Rediscovering the Tenth Amendment

This photo made available by the U.S. National Archives shows a portion of the United States Constitution with Articles V-VII. For the past two centuries, constitutional amendments have originated in Congress, where they need the support of two-thirds of both houses, and then the approval of at least three-quarters of the states. But under a never-used second prong of Article V, amendments can originate in the states. (National Archives via AP)


The silliness of the Left and the media (I repeat myself) has been on full display recently.  As California and New York announced they would coordinate reopening the decimated United States economy with neighboring states, the media has suddenly discovered the virtues of federalism.  Some online activists are cheering on the notion of separatism.  Gavin Newsom even referred to California as a “nation-state.”  When asked to clarify the statement, he doubled down on it.

Of course, Newsom obviously lacks a map of the United States since Washington is definitely not a “neighboring state.”  It is no coincidence that those signing onto this notion are all Democrats- Newsom, Brown, and Inslee on the West Coast.  In the East it is Wolfe, Carper, Murphy, Cuomo, and the crackpots in the New England states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.  Throw in the nominal Republican and consummate NeverTrumper Charlie Baker in Massachusetts.

Newsom’s statement, in particular, was heard as a dog-whistle for separatism.  In knee jerk fashion, the phrase “Cascadia” began trending on social media.  This is a term for an independent Pacific Northwest polity.  As of this writing, the Northeast activists have not come up with a pithy name for regional go-it-alone idea.  Perhaps the Acela Republic can be used.

When asked about it, President Trump brushed it off.  He said he did not have to ask the governors to ease their draconian lockdowns even though he had “total authority,” but chose not to exercise it.  And just like that, the media suddenly discovered federalism, state’s rights, police powers and the Tenth Amendment.  That amendment says states reserve all the power not explicitly delegated to the federal government.  Ironically, or not, it is often neglected by the Left in their zeal for unchecked federal power.  Today, the media is touting and activists are swearing by the Tenth Amendment when just a week ago the same people were bemoaning Trump’s reluctance to declare a national emergency sooner than he did.


Without the declaration of a national emergency, many of the steps the Trump administration has taken would not have been possible.  In fact, invoking the Defense Production Act cannot be done in the absence of the declaration of a national emergency.  While this gaggle of Democrat governors are arguing from an individual or regional basis of power, they fail to see that the Wuhan virus is a national emergency.

Naturally, we can debate whether the outbreak of this virus is truly “national” in nature although it has affected and is present in every state.  The problem is that it is unevenly spread throughout the country with some areas harder hit than others.  Even in states hardest hit, there are large swaths of those states largely unaffected with the bulk of the cases in large metropolitan areas.  A map of the outbreak in the country reveals where things are the worse.

What is amazing, however, is the audacity of these governors to bypass the White House’s guidance altogether and go it alone.  It is audacious in that these are the very entities crying to the White House for intervention be it masks, hospital beds, PPEs, ventilators and, of course, federal money.

As for the notion of separatism, it is no surprise that the talk is greatest in states run by Democrats.  The last time there was a major dispute between the states and the federal government was 155 years ago.  Then, it was also Democrat states rebelling against a Republican President whose election they considered illegitimate.  That previous dispute did not end well and cost 600,000 American lives- more than any model of Wuhan flu now predicts.  Out of the Civil War, the United States emerged a singular noun.  As for the Tenth Amendment, it became a neglected relic of the Antebellum period.


Previously, many people believed it would be conservative red states talking about separatism and invoking the Tenth Amendment to resist an overreaching federal government dominated by coastal elitist liberals.  Who knew it would be Democrats irritated by OrangeManBad not being dictatorial enough for their tastes?

They wanted a national emergency to access national help and funds and they got it.  Today, they are crying that their state resources have been depleted and they seek federal help out of one side of their mouths while declaring they will go it alone despite what Trump determines out of the other side of their mouths.  They want the best of both worlds.  They are blinded by their insatiable lust for power to realize their own hypocrisy.

If they want to and have expanded the scope and purpose of the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause, then they need to realize that those powers cut both ways.  If Trump was to lift the state of emergency and shelf the DPA until the next time and stop moving ventilators around the country, rest assured the Tenth Amendment will again become a neglected relic, the Left will forget about federalism, and states rights will be forgotten for the “we’re all in this together” mantra.

The Left’s hypocrisy and naked, unapologetic power grab is more sickening than some damn virus from China.


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