Wednesday, July 08, 2015

I Applaud Republican Leaders Who Try to Reconnect the Party with African Americans - But "State's Rights" Is Not the Way

"Too often, we Republicans -- myself included -- have emphasized our message on the 10th Amendment but not our message on the 14th -– an amendment, it bears reminding, that was one of the first great contributions of the Republican Party to American life, second only to the abolition of slavery," Perry said.

I applaud Gov. Rick Perry's attempts to reconnect the Republican Party with African Americans, and end the party's racist "Southern strategy".  I applaud similar efforts by Sen. Rand Paul.  

However, it was precisely the Southern "state's rights" strategy that made the 14th Amendment, and federal intervention, necessary in the first place.

The former governor of Texas should be able to see that, for black people, being freed from federal protection and left to the mercy of the government of Texas - of all places - does not seem like a reassuring bargain.  


11 comments:

Michael McCarty said...

How is the "Southern Strategy" any more "racist" than the Democrats reliance on big northern cities to pad their ranks? And how is the 10th Amendment any more offensive than the 14th which was inserted, in part, to protect the Union Pacific from State actions to recoup land grants made by the federal government? You either accept the Constitution as it is or you get the requisite number of Senators and Representatives to send an amendment to the States and the requisite number of State legislatures to ratify it.

Gruntled said...

The "Southern Strategy" was a concerted effort by the Republican Party to convert the racist Democrats in the southern states who opposed the Civil Rights Movement.

The 10th Amendment is not offensive; the strategy of interposing state law to nullify federal law based on one reading of the 10th Amendment has been used to oppress many groups, but most especially African Americans.

Michael McCarty said...
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Michael McCarty said...
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Michael McCarty said...

Sorry--I'm all fumble fingers after driving 1200+ miles in a day and a half.

The 10th Amendment cannot nullify federal law. It merely limits what the federal government of enumerated powers can render into "federal" law. By definition, a "federal" law that contravenes the 10th amendment and usurps a right reserved to the States and the people is a legal nullity. Thus, I'm not sure to what "reading" you refer? Can you point me to one or more Supreme Court decisions on point? If not, then your understanding of the Constitution is flawed.

Gruntled said...

This reading of the 10th Amendment: "I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Mac said...

I asked for legal support and you gave me rhetoric. In other words, you have no legal support for your position. Dr. King's soaring aspirational and inspirational rhetoric--magnificent as it was--has nothing to do with the Constitution and its main intent--to protect the States and the people from an over-reaching, possibly tyrannical central government.

Gruntled said...

The 14th Amendment protects Americans from a over-reaching and definitely tyrannical state government, of which Texas was not even the worst example, terrible though it has been.

Mac said...

Still no legal or Constitutional support, Professor. Surely you can do better thin this. Under the Constitution, IF--IF--a State government becomes tyrannical or over-reaching, it is by constitutional mandate up to the citizens of that State to reform or reign in their government. That is one of the powers not enumerated and, thus, not a power of the federal government but, rather, a power reserved to the States or the people. I'll wait patiently for your legal or constitutional support for your emotional position.

Gruntled said...

As one of my wife's law school professors put it, the question of whether the United States of America is a you-can't-tell-me-what-to-do convention of sovereign nations, or one nation, indivisible, was settled "by those impeccable jurists who sat en banque at Gettysburg."

Mac said...

I'm not sure that Lee and Meade rewrote the Constitution as your law professor suggested. One of mine, back in the ancient days of the 1970s in the Land of Lincoln suggested that anyone who made such a statement was either an idiot or a charlatan. While the Union managed to add the 13th through the 15th amendments by means of Northern coercion (the Southern States could not be "re-admitted" to the Union unless they ratified those amendments, something that must have caused Abe Lincoln to spin in his grave as it was his unalterable opinion that the Southern States had never left the Union), the Northern Congress never proposed an amendment removing the 10th amendment nor did the Northern States ever give any sign that they would have ratified such an amendment. Note: three of my ancestors fought for the Union, including 2 who were killed in action. I agree that your professor friend is right by the simple fact that the South lost on the battlefield. By any other measure of Constitutional history or law, they were right--no State in its right mind would have ratified the Constitution of 1787 if it thought that the central government could unilaterally change itself from one of enumerated powers to one of unlimited powers. Your own Kentucky Bill of Rights contains a version of the right claimed in all 13 of the State Constitutions: the right of revolution: "All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper." The current Constitution of New Hampshire (ratified in 1784 and still in force says it best: "Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."