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Posted: 8/24/2004 2:08:24 PM EST
Before I start just let me say that I do have some understanding of the Federal system and I know that this is an argument that goes all the way back to the founding of this country. Having said that, I feel, especially when reading in this forum about other state's disparate gun laws, that we live not so much in one country, but fifty. While we all share a common heritage, language, culture, defense, and federal laws, the disparity of law in this country makes me shake my head in utter dumbfoundedness (is that a word?). Without going into specifics (I'll let you guys do that) we all know of many instances where a given act or possession of a particular item may be perfectly legal in one state and shit-hammering-illegal in another. I mean for Christ's sake, you can be executed in some states for a given offense while in others you may only get a moderate prison sentence or maybe even less.

This marked contrast is also true of the smaller governmental subdivisions such a counties, parishes, cities, and towns. I'll quote one unique example. I live in Carson City, Nevada. In Carson City (which is also a county) prostitution is illegal. A very few miles to the east on Hwy 50 and across the Lyon county line, prostitution is legal and in fact there is quite a selection of brothels. The whore houses are so close as to make the fact that they are illegal in Carson City a non sequitur.

While such legal disparities may act to provide refuge for those fleeing the draconian legislation of one jurisdiction or allow for variety in "community standards", IMHO the laws of a nation should be uniform and uniformly applied. I know this may be an overly simplistic view, but aren't many of our current problems rooted in our Byzantine labyrinth of laws, regulations, policies, etc, etc., ad nauseum? Look at the tax code. Look at any code. Can anyone in this country keep track of the laws in their own jurisdiction let alone in neighboring ones or nationally?

One national set of laws (not too many), uniform in scope, application, and enforcement, simple enough to be understood by all citizens. Is that unrealistic?

For those of you who will argue that the system as it exists allows for regional variation under the common umbrella of the federal government, I would argue that if you need to be that different, why not be separate?

Anyway, rake this one over the coals all you brilliant minds. And keep the bloodshed to a minimum.

Link Posted: 8/24/2004 2:17:22 PM EST
The way that I've always understood it the Federal Government has NO business what so ever doing anything within the country. The Federal Government was installed to deal with other, forgien governments, levey tariffs and make treaties with forgien powers. State governments were suppose to take care of things Domestically, laws, taxes, ect. were all suppose to come under State athority not Federal. Some where along the way things got real messed up and the Feds started doing business at home and that's why things are so screwed up today. JMHO, but if the Feds would keep their nose out of Home business we'd all be better off.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 3:03:55 PM EST

Originally Posted By TNFrank:
The way that I've always understood it the Federal Government has NO business what so ever doing anything within the country. The Federal Government was installed to deal with other, forgien governments, levey tariffs and make treaties with forgien powers. State governments were suppose to take care of things Domestically, laws, taxes, ect. were all suppose to come under State athority not Federal. Some where along the way things got real messed up and the Feds started doing business at home and that's why things are so screwed up today. JMHO, but if the Feds would keep their nose out of Home business we'd all be better off.



I know there is a long history of state's rights vs the powers of the federal government. I think you're right that, as originally envisioned, the role of the federal government was quite limited and that it has gobbled up a lot of power over the last 228 years. For the sake of arguement, let's say that all that had not happened and the federal government's role was as intended. Wouldn't the legal disparities between states be even more pronounced? Isn't the federal government the glue that makes one country out of what would otherwise be fifty? Was the system, as originally envisioned, a pretty loose confederation which left most things not specifically addressed in the constitution to the individual states? Under the original or current system of power sharing or delegation, can't states develop into very diverse entities akin to separate countries? My point is that I think we are becoming just that. A disparate collection of "nation" states cobbled together under the authority of the federal government. Will the time come that the disparities become so great that we may as well be separate nations?

Link Posted: 8/24/2004 3:20:24 PM EST
State laws and your State Rights would travel with you when you went to another State. As long as you had Citizenship in a given State that's the law that you'd live under. Don't like the law in your State, move to a different one, it's that easy. There'd be no federal law to worry about, just State law. This would help to keep States in check because if they passed an unpopular law people would move to a different State taking their Tax income with them so the State would lose money if they didn't play by the peoples rules. Because of Federal law we're screwed no matter which State you live in or move to.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 3:44:54 PM EST
The federal government became the final authority over states in 1865 when the opposition to centralist rule left the government to form the CSA.

