USA: Should Congress devolve powers to the states?

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Should Congress devolve powers to the states?
Yes; by constitutional amendment 25%  25%  [ 2 ]
Yes; by legislation 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Yes; by some other means, such as convention 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
No 75%  75%  [ 6 ]
Total votes : 8

beneficii
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11 Jan 2017, 2:04 pm

As it stands, Congress is pretty powerful, given current Constitutional interpretation and practice. There has been talk lately of the country being riven by partisanship such that it is becoming ungovernable and authoritarianism is beginning to rear its ugly head. There has been talk lately of the importance of states rights, but can either party trust the other to uphold those rights when they are in power?

Perhaps we need an explicit agreement, perhaps a constitutional amendment, to devolve powers to the states, to reach an understanding that there are areas to be controlled by the states that are untouchable by the Feds? What would such an arrangement look like?


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The_Walrus
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11 Jan 2017, 5:56 pm

If I were God for a day, I'd move the US towards an EU-style system (with some exceptions).

- Most power is given to individual states
- The Fed works on areas where consistency is needed (trade) or where co-operation is beneficial.
- Federal courts ensure the basic human rights of all citizens within the union.

I would abolish the office of President and let the ceremonial functions associated with it be undertaken by a senior member of Congress (the Majority Leader/Speaker of one of the houses). States would have the right to choose their own style of government as long as they were democracies, but in my utopia they'd elect one chamber of local representatives and one proportionally.

Powers retained by the Federal Government:
- Ability to tax states, but not individuals
- Defence
- "Grand projects"
- The environment, fishing, and agriculture
- Trade
- External immigration
- Issuing dollars (but the dollar's monopoly would be abolished)
- Enforcing the constitution
- Administering federal elections

Who would the states be? I'd redraw the boundaries of DC to only include major government buildings with no residents. The rest can go to Maryland or Virginia. Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands would be granted immediate full statehood. States would be allowed to secede unilaterally. States would be required to hold independence referendums for regions if properly petitioned; these new states would automatically inherit US membership.



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11 Jan 2017, 6:10 pm

I'd say the question is framed backwards. The proper question is: Should the states (and the people) more forcefully assert their (existing) powers vis a vis the federal government?

The states have enormous power under the Constitution, thanks to the 10th Amendment:

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.

The powers delegated to the federal (United States) government by the Constitution are in fact relatively few. We don't need legislation or a constitutional amendment -- we already have a constitutional amendment: #10.

This is only an issue because the federal (central) government has usurped state power, and the states have allowed this to happen. ("They have rights who dare maintain them.") There are many avenues open for the states (and the people) to reclaim their existing powers, and many people are working toward these goals. The leading clearinghouse for this movement is the Tenth Amendment Center:

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/


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11 Jan 2017, 6:19 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
If I were God for a day, I'd move the US towards an EU-style system (with some exceptions).

- Most power is given to individual states
- The Fed works on areas where consistency is needed (trade) or where co-operation is beneficial.
- Federal courts ensure the basic human rights of all citizens within the union.

I would abolish the office of President and let the ceremonial functions associated with it be undertaken by a senior member of Congress (the Majority Leader/Speaker of one of the houses). States would have the right to choose their own style of government as long as they were democracies, but in my utopia they'd elect one chamber of local representatives and one proportionally.

Powers retained by the Federal Government:
- Ability to tax states, but not individuals
- Defence
- "Grand projects"
- The environment, fishing, and agriculture
- Trade
- External immigration
- Issuing dollars (but the dollar's monopoly would be abolished)
- Enforcing the constitution
- Administering federal elections

Who would the states be? I'd redraw the boundaries of DC to only include major government buildings with no residents. The rest can go to Maryland or Virginia. Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the US Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands would be granted immediate full statehood. States would be allowed to secede unilaterally. States would be required to hold independence referendums for regions if properly petitioned; these new states would automatically inherit US membership.


Interesting proposal.

What about transportation? Who handles highways, interstate trucking, ships and navigation aids? What about the FAA?

What is the scope of "enforcing the constitution?"

How are failed or super corrupt states like NJ and RI handled?

Can other states "vote one of the states off the island?"


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kraftiekortie
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11 Jan 2017, 7:27 pm

Hell No!

We already tried that experiment----it was called "The Articles of Confederation." In about 1786, the government came close to insolvency on many fronts. Our existence as a nation was threatened.

Why do you think a constitutional convention was called?



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11 Jan 2017, 7:34 pm

The enumerated powers are relatively few, while the Ninth and Tenth amendments delegate all non-enumerated rights to the people and their states, and are open-ended. No need to devolve anything; simply, recognize what the Constitution for the United States of America actually provides.


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11 Jan 2017, 10:27 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Hell No!

We already tried that experiment----it was called "The Articles of Confederation." In about 1786, the government came close to insolvency on many fronts. Our existence as a nation was threatened.

Why do you think a constitutional convention was called?


I second that!
Also, there are still states that will take advantage of that situation to discriminate against unpopular racial and sexual minorities who have historically depended on the federal government to defend their rights.


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Jacoby
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12 Jan 2017, 1:07 am

That is what the 10th Amendment is supposed to be, powers not specifically granted to the congress in the constitution do not exist and are left to the states and people. They have done a good job just completely ignoring this provision.



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12 Jan 2017, 1:12 am

Jacoby wrote:
That is what the 10th Amendment is supposed to be, powers not specifically granted to the congress in the constitution do not exist and are left to the states and people. They have done a good job just completely ignoring this provision.

"The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost."

From Randy Barnett's Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty.

Image


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12 Jan 2017, 1:54 am

The States are currently FAR more corrupt than the Federal Government as far as I'm concerned;

People are being sued Left and Right by «STATE OF [INSERT WHATEVER STATE HERE]» for the absolute most absurd and FRIVOLOUS of reasons. Welcome to POLICE STATE U.S.A., Prison CAPITAL of the WORLD, and Police who will claim that they saw that your UNOCCUPIED motorcycle carrying a gun in order to explain why he blasted so many bullet-holes into your automobile.

God-forbid these cops in the U.S. be sent to rescue the cats out of the trees; I don't want my cats to end up being full of holes then told by the cop that the cat was carrying a gun.

What we need is a ONE WORLD REHABILITATION SYSTEM and that's IT. NO more government. Screw government. There has actually NEVER been a need for government; only for a «sane» system that «re-programs» the MINDS of the mentally unstable offenders in society to NOT want to engage in or participate or be complicit to ANY form of war-mongering or causing punishment/suffering against others. Once THAT is in place then «crime» will become a thing of the past and we can all get on with our lives without all of that ridiculous interference from the STATE Religion.


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12 Jan 2017, 7:42 am

Ban-Dodger wrote:
...People are being sued Left and Right by «STATE OF [INSERT WHATEVER STATE HERE]» for the absolute most absurd and FRIVOLOUS of reasons. Welcome to POLICE STATE U.S.A., Prison CAPITAL of the WORLD....

Yes, like the federal government, the state governments have overreached. In my state, we have waged a legal war against the federral government since we were still a territory. Currently, no federal law-enforcement officer may act (detain, question, arrest or use force) against a state citizen without written permission from the state government. It seems that federal LEOs were abusing their authority. Hm.


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