Opinion

Is state sovereignty vanishing?

Ashley Stinnett Contributor

During the 2008 election cycle, Fox News personality Sean Hannity proclaimed journalism to be dead. As each day passes, the overwhelming evidence and recent polling data clearly prove that assessment to be correct. However, many could argue the industry had lost its so-called objective news coverage decades prior.

Flash forward a couple of years and we are in the middle of yet another unthinkable; the war on state’s rights.

Perhaps one of the most telling signs of an anger-filled political year has been in the form of two recent federal judge rulings that have all but null and voided state’s rights. Two weeks ago, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker sent a message to millions of Californians who oppose legalizing gay marriage that the voice of the people shall not and will not be tolerated. A week before that controversial ruling, Arizona’s Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton ruled many parts of that state’s anti-illegal immigration law were unconstitutional.

So what is the overall theme here? The federal government controls everything, period.

The issue of state sovereignty took hold early last year when nearly 40 states either voted on or brought up the ratification of the 10th amendment as it pertains to the U.S. Constitution. Since then, around a dozen states have passed similar legislation out of frustration towards growing government infringement on individual rights.

Liberal analysts have professed these measures to be “in-name” only without much merit; however, the overall sentiment towards the federal government in states that have passed sovereignty legislation is extremely negative.

This often overlooked amendment to our constitution prohibits federal regulation of local issues in specific states (i.e. health care) which could be referred to as congressional “policing”. The founders recognized the threat of an overreaching government because they lived through Britain’s tyrannical rule towards the colonies. The insertion of the 10th amendment into our nation’s founding document was aimed at regulating unchecked power in the form of oppression from our own government.

Like it or not, the 10th amendment is there for a reason and should be treated as such.

The more the federal government empowers itself over the people, the more states will line up to fight back. The only question is do they have a legitimate chance?

Since early this year, numerous states have also passed legislation that would nullify the increasingly unpopular federal health care mandate, a future cap and trade law, and additional firearm ownership restrictions.

Regrettably these laws could wind up entangled in one overly exhaustive court battle after another. And in some cases, could go before the Supreme Court which would ultimately define the power of balance between states and the federal government.

At one time, constitutional scholars believed that the only way to fight back against a strong centralized government was through individual state action. Unfortunately, recent judicial rulings along with more intrusive federal mandates have proven that states are losing power at a rapid pace.

This is extremely dangerous.

In a political year where many Americans are left deciding which has become more shocking; the unprecedented amount of corruption and oppressive behavior in government or how unbelievably radical the Democratic Party has turned out to be, state’s rights could become a top issue.

Ashley Stinnett lives in West Virginia, where he serves as an adjunct college instructor, writer, media and public relations consultant, public speaker, and author. He is currently a nationally syndicated columnist and author of the new book, “Grasping Appalachian Conservatism: How Not To Be Mistaken For A Latte Liberal.”