Before that time, we were a Federalist Republic in which powers were divided and separated between the Federal Government. The federal government was seen as the more dangerous side in the balance and was thus restricted to specified powers. The states were given specified powers but were also to retain all the powers not mentioned, but not given to the federal government.

Since Abraham Lincoln, the Federal Government has been the sole decision makers on what limits to its own power it should have. Not surprisingly, it has decided that it has no limits to its power.

Now the states are subordinate to federal decision. Federal law in effect supercedes state law.
And that will never change. America is on a downward slope to totalitarianism. I know I sound like a tinfoil hatter, but the trend is very plain. The libertarians are deluding themselves if they think they can return us to the system of government we had, because the vast majority of Americans have been taught in school for the past 100 years that America needs a strong, national government in authority for security.


sigh... I hate thinking about this.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 3:51:12 PM EST
depends, are you talking about the UNITED STATES, or the united States of America?

one is a corperation with subdivisions, having no real boundrys, while the other is a federation of individual countries joined by treaty.

technically the UNITED STATES only encompasses the area of Wahington DC, and the possesions therof. (primarily puerto rico, cuba, etc.) everything else is assumed.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:07:19 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/24/2004 4:08:14 PM EST by FLAL1A]
Picard & TnF have the concept firmly in hand. The difference between the federal gov't and state gov'ts is that under the Constitution, state governments are "organic," which means that they have all the attributes of plenary sovereignty not voluntarily surrendered by them by accepting the Constitution, while the federal government has NO attributes not specifically conferred upon it by the Constitution. If there were no Constitution, the state gov'ts would still exist, with the same powers as, say, Spain or the UK; the federal gov't would not exist at all.

The first big practical divergence is in the area of "police powers," which is the authority of a government to act in furtherance of the health, safety, welfare, et c. of its citizens. The federal gov't has no police powers. The states have unlimited police powers. This is why the concept of the "federal nexus" arose, and is the basis for the USSCt case that overturned the "Gun Free School Zone" law. In order for the feds to regulate a thing or area, the enabling statute must be tied to a specific grant of power to the feds by the Constitution. The feds can exercise police power type powers where interstate commerce is implicated, but can't just regulate X, Y, or Z because it's a good idea. They can say that cocaine can't move interstate, or can't affect interstate commerce, but the feds can't (and don't) prohibit "possession of cocaine" per se.

This idea is still alive, but has been eroded by the federal judiciary's supine deference to the Congress - "if there's a way to make it constitutional, we will, boss!"

If I go any further, this will become a very obscure legalistic rant. I trust you get the drift.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 4:38:53 PM EST
how bout 2 countries 49 states. give californistan soverginity and cut em off from the states embargo them like cuba
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 5:57:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By DeadSled:
how bout 2 countries 49 states. give californistan soverginity and cut em off from the states embargo them like cuba



Long as we're at it let's cut it at the Masson/Dixon line and have a Northeren U.S. and a Southern U.S., that way all the freedom loving people can come down here with us and all the "liberals" can stay up North where they belong.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:02:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By FLAL1A:
Picard & TnF have the concept firmly in hand. The difference between the federal gov't and state gov'ts is that under the Constitution, state governments are "organic," which means that they have all the attributes of plenary sovereignty not voluntarily surrendered by them by accepting the Constitution, while the federal government has NO attributes not specifically conferred upon it by the Constitution. If there were no Constitution, the state gov'ts would still exist, with the same powers as, say, Spain or the UK; the federal gov't would not exist at all.

The first big practical divergence is in the area of "police powers," which is the authority of a government to act in furtherance of the health, safety, welfare, et c. of its citizens. The federal gov't has no police powers. The states have unlimited police powers. This is why the concept of the "federal nexus" arose, and is the basis for the USSCt case that overturned the "Gun Free School Zone" law. In order for the feds to regulate a thing or area, the enabling statute must be tied to a specific grant of power to the feds by the Constitution. The feds can exercise police power type powers where interstate commerce is implicated, but can't just regulate X, Y, or Z because it's a good idea. They can say that cocaine can't move interstate, or can't affect interstate commerce, but the feds can't (and don't) prohibit "possession of cocaine" per se.

