10th Amendment

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision on transit district employees' wages continues a potentially dangerous erosion of the governmental system established by the U.S. Constitution to ensure that the citizens of this country are able to effectively control their governments. While providing equal wage conditions to all employees sounds laudable, the case represents yet another intrusion by Congress, which the citizens have little power to control, onto our local governments, which the citizens do have the power to control.

The 10th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees to the people and to the states all rights not expressly granted to Congress. The framers of the Constitution knew the dangers of granting to the national government any more power than was absolutely necessary to keep the union functioning. They knew the citizens have far better control over state and local governments than over Congress. Congress was given the right to regulate "interstate commerce" only to prevent states from jealously protecting their own economies by restricting interstate trade.

Since the 1930s Congress, with the Supreme Court's blessing, has used the "interstate commerce" clause to gut the 10th Amendment of any meaning whatsoever, and to regulate virtually every aspect of our lives. Congress may now regulate anything that "affects" interstate commerce, including the activities of a local restaurant and of a farmer growing feed for his own animals on his own property. The 10th Amendment has been so eroded that the citizens must search long and hard for any tiny aspects of life that Congress does not have the authority to control.

Now, the court has further expanded the notion that our local governments must be more responsive to Congress and federal regulators than to us, the local taxpayers. The Supreme Court is destroying the concept of responsive representative government.


Costa Mesa

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