by Joseph Sobran
Supreme Court Hijacked
But the Supreme Court soon found other uses for the Fourteenth Amendment. It began striking down state laws as unconstitutional. This was an important new twist in American constitutional law.
The big thing to recognize here is that the Court had become the very opposite of the institution
The original point of the federal system was that the federal government would have very little to say about the internal affairs of the states. But the result of the Civil War was that the federal government had a great deal to say about those affairs — in Northern as well as Southern states.
Note that this trend toward centralization was occurring largely under Republican presidents. The Democrat Grover Cleveland was one of the last great spokesmen for federalism. He once vetoed a modest $10,000 federal grant for drought relief on grounds that there was no constitutional power to do it. If that sounds archaic, remember that the federal principle remained strong long enough that during the 1950s, the federal highway program had to be called a “defense” measure in order to win approval, and federal loans to college students in the 1960s were absurdly called “defense” loans for the same reason. The Tenth Amendment is a refined taste, but it has always had a few devotees.
But federalism suffered some serious wounds during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. First came the income tax, its constitutionality established by the Sixteenth Amendment; this meant that every
But again, notice that these expansions of federal power were at least achieved by amending the Constitution, as the Constitution itself requires. The Constitution doesn’t claim to be a “living document.” It is written on paper, not rubber.