Stimulus Bill Could Mean End Run Around 10th Amendment

Following up on a previous posting featuring excellent comments by blogger Dave Nelle, he has today posted another excellent piece discussing whether or not the States could do anything to stop the stimulus bill.

Basically, a handful of Governors around America have expressed dissent over the bill, including Mark Sanford (South Carolina), Rick Perry (Texas), Sarah Palin (Alaska), Haley Barbour (Mississippi), and Bobby Jindall (Louisiana). However, in the case of South Carolina, Gov. Sanford has not only his own Legislature to be worried about, but also House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who may be putting a potentially unconstitutional provision in the bill…

Not wanting to miss their ride on the gravy train, South Carolina legislators took the decision out of his hands by getting their man in DC, house majority whip Jim Clyburn to add a provision to the stimulus bill which will allow state legislatures to authorize spending of federal funds if they don’t get gubernatorial approval within 45 days of passage. Clyburn has no love for Sanford and his addition to the bill was clearly intended as a political rebuke to Sanford and the states-rights principles he stands for.

This provision in the stimulus bill basically means that even if governors oppose the stimulus package and want to block it, they will have no voice in the process. So now all of the governors who might have opposed the massive imposition of federal spending and obligations on their states are powerless. The implications for the future are ominous, because if this bill stands as a precedent it transfers a huge amount of power away from state governments and to the congress, taking away any ability of states to determine their own fiscal policies when federal funds are involved.

The inclusion of this rule is troubling because there is very little question that it is blatantly unconstitutional and a clear violation of the 10th Amendment. It’s a big stretch interpret the constitution to allow for the Congress to force money on the states and then force them to accept federal government dictates on how to spend that money. This creates a situation reminiscent of the case in Schechter Poultry vs. the United States where the Supreme Court struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 for giving powers to the federal government which were not granted to it constitutionally. It may also run afoul of the ruling in New York vs. the United States [my link on the Supreme Court’s opinion on this case] which ruled that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to force state governments to act as its agents. The passage of the stimulus bill with this inclusion may lead to legal challenges from some states and legal rights groups. If it does not, the danger of the precedent it will set in weakening state autonomy is frightening.

So the bad news is that despite the best efforts of a few heroes like Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, craven state legislators and power-hungry Democrats in Congress have assured that the massive stimulus spending will go into effect over the objection of concerned governors. In doing this Congress may well have precipitated a constitutional crisis and it is clear that the last remaining hope for those who want fiscally responsible government and oppose this massive deficit spending bill lies with legal challenges in the courts, and ultimately on the slender hope that the Supreme Court will block this massive expansion of federal power and affirm the validity of the 10th Amendment.

I disagree with Mr. Nelle’s conclusion regarding precedents being set with the passage of this bill by Congress. We all know that Congress can pass all the laws they want to and all that the Supreme Court — or lower Court, for that matter — would have to do is strike out the provision from the bill and/or the entire bill altogether (though I wouldn’t count on a Court going that far).

Instead, what would be precedent-setting is a Court — especially the Supremes — having this issue brought before them and their ruling in favor of the defense; this would be highly unlikely based on stare decisis.

Then again, a case would have to be brought before the Judiciary, as the Court system will not “legislate from the bench” and take up this action on their own.

We’ll see if there will be any takers.

A current listing of State-based initiatives can be found here.



12 thoughts on “Stimulus Bill Could Mean End Run Around 10th Amendment”

  1. I hate to bring this up and it’s hard to accept the concept but as long as the Usurper Obama sits in the chair of the president of the United States, with absolutely no Constitutional confirmation of his legitimacy to hold that seat,the Constitution of the United States has been relegated to the “bottom drawer of the desk” and no longer our “Guiding Document”…..The word “unconstitutional” is now moot….. consider the appointment of Clinton as Sec. of State… in direct violation of our “Constitution”…. she sits there as a result of a maneuver called the “Saxby Fix”… a move first employed by Nixon…. an end run around the Constitution…
    How about the “power grab” by the White House of the Census Bureau away from the Commerce Department.”Unconstitutional”? is no longer a valid argument. Or…… the move by a Democratic legislator to eliminate “Term Limits” for the president………”Unconstitutional”? is no longer a valid argument. At one time there was a “Law” which stated the way to change our
    Constitution was the proposition had to pass 2/3rds of the States acceptance and then a majority of Congress had to pass it. As I say, as long as the Usurper occupies the chair of the White House, the Constitution no longer exists as we knew it…..Now with the planned assault on the First Amendment with the so-called “Fairness Doctrine”, It’s beginning to look like the Bill of Rights is now destined for destruction. Until the Usurper has answered the charges leveled at him by countless litigation, and has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt his legitimacy as a “natural born citizen” of our Country, he is in direct violation of our former “Constitution”, and this document no longer exists as our Guiding Document.

    1. Richard,

      My biggest problem with sentiments such as yours is, where were people when other aspects of the Constitution were “usurped?” Some say the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional; others, including me, believe the current Administrative State, whereby federal agencies are delegated power and authority from Congress could be construed as unconstitutional. The list goes on.


      1. Many things have been done that are unconstitutional, even dating back to Lincoln’s presidency. I think the straw that has broken the camel’s back is that Obama is usurping the office of president. It’s a shame that it had to take something like this to wake up a lot of people.

        Once we oust him, we will have a great opportunity to rid ourselves of the vermin that Congress has become. More and more people, even Glenn Beck and some congressmen Friday night, are actually mentioning the Constitution. We need that document more than ever before, and people are realizing it.

        We must pray for our country and for those who are standing up for freedom and truth. Right now those who are trying to shine the light of truth on Obama are being threatened and intimidated. We need to pray for their well-being and perseverance.

  2. For the life of me, I cannot understand why our illustrious Congressmen and Senators could,even in the slightest, even think about voting on, much less passing, a bill there is no way in hell any of them could have possibly read at 1430 some odd pages! They have all lost their ever loving minds! How in the world could they have any idea what they have voted for? Of course the answer is obvious: Obama and the dems have schemed this whole thing up! Every last one of them should be tried for treason.

    This is right up there with sliding in the usurper President!
    This ought to really give the State Sovereignty issue a big push!
    Here we go with another 40 law suits! Or maybe this one will be 50 for each state.

    Is there no penalty / for intentionally usurping the Constitution? If we ever get these nuts out of office we sure should push for one with stiff penalties. We also need to push for triple the vote fraud penalties too.

    If I would be liable for illegals my HR department hired, why the hell isn’t ACORN’s top people liable for voter fraud committed by their employees??? When they structure pay to encourage multiple registrations! Then say ” no big deal, if we signed the same person up to vote 76 times, the state will catch it, nobody can use that name but once.”

    1. No Obama,

      According to our Constitution, the onus is on the States or the People to hold the federal government accountable for its actions.

      To answer your question, no — the Congress can pretty much do whatever it pleases, up to the point where someone/entity somewhere says, “no.”


    2. You have echoed my sentiments EXACTLY!!! The entire Congress is treasonous, which is why once Obama is exposed, all of them will have to slink back to their home states or to some prison somewhere. Then we can begin a real house-cleaning which is sorely needed.

    3. Taxation without Representation is what it was. Pure and Simple. We need every State to commit to the Tenth Amendment,then we will see what these Socialist Loving Individuals can do without any Funds. They will wither and Fade away.

    1. P. Barnett,

      You can’t sue on a bill that hasn’t passed, though you could petition to get certain provisions out (that’s the whole point of having a normal legislative process). However, once it has passed, that would obviously be a different story.


Leave a Reply