This idea is still alive, but has been eroded by the federal judiciary's supine deference to the Congress - "if there's a way to make it constitutional, we will, boss!"

If I go any further, this will become a very obscure legalistic rant. I trust you get the drift.



Well put.
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:09:34 PM EST

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
The federal government became the final authority over states in 1865 when the opposition to centralist rule left the government to form the CSA.

Before that time, we were a Federalist Republic in which powers were divided and separated between the Federal Government. The federal government was seen as the more dangerous side in the balance and was thus restricted to specified powers. The states were given specified powers but were also to retain all the powers not mentioned, but not given to the federal government.

Since Abraham Lincoln, the Federal Government has been the sole decision makers on what limits to its own power it should have. Not surprisingly, it has decided that it has no limits to its power.

Now the states are subordinate to federal decision. Federal law in effect supercedes state law.
And that will never change. America is on a downward slope to totalitarianism. I know I sound like a tinfoil hatter, but the trend is very plain. The libertarians are deluding themselves if they think they can return us to the system of government we had, because the vast majority of Americans have been taught in school for the past 100 years that America needs a strong, national government in authority for security.


sigh... I hate thinking about this.



+1
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:11:44 PM EST

Originally Posted By 1Andy2:
The federal government became the final authority over states in 1865 when the opposition to centralist rule left the government to form the CSA.

Before that time, we were a Federalist Republic in which powers were divided and separated between the Federal Government. The federal government was seen as the more dangerous side in the balance and was thus restricted to specified powers. The states were given specified powers but were also to retain all the powers not mentioned, but not given to the federal government.

Since Abraham Lincoln, the Federal Government has been the sole decision makers on what limits to its own power it should have. Not surprisingly, it has decided that it has no limits to its power.

Now the states are subordinate to federal decision. Federal law in effect supercedes state law.
And that will never change. America is on a downward slope to totalitarianism. I know I sound like a tinfoil hatter, but the trend is very plain. The libertarians are deluding themselves if they think they can return us to the system of government we had, because the vast majority of Americans have been taught in school for the past 100 years that America needs a strong, national government in authority for security.


sigh... I hate thinking about this.



+2
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:12:44 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/24/2004 6:19:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By shotar:
One Nation, Under God, Indivisible.



One nation = one people.

For example, the UK consists several nations but is one state.

One nation is not the same thing as one state or one country.
Link Posted: 8/25/2004 8:49:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/25/2004 8:49:59 AM EST by Captain_Picard]
I tend to agree with 1Andy2 regarding the trend of the federal government anointing itself with more and more authority as time goes on. I was not aware that it was the Civil War that began this trend but it makes sense. Although I don't have specific knowledge, I wouldn't be surprised if the Fed has assumed additional powers with each national crisis that has occurred since 1865. Obviously the War on Terror, being the open ended crisis that it is gives the Fed a bountiful opportunity to assume even more power and perhaps, eventually, unlimited power.

My original point (unclear as it was) was, the power of the Fed at present not withstanding, that the disparity of law from state to state makes me look at them as though they were, in many respects, separate countries not unlike the EU. In fact, I think the comparison with the EU is rather apt as that entity tends to become more like the US and we become more like the EU. I realize the growing strength of the federal government would prevent it, but I have to wonder if the Fed were weaker would we have a tendency to fragment into regional confederations of states sharing common demographics and values? Also, because the Fed is strong enough to keep all the states together, will we continue to have the hodge podge of state laws or will uniformity creep into the system? I don't think the rules should change just because I drive over the line into California, or Utah, or Idaho.

The advantages of the present system are not lost on me. I live in Nevada because California is a microcosm (more like a macrocosm) of what this country is becoming; crowded, overtaxed, politically correct to the point of insanity, and legally intrusive beyond my limited comprehension. I would not like to be a citizen of a country that was uniformly like California or some of the New England states. Are the "Red" states oh so temporary redoubts for conservative throw-backs like me and are the festering liberal edges (the coasts) of the nation going to eat towards the middle?

My apologies for such amorphous ramblings. Pick your issue and run with it.

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