Trampling the Tenth Amendment: When is Enough Enough?

James Daniels

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that any powers not given to the US Government in the Constitution are reserved for the states. In other words, states are free to govern themselves for matters that are not reserved for the federal government in the Constitution. Anyone who is aware of modern American history would know that the federal government, ranging from the regimes of decades ago and beyond to the current regime in Washington, has viewed it as a suggestion, not a law. The Obama Administration is just the latest of a series of federal regimes that have used their ever-expanding powers to bully states. Encroachments of states’ rights are happening more than they have in many decades. However, one recent issue is perhaps more bold and threatening than any other in modern times.

The latest affront to the Tenth Amendment involves the state of Texas and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA, with it’s ever-increasing groping of airport travelers, apparently is exempt from the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits searches without probable cause. For such searches to be legal, the TSA has to believe that each and every traveler that is subjected to these searches has committed a crime. Needless to say, that is not remotely true. Texas, on the other hand, does not believe that such searches are the right way to go about things and recently passed a resolution unanimously in the Texas House of Representatives to criminalize such searches. What was Washington’s response? As usual, they bullied a state into submission. 

The US Department of Justice sent a letter to the Texas Government indicating that they would likely have to establish a no-fly zone over Texas if the bill was passed. For clarification, that is not a typo. That is a no-fly zone over Texas, not Iraq. After receiving these threats, the measure was withdrawn, despite being on it’s way to an almost-certain victory. All of this isn’t because Texas has told the TSA to stop all searches. This is because Texas would prohibit certain measures that allow the TSA to touch your genitalia and other private areas. Apparently, your luggage isn’t the only baggage the TSA wants to check.  

Despite the setback, many groups, individuals, and members of the state government in Texas have brought the issue back into play. It has been reported that Lieutenant Governor David Dewherst, who was the man who originally asked lawmakers to withdraw the bill after federal threats, has asked Governor Rick Perry to include the measure is a special session of the state legislature. Utah also has a similar bill in the works, so Texas is not alone in this fight.

Whether Texas, Utah, or any other state is ultimately able to pass and enforce such a bill remains to be seen. However, the underlying issue of rampant abuses of federal power must be addressed. The violations of the Tenth Amendment are widespread. The current administration has stepped them up with breaches of states’ rights on issues of gun laws, drug laws, and has brought national healthcare to the forefront, among many other breaches. Germany did not become a fascist nightmare overnight, and many other tyrannical governments have been able to mask their malignant intentions until it was too late to overturn. Ultimately, it is critical that Texas and/or Utah pass their legislation in order to send a strong message to Washington that bullying will not be tolerated. Maybe then Obama and any future President will learn to rein in abusive federal agencies and stop taking away the Constitutional right of states to govern themselves in matters that are not expressly granted to the US Government in the Constitution. Otherwise, the Tenth Amendment and the Constitution as a whole will continue to fade into oblivion as relics of a once-great nation.