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Every once in a while, the Supreme Court delivers up an opinion conservatives or libertarians like.

For instance, conservatives always cheer when federal courts strike down state gun laws. And just last week, libertarians rejoiced when the Supreme Court ruled every state must recognize same-sex marriages.

While rulings like these certainly count as wins for “liberty,” I almost always find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to oppose them.

Why?

Because these federal court opinions extend federal power into spheres it was never meant to reach.

Under the constitutional system, federal authority remains constrained by specific enumerated powers. All other authority was left to the states and the people. While the founding generation recognized the fact that states could impose tyranny, it emphatically rejected federal control over state governments – for better or for worse.

The constitutional system was predicated on a very simple premise – centralized, government power ultimately poses the greatest threat to liberty, therefore we should guard against consolidation of government into one great body.

During the Massachusetts ratifying convention, Fisher Aims argued for the inclusion of an amendment that would later become the Tenth.

“A consolidation of the States would subvert the new Constitution, and against which this article is our best security. Too much provision cannot be made against consolidation. The State Governments represent the wishes and feelings, and the local interests of the people. They are the safeguard and ornament of the Constitution; they will protect the period of our liberties; they will afford a shelter against the abuse of power, and will be the natural avengers of our violated rights.”

The states were always intended to serve as a bulwark against federal overreach. The founders never conceived of a federal government policing the states.

Written by Mike Maharrey
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