Concepts of National Rights vs. States Rights
The concepts of state rights vs. national rights have been analyzed by legal experts and constitutional theorists for several decades. The Tenth Amendment of the Constitution outlines the division of power between states and the federal government. The amendment states that: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states, or the people” (Barber 27). The amendment indicates that each state has the potential to address the interests of its citizens.
Unfortunately, the federal government has become an authoritative institution that dictates the same rules to different states. For instance, the federal government enacts laws and legislations that regulate the environment, business processes, employment, agriculture, housing, education, and energy across the country (Barber 84). With over one thousand departments, it is agreeable that the federal government has become a tyrannical institution.
History shows clearly that the battle between states and national rights has been ongoing for many years. For instance, many states in the south used to have laws that permitted discrimination and discouraged African Americans from voting. Fortunately, the intervention of the federal government led to national laws aimed at dealing with the vice. Many local and state governments have also been identifying new laws in an attempt to define their unique standards. This issue forces federal authorities to respond to every gray or awkward situation (Kilberg 1075). Although the concept of states’ rights is widely embraced by many people, the undeniable fact is that the Constitution supports the extensive, ample, and supreme power of the federal government.
Is it Acceptable for Citizens of One State to Enjoy Specific Rights?
The national vs. state rights is a problematic debate that has attracted the attention of many legal minds over the years. When states are empowered to institute their unique rights, it becomes possible for some citizens to enjoy liberties that are not available elsewhere in the country (Grove 861). This kind of development is unacceptable because the union of the states should be dictated by the Constitution.
The decision to have the residents of one state enjoying specific rights that are unavailable in the other parts of the country is against the Constitution. In the second paragraph of Article 6, the Federal Constitution and law “take precedence over the policies and regulations established in each state” (Kilberg 1089).
It would be wrong for the people of a nation bound by one Constitution to have different rights because of the concept of states’ rights. This is the case because the Constitution has supremacy in the republic and should be respected by all citizens. The Constitution outlines the unique liberties that should be enjoyed equally by all American citizens.
Changing Existing Laws
It is agreeable that the American Constitution empowers different states to formulate the laws that are not delegated to them. This provision explains why different states have legalized the use of marijuana while others have not. The current laws can, therefore, be changed by focusing on the Bill of Rights. The interpretation of the Constitution should be done in an informed manner to provide equal rights to every American citizen (Grove 876). By so doing, the federal government will protect the Constitution and ensure the states implement uniform laws. This strategy will ensure the citizens in every state enjoy equal liberties.
Barber, Sotirios. The Fallacies of States’ Rights. Harvard University Press, 2013.
Grove, Tara. “When Can a State Sue the United States?” Cornell Law Review, vol. 101, no. 1, 2016, pp. 851-899.
Kilberg, Andrew. “We the People: The Original Meaning of Popular Sovereignty.” Virginia Law Review, vol. 100, no. 1, 2014, pp. 1061-1109.