Today's Things To Read has a slightly political bent... but stick with me to the end... when I jump from the political bandwagon over into the bus headed for CrazyTown. (Or just skip ahead, I won't mind... much.)
Anyhow.... Today is the birthday of our Constitution which went into effect on this day in 1789.
Speaking of the Constitution… have you been keeping up on the latest drama regarding State’s Rights?
If you are like me, when you hear the phrase “State’s Rights” you think Civil War, Robert E Lee, bloodshed, and maybe randomly an old Calvin and Hobbs strip. (Calvin attempted to secede from the family at one point and in the process lost Hobbes in the snow…. A fitting allegory if there ever was one, but I digress.)
What’s the big deal with State’s Rights?
As I understand it, the Federal Government is supposed to the be the “supreme law” (from the Constitution) and can make overriding laws that everyone must follow but each state is allowed to regulate itself for smaller things, or things that aren’t regulated at the Federal level.
So, in state 1 it might be illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving, but in state 2 there isn’t a law against it (yet). This is all well and good until the Federal Government decides it needs to get involved and if it makes a Federal law saying “no cell phone use while driving” then it doesn’t matter what State 2 thinks… they are overwritten.
There are a few cases where this makes sense. When it was decided that there should be a Federal Drinking Age, it went for all the states. When it was determined that women should have the right to vote… it was a Federal thing and this kept any backwater states from backwater shenanigans.
Right now you are probably aware of the State’s Rights issue of Gay Marriage. Some states want to allow it… others don’t. The problem besides the fairness or “rightness” of this is that if you get married in State 1, you should be allowed to have your marriage recognized in State 2. right?
Ok, anyway… there seems to be some other State Rights things at issue currently.
Some states are saying they don’t want any part of it… it will raise their taxes and they think it is a bad idea. So, there are resolutions being passed that would let the states not obey the Federal provisions in the Stimulus package.
My question: Where do we draw the line? If the states have the right to cherry pick which Federal laws they are going to follow… then doesn’t that totally negate the power of the Federal government? At the same time, when the Federal government wants to pass things like DOMA (or the Stimulus package) when do the States have the right to say “no!”? And who gets to decide?
Where is the cut off between the slippery slope of “too much government” and “needs of the many”/”protect the minority”?
It isn’t just the stimulus that has people freaking out.
The (New Hampshire) House is scheduled to vote on Rep. Daniel Itse's resolution asserting state sovereignty, or the right to ignore any federal law or policy that violates the U.S. Constitution. Itse says many policies fit the bill, including the No Child Left Behind Act, the federal stimulus package and any new assault rifle ban.
And in South Carolina : “A Senate panel approved it,a measure asserting state sovereignty, Tuesday. The House has already passed a similar measure.”
Now, it is unclear if these resolutions will have any affect over in Washington DC… or if bloggers everywhere will just use these as further examples of the death throes of a bitter and angry Republican party… but the issues being discussed here do bear looking into. (again I will bring up DOMA)
Because State Rights affect us all. Right now the biggest example that comes to my mind is the whole Prop 8 debacle.
Speaking of Prop 8, here is an update: The CA Superior Court meets tomorrow: “The issue this time is different: not whether the marriage limitation is discriminatory or intrudes on personal freedom, but whether a majority of the voters, by amending the state Constitution, can eliminate minority rights that the court has recognized.”
If you are like me and you won’t be able to take the day off of work to go show your support, you do have other options:
How to watch:
--The hearing is scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon at the court's chambers at 350 McAllister St. in San Francisco . It can be viewed live on the California Channel, which is carried on Comcast cable systems in the Bay Area. The channel number varies from city to city, so check local listings.
--A group favoring same-sex marriage will sponsor a public viewing of the oral arguments on a JumboTron in San Francisco 's Civic Center Plaza .
-- A live Webcast will also be available
And just so you don’t think my blog has gone all political… here is something special, something right out of the “WTF?” box:*
The PMS Buddy“a free service created to keep you aware of when your wife, girlfriend, mother, sister, daughter, or any other women in your life are closing in on "that time of the month" - when things can get intense for what may seem to be no reason at all….there is no reason to ever be blindsided by PMS again.” That’s right folks.. get “Threat level alerts” sent to you iPhone or uploaded on your Facebook profile… Because apparently this is what society needs.
And now that my brain is all sorts of numb, it is time for me to head to work.
*I want an actual “WTF?” box… Meg gets a stamp… why can’t I have a box?