• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Contradiction in the Constitution...

Mensch

Mr. Professional
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Messages
3,715
Reaction score
751
Location
Northern Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
 

Orion

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 25, 2008
Messages
8,083
Reaction score
3,918
Location
Canada
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Independent
It's a combination of both in balance. The Fed's job is to ensure the well being of the union as a whole, and individual States cannot accomplish that. That's why some laws are state driven while others exist nation wide. I do think the balance is becoming tipped though.
 

Harry Guerrilla

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
28,955
Reaction score
12,423
Location
Not affiliated with other libertarians.
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
We were meant to be an economic free trade zone with a common defense pact.
We were supposed to have a pretty board set of individual rights.
Each state was supposed to be semi-autonomous.
Pretty similar to the EU.

Of course, that has been perverted to what we have now.
 

other

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,473
Reaction score
587
Location
VA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
I don't see the supremacy clause as a contradiction, although unfortunately it has been abused at times causing great harm. I think it was necessary to include it to ensure that the federal government was not simply another established state government, in a sense, but problems arise because interpreters (judges) tend to cherry-pick what they want to when they shouldn't.

In the case of the Supremacy Clause, the phrase in the first part of the clause:
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land....
seems to have been completely forgotten. It shouldn't be. It says federal laws: " which shall be made in Pursuance [of the Constitution]."

The problems arise when this important phrase is ignored, and it is assumed that any federal law trumps any state law. IMO, the proper interpretation, including this important phrase, is: any federal law, in pursuance of the federal government's proper constitutional authority only, shall trump state laws.
 
Last edited:

other

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 2, 2009
Messages
1,473
Reaction score
587
Location
VA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
It's a combination of both in balance. The Fed's job is to ensure the well being of the union as a whole, and individual States cannot accomplish that. That's why some laws are state driven while others exist nation wide. I do think the balance is becoming tipped though.
No. the Federal government's job is supposed to be to follow what is written into the Constitution, no more, no less. The balance was actually, and still is supposed to be, tipped heavily in favor of the states and/or the people themselves, with the federal govermnent restricted to very specific powers in which it necessarily held supreme authority--but these powers were originally relatively few.
 

Crunch

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
4,063
Reaction score
890
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
No. the Federal government's job is supposed to be to follow what is written into the Constitution, no more, no less. The balance was actually, and still is supposed to be, tipped heavily in favor of the states and/or the people themselves, with the federal govermnent restricted to very specific powers in which it necessarily held supreme authority--but these powers were originally relatively few.
exactly.... that's why we have the 10th amendment.

Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

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 United States Constitution - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net

Section 8 details the delegated powers of Congress, who by the way has the only power in the US government to write and pass laws.

Section 8 - Powers of Congress

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
The United States Constitution - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net

If you don't see it in Section 8, it is a State right unless it is covered in Section 10... if it is covered in Section 10, but not in Section 8, it is a right reserved to the people.

Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

The United States Constitution - The U.S. Constitution Online - USConstitution.net

Pretty simple.
 

Aunt Spiker

Cheese
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
28,433
Reaction score
16,986
Location
Sasnakra
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
The federal government holds supremacy *only if* the issue is in direct conflict with a state issue and *only if* the federal government has been granted authority/power in that area.

The federal government cannot grant itself more rights/permissions/strengths than is already in the Constitution - it has ___ powers and that's it. . . which is how things can be deemed 'unconstitutional'

The states have *more* powers (as in - amount of) than the federal government and a states powers are undefined - but must abide by the basics of the Constitution which each state ratified. Unlike the federal government which is very limited and very defined in what it can and cannot do.
 

drz-400

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
551
Location
North Dakota
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
A strong centralized government was one of the main reasons for adopting the constitution, given the failures of the articles of confederation.
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
243,800
Reaction score
73,365
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
A strong centralized government was one of the main reasons for adopting the constitution, given the failures of the articles of confederation.
a "stronger" centralized government----------------that is the accurate statement.

the constitution clearly intended a limited government with only the powers clearly delegated to it.
 

drz-400

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
551
Location
North Dakota
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
a "stronger" centralized government----------------that is the accurate statement.

the constitution clearly intended a limited government with only the powers clearly delegated to it.
Sure, but whatever those powers where seemed to be pretty unclear. Half the people who were at the convention could not even agree upon what the federal government was allowed to do, and when the constitution was ratified, there were at least 3 conflicting interpretations as to what the legislative power of the federal government was.
 

