, yeah, it is, but consider the alternatives), and more, the emphasis on discouraging citizen activity on behalf of themselves and the country as to border security...it all adds up to a very disappointing failure to my view and to that of many others, as to the huge burdens that illegal immigration have and continue to wage against our nation and our culture as a country. Not to mention having completely made unbelievable the whole notion of public services, so abused by so many and in ever increasing numbers.

Hillary Clinton is going to use this issue like a club over the heads of everyone for 2008 along with bashing Bill's Bible onto anyone and everyone she can nab at arm's and microphone's length. The Republican Party is completely mishandling the issue of illegal immigration and border security and it's disappointing to many of us.

About citizen action, yes, you're right. Everyone mostly understands this concept, too, among most conservatives, anyway, about what it means to act responsibly as a citizen in the context of "protecting and defending" our country. But many are very disrespected by whomevers when they assert that responsibility.

Jay Tea writes: N... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea writes: Now, it may be a bit of a stretch, but like the liberals like to say, the Constitution is a "living document" and "an evolving paradigm."

Nice to see your commitment to the principle of originalism is as strong as I've been saying.

Tell us, Jay. What other line-in-the-sand principles of conservative idealism are you willing to throw away the second political expediency requires a new situational ethic?

Let me make an introduction... (Below threshold)

Let me make an introduction.

s9, this is humor.

Humor, this is s9.

As to the substance, the tenth amendment makes clear that anything not prohibited specifically, the States can do. So Jay Tea's argument holds. The federal government would have to actually PROHIBIT the enforcement of its own immigration law to stop what the local sheriffs are doing.

Humor? Shouldn't the origi... (Below threshold)

Humor? Shouldn't the original post have been filed in the "humor" category then? (Paul is much more diligent about that gambit than Jay, it seems.)

I HATE having to explain a ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

I HATE having to explain a joke. It just sucks all the humor out of it.

That being said, s9, that one PARAGRAPH was sarcastic. The rest was not satire.

Every now and then, I just about give up on posting humorous pieces. I realize that I could never deliberately be as funny as you are unintentionally. But then I realize I don't want to let you shape my actions in any way, and I shrug it off.


Jay, keep posting the funny... (Below threshold)

Jay, keep posting the funny pieces. Most people, myself included, 'get it', enjoy and laugh along with you. Others, of the humor-impaired variety don't, won't, and will never - so frig'em.

Also, it is a given that 'severe humor-impairment' is a hall mark of the looney left. But the question is, does looney-leftism cause the humor impairment, or is humor impairment required to be a looney lefter?

Also - great article. We need more like leaders like Chief Chamberlain.

- Jay - you are exactly cor... (Below threshold)

- Jay - you are exactly correct but not stating it strongly enough. ( let me stray from the humor side for a moment ). You don't have to "stretch" anything. The states retain the final say and importment of any and all powers to the federation. Period. Not only can they act if the fed jumps the shark, they have the total power to act, even if the fed does and does it badly, as is the case here. The only possible exception would be if the other states as a group "vetoed" such a move and then the state in question could always susceed, and do as they please. The whole purpose of the IX and X amendments was to insure that the tail could never wag the dog.






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