Y’all just look silly when you press this “states rights” nonsense.

28 Feb 2011 09:07 pm
Posted by: Donna


Somewhere on the internets there must be a Legal Jargon That Makes You Think You Look Smart and Like A Super Patriot on Facebook Generator that spews out stuff like the following:

The Federal Governemnt is not the “boss” of the states, and, the Founders intended it that way. States, not the Supreme Court or the US Congress are the ultimate determiners of what is Constitutional. States are the check to the power (limited as it may be by the Constitution) of the Federal Government. Instead of lambasting and bemoaning the actions of the various states, we should be applauding them. These actions are keeping alive the Spirit and Intent of the Founders, regardless of our individual political dispostitions. This is an opportunity for the world to see a republic in action. Many actions of the federal government should have been challenged on principle by the states (i.e., the Patriot Act) but were not. Now, that the federal government and many, many states are facing economic collapse, we are, out of desperation, applying states’ rights and forcing a national conversation on these issues. This is not a Democrat vs Republican issue. The issue of states’ rights is now a matter of whether or not we will have a republic (with separation of powers) or an oligarchy (Congress, SCOTUS, and POTUS) ruling over their colonies (the states).

That quote was a response to a NYT piece today about GOP-led state legislatures across the country throwing off the oppressive shackles of federal laws governing everything from environmental protections to the monetary system to food safety. These poor deluded Facebook commentating conservatives like the guy above have a lot in common with their equally deluded forebears who have done the scut work of oligarchs and corporations under the banner of “states rights” from the Civil War on. Today, they are up in arms against “Obamacare”, which is supposedly a massive imposition against the rights of states to determine how health care is run. Or, erm, maybe not:

•Take the proposal to allow insurance companies to sell across state lines. The Right has been shopping this scam for years; it sounds good until you recognize that what the right-wing is proposing is for those insurance companies to be able to sell insurance in a state while ignoring all state regulations. Companies could ignore rules prohibiting gender discrimination, charge the elderly more for insurance than allowed under state community rating rules, eliminate maternity benefits, or ignore rules requiring annual reviews of insurance increases. Insurance companies could essentially pick their own regulations by setting up shop in a state with weak consumer protections, then sell policies that violate local state law in every other state in the nation

•Similarly, “tort reform” is just a code word for the federal government gutting state medical malpractice laws. Patients would lose legal rights they previously had under individual state law. Despite medical malpractice being a tiny percentage of health care costs – less than two percent of overall spending – conservatives blithely see striking down state laws across the country as a top priority.

Speaking of being blithely unconcerned about states rights:

1. Corporate personhood: The headnote of a US Supreme Court Case, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, provided the basis for the noxious notion that corporations are people with all the rights (and none of the responsibilities) of living persons. Where are the “states rights” people on this? What if, say, Arkansas doesn’t want to consider corporations to be people? Too bad, so sad! You’ll find nothing critical about corporate personhood at The 10th Amendment Center. Lots about the need for our fellow corporate persons to be free to kill you with their products. Oh yes, indeed.

2. Citizens United: Really? You’re okay with a handful of black-robed Federal jurists dictating to states how to regulate political contributions? Why, yes, it looks like you are!

Really, y’all just look silly.


  1. Comment by Michael Boldin on February 28, 2011 9:21 pm

    Corporate “personhood” – no state should ever be required to follow some federal regulation that requires this….and at TAC we really should have some info on this topic…unfortunately our hands our full and we really have not covered it at all.

    If you’d like to put together a blog post or a full op-ed on the subject, we’d be more than happy to consider it for publication by you as a guest contributor over here. Just send it to me at the email submitted with my comment – info@tenthamendmentcenter.com


    Michael Boldin
    Tenth Amendment Center

  2. Comment by Mark on February 28, 2011 10:25 pm

    Why start acknowledging the hypocrisy now? The ideology and political posturing are just cover for pandering to plutocrats. Or so it seems.

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