TurtleDude

warrior of the wetlands
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2005
Messages
243,800
Reaction score
73,365
Location
Ohio
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Right
Sure, but whatever those powers where seemed to be pretty unclear. Half the people who were at the convention could not even agree upon what the federal government was allowed to do, and when the constitution was ratified, there were at least 3 conflicting interpretations as to what the legislative power of the federal government was.
that may be true but I can state without any danger of contradiction that no one can find any support for much of what the government does today in the original intent of ANY of the founders
 

drz-400

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
551
Location
North Dakota
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
that may be true but I can state without any danger of contradiction that no one can find any support for much of what the government does today in the original intent of ANY of the founders
For the most part, you may be right. There were some noteable exceptions though, for example, Gouverneur Morris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He tried to make congresses powers even more expansive than they are today. He added a semicolon before the general welfare clause to make legislating for the general welfare a seperate power. This would mean that the government could not only spend on the general welfare but also regulate. However, rodger sherman caught the semicolon and added the comma, to prevent this from happening.
 

Aunt Spiker

Cheese
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
28,433
Reaction score
16,986
Location
Sasnakra
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
A strong centralized government was one of the main reasons for adopting the constitution, given the failures of the articles of confederation.
Exactly!

We already had a country in which the states carried the strength - fed was weak - and obviously it was a horrible idea.
 

American

Constitutionalist
Bartender
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
88,582
Reaction score
27,837
Location
SE Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
Only laws within the powers of the Federal govt are supreme over state law.
 

Crunch

DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
4,063
Reaction score
890
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Last edited:

cpwill

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 20, 2009
Messages
63,899
Reaction score
32,554
Location
USofA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
yes. and the people were supposed to be able to choose between them.
 

Opteron

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
629
Reaction score
136
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
I don't think its a conundrum at all. You can have a strong centralized government and still have rights protected by the Bill of Rights etc. I personally am for a strong centralized government. One of the failings of the Articles of Confederation was that it was a weak centralized government. The founders strengthened the centralized government and made it into what we see today, which is clearly more successful than the weaker centralized government. I personally think that States' Right's is what led to the Civil War and division.
 

American

Constitutionalist
Bartender
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
88,582
Reaction score
27,837
Location
SE Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
I don't think its a conundrum at all. You can have a strong centralized government and still have rights protected by the Bill of Rights etc. I personally am for a strong centralized government. One of the failings of the Articles of Confederation was that it was a weak centralized government. The founders strengthened the centralized government and made it into what we see today, which is clearly more successful than the weaker centralized government. I personally think that States' Right's is what led to the Civil War and division.
The Founders did not envision the federal govt we have today, they envisioned a federal govt with limited duties and sufficient authority to carry those duties out.
 

Aunt Spiker

Cheese
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
28,433
Reaction score
16,986
Location
Sasnakra
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
The Founders did not envision the federal govt we have today, they envisioned a federal govt with limited duties and sufficient authority to carry those duties out.
This is true - the anti-federalists feared a large, centralized military and other things would happen - which is why they opposed it - and look, those things have happened.
 

WingsOfDesire

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2010
Messages
64
Reaction score
22
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
The 10th Amendment wasn't originally supposed to allow for a powerful national government the way it is today. Anybody that's taken a Constitutional Law class will know (should anyways) that in regards to the Commerce Clause (which gives the government a lot of its seemingly endless powers these past 100 years), it wasn't really applied with the 10th Amendment until the early 20th century.

Now there has certainly been plenty of good to come out of it, such as child labor laws and desegregation, but the USGOV certainly went on a power trip.
 

American

Constitutionalist
Bartender
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
88,582
Reaction score
27,837
Location
SE Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
This is true - the anti-federalists feared a large, centralized military and other things would happen - which is why they opposed it - and look, those things have happened.
But don't blame the Constitution, it provides for no such powers.
 

drz-400

DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
2,357
Reaction score
551
Location
North Dakota
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
But don't blame the Constitution, it provides for no such powers.
Yes, because that is what the anti-federalists thought...Why do you think they opposed the constitution? I'll answer for you, because many founders and eraly amercians thought it did provide such a power.
 
Last edited:

Aunt Spiker

Cheese
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
28,433
Reaction score
16,986
Location
Sasnakra
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
But don't blame the Constitution, it provides for no such powers.
The Constitution gives a lot of flex - like a Good-Morning. . .to do what's necessary and proper.
 

American

Constitutionalist
Bartender
Supporting Member
Monthly Subscriber
DP Veteran
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
88,582
Reaction score
27,837
Location
SE Virginia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
The Constitution gives a lot of flex - like a Good-Morning. . .to do what's necessary and proper.
Yeah right....necessary and proper to carry out the limited number of powers enumerated. You can't just do any damn thing you want.
 

Goobieman

DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 2, 2006
Messages
17,343
Reaction score
2,876
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Very Conservative
The founders of the constitution so desperately hoped that the nation would always strive to protect individual liberties and the rights of the states. This is especially true when considering the last two amendments of the Bill of Rights. However, the whole "federal law trumps state law" basically negates the protection of state's rights because the Feds can simply pass a law and it will always supersede ANY state law. This is the greatest canundrum of our nation: Centralized or Decentralized?
That the federal govern,ent can do this in no way necessarily negates the protection of states' riggts because there are some - indeed many - things that the federal goverment has no power to do.
 
Top Bottom