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State's Rights?

Hoplite

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I'm a little confused by a constant insistence on states determining their own laws when it comes to certain issues. I see people who insist that states should be allowed to decide on their own laws, but I see certain problems with the concept at least on certain issues.

For instance, abortion, if the issue is left up to the states to decide, enforcement becomes an issue. If abortion is completely banned in, say, Arizona but completely legal in California, residents of Arizona can easily cross the border into California for the procedure and have very little issue. You also now have a patchwork of legislation, possibly different for every state, that can change every election cycle.

Now I agree that states should be allowed to decide CERTAIN issues, but I do feel there needs to be some sort of federal minimum for these issues to ensure a basic framework exists to avoid a state-by-state legal patchwork.
 

Phantom

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Different issues will be enforced differently and it depends on how it will be enforced, and where it will be enforced. The issue you used in your example (abortion) is already dealt with on the state level. In Louisiana (my home state) we have laws that prohibits abortion unless the health of the mother is in danger. No exceptions, and violators serve 10 years in prison. It's enforced this way. If the citizens are unhappy with the law, they have the freedom to go to another state or country to preform the abortion. This would be the same as if abortion was illegal in the entire US but not in Canada. Citizens of the United States would get a passport and head to Canada to get the abortion. Like they say, people can vote with their feet.

Take Medical Marijuana as a state's rights issue since it gets much attention. In Louisiana we have strict laws prohibiting the sale, use, and even medical use of Marijuana within the state. If someone is caught with Marijuana they get heavy jail time and pay fines. There are people in this state who really need the medicine, but state law does not allow it. In California medical Marijuana is legal. Now, the people in Louisiana have two options. 1) Move to California or another state with legal medical Marijuana programs, 2) Find another way to treat their pain. It's up to the individual. If they need the medicine they will relocate to a state were it's legal.

The laws could change indeed, but not really every election cycle. Many of these state laws are passed by voters which makes it nearly impossible to repeal with a conventional house/senate vote. The framework is our Bill of Rights and the supreme court. State's are granted authority over their jurisdiction, but they can't do something that goes against our Bill of Rights. When they do, this is when it goes to the supreme court. The Chicago Gun Ban is an example of this 'framework.'
 

samsmart

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I'm a little confused by a constant insistence on states determining their own laws when it comes to certain issues. I see people who insist that states should be allowed to decide on their own laws, but I see certain problems with the concept at least on certain issues.

For instance, abortion, if the issue is left up to the states to decide, enforcement becomes an issue. If abortion is completely banned in, say, Arizona but completely legal in California, residents of Arizona can easily cross the border into California for the procedure and have very little issue. You also now have a patchwork of legislation, possibly different for every state, that can change every election cycle.

Now I agree that states should be allowed to decide CERTAIN issues, but I do feel there needs to be some sort of federal minimum for these issues to ensure a basic framework exists to avoid a state-by-state legal patchwork.
Well, it really depends on the issue involved.

Recreational drug use is easy to regulate on a state-by-state basis. However, abortion is more difficult to regulate because the two groups who are the most likely to get unwanted pregnancies, and therefore the most likely to get abortions, are the poor and teenagers. By having a state make abortion illegal, an undue burden is put on those two groups.

There's also the fact that states may try to make it illegal to go to other states to get an abortion. So a state may try to convict women who get abortions in states where it is legal to do so. There's also that factor to take in consideration as well.

So, really, it depends on the issue as to whether or not it should be legislated by the state government or the federal government.
 

cubbies2ws

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States make their own laws until there becomes such a widespread disparity between opposing views that it must be addressed by the federal level. It also needs to be an important law/issue. That's the way I see it at least. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.
 

mpg

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We need federal laws for some things, but for most things, I see nothing wrong with a state by state patchwork.
 

molten_dragon

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I'm not against the idea of states rights, if applied with some common sense. Some things make sense to determine on a state-by-state basis. Others make more sense to determine on a federal basis.
 
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