Over the last couple of years, the issue of the 10th Amendment has started to gain a bit of traction in the media. Things such as medical marijuana and firearms freedoms laws have been most visible in the area, as they quite distinctly tell the federal government that they can take their “interstate-commerce clause” argument and stick it up their….
Anyways, of course the feds don’t like being challenged, and in the case of the ATF, will claim that the state law doesn’t mean anything. The same effectively holds true on the medical marijuana side of the coin as well.
Of course these are just two areas that I’ve used as examples. There are many more, one of which is the issue of the EPA declaring that they will regulate CO2 emissions if congress doesn’t act, and states responding with a lawsuit.
Despite the many areas in which states can, or have, pushed for their sovereignty, I chose to use these two examples because of the way that the government likes to handle violations in those areas – usually violently.
It’s one thing for the state to declare their sovereignty in one of these areas, but unless they are actually willing to take action against federal agents who go against these declarations and laws, it’s all talk.
Wyoming’s firearms freedom act is a good start in regards to this. Not only does the law tell the federal government to bugger off, but that attempts by federal agents to apply federal law to state produced and held firearms will subject the agents to jail time.
Like I said though, it’s a start. Reading the article further, you’ll see that Rep. Allen Jaggi claims that particular section of the law to be symbolic.
If that’s the case, then why have it?
Not only that, but the article further continued to mention that if current litigation regarding Montana’s firearms freedom act don’t pan out, they might try with Wyoming’s.
Let’s be perfectly honest: The chance of a federal court actually ruling in favor of a state’s 10th Amendments rights? Probably not. Cases like Wickard v. Filburn show the love federal courts have for a bloated interpretation of the ICC.
Even if there was a ruling in favor of the state law (keep in mind that the state itself is not a party in the suit) at the trial court level, I have lower expectations for a win in an appellate court. In the event it goes before the SCOTUS (and I wouldn’t be surprised if they deny writ), I wouldn’t make any bets.
I’m not going sugar coat things. In the event states pass laws which expressly indicate to the federal government that they’re done dicking around in regards to the 10th Amendment – i.e. these laws, like the one example I mentioned already, have provisions for imprisoning law enforcement agents found to be in violation – they need to be willing to back it up regardless of what the SCOTUS or any other federal court thinks.
Yes, if that means telling the federal government “ef you very much, we’re not releasing your guy”, then that’s what should happen. At that point, the dice should just let fall where they will. We didn’t break off from Britain because some royal court ruled it constitutional, and states aren’t going to nullify unconstitutional laws if they don’t push when the pushing is needed.
This should be the case for ALL situations where a federal law oversteps the bounds of the constitution, not just those related to firearms or pot.