Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Beware of Ron Paul's Interpretation of States' Rights and the Federal Constitution

Christopher Jon Bjerknes

When considering the US Constitution as our social contract, we ought to be careful to distinguish between the bureaucratic procedures and rules iterated in it, and the fundamental human rights, and lack thereof, iterated in it. There is a difference between the fundamental right of free speech which exists without the Constitution, and the bureaucratic processes of the government, which would not necessarily exist without the Constitution.

We have to be very careful when paring down the Federal Government and asserting States' rights not to fall into the trap of considering the fundamental rights iterated in the Bill of Rights, which were amendments, to be considered the exclusive province of the Federal Government as they once were. For a very long time, powerful forces denied Americans their fundamental rights under the Bill of Rights in the prosecutions and affairs conducted by the States. It is only comparatively recently that our human rights which are recognized under the Federal Constitution have been imposed on the State governments, and I believe that not all of them have yet been incorporated as natural rights to the States.

It used to be that the States could deny due process of law, jury trial, speedy trial, rights against self incrimination, etc. because these were considered Federal protections alone which did not apply to the States unless the States individually adopted them. If I am not mistaken, to this day, States are considered "separate sovereigns" from the Federal Government for purposes of the "double jeopardy" clause, and you can be prosecuted by the State and the Federal Government for the same offense and cannot successfully assert double jeopardy as a defense.

The economic disparities between the States, and the need to defend the American People from the tyranny and neglect apt to occur in individual States, is a subject for another day.