The misuse of the 14th Amendment has led to a concentration of power among a few living along the Potomac River, writes Linden Bateman.
By Linden Bateman
Questions regarding the powers granted to the national and state levels of government by the Constitution created controversy almost before the ink was dry on that venerable document. Radical interpretations of states’ rights, including the theories of nullification and succession, led to the spread of slavery, the persecution of racial and religious minorities, and the near dissolution of the Union during the Civil War.
The passage of the 13th and 14th amendments, following the war, modified state authority and brought protection to minorities and an end to legal segregation. Since those days, however, the pendulum has swung to the other side with a massive transfer of power from the states to the federal government in almost every area of public policy, including education, welfare, resource management, law enforcement, business regulation and family law.
By stretching a few general phrases in the Constitution, liberal federal judges have been the handmaidens in this transfer of power into the hands of a few people living along the Potomac River, thus weakening the principle of federalism established by the framers of the Constitution. Micromanaging federal officials often treat the states like administrative provinces rather than sovereign states. I wonder what James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution, would think about the current federal mandate that girls be allowed to wrestle boys in high school wrestling tournaments, for example.
Major cases weakening the states usually come through the 14th Amendment, which is stretched and twisted so often that it should perhaps be placed in a gold frame and by itself become the Constitution. When the Supreme Court removed state protections of unborn infants, our most helpless and vulnerable minority, it was ironically done through the 14th Amendment, which was drafted to protect minorities. Starting in the late 1950s the Court used the 14th Amendment to remove virtually all state controls on pornography, with the result that children first view pornography at an average age of 12, with many being much younger.
The 14th Amendment is used by judges to inhibit the practice of religion, to micromanage the operation of public schools, state and local agencies, voting laws, etc., etc., and now they would force the states to redefine marriage, regardless of the effects such changes will have upon the ongoing disintegration of American morals.
What’s next on the liberal agenda?
Centralized power in Washington discourages creativity and the participation of citizens in state and local government who feel powerless, even on issues unique to their region. What works for California or Massachusetts may not be best for Idaho. Through the exercise of their constitutional authority, the states will surely make mistakes, but the concentration of power in the hands of a few people in Washington is far more dangerous.