August 12, 2009

The Bill of Federalism: Amendment #6

Carroll Andrew Morse

In a very important sense, the sixth proposed amendment of the Bill of Federalism is compensation for the change brought about by the Seventeenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which provided for the direct election of Senators, when they had previously been chosen by state legislatures.

Now, as a resident of the state of Rhode Island and an observer of its politics, I am definitely NOT in favor of repealing the Seventeenth Amendment.

However, it must be noted that passage of the Seventeenth Amendment dissolved the only direct check that States had on the power of the Federal government. Given this fact, should we be surprised that the power of the Federal government has grown at the expense of the states?

In order to remedy this problem, the sixth proposed Federalism amendment would create a new mechanism that allows states to check Federal action…

Upon the identically worded resolutions of the legislatures of three quarters of the states, any law or regulation of the United States, identified with specificity, is thereby rescinded.
Professor Randy Barnett of the Georgetown University Law School and author of the Bill of Federalsim offers this rationale for the sixth proposed amendment…
At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to seek an amendment to the Constitution by applying for a constitutional convention to propose amendments that must then be ratified by three-quarters of the states. This proposed amendment provides an additional check on federal power by empowering the same number of states to rescind any law or regulation when they concur it is necessary. Such a power provides a targeted method to reverse particular Congressional acts and administrative regulations without the risk of permanently amending the text of the Constitution.
Links to earlier proposed amendments are below the fold…

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I approve of the idea, but am somewhat troubled with the idea of indentical wording. Some how that gives comfort and makes it easier. Explore state regulations for licensing psychaitrists (for one) you will see that they are identically worded. I suspect there was not much debate among the legislatures that approved them.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at August 12, 2009 7:28 PM

while still an unknown young man. Of sixty-seven which now remain, gold cloths. Here he sat down and she sat by his side and toyed proposals. Justly impatient of the delays and colorless policy of both

Posted by: at September 13, 2012 2:04 AM
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