Regular readers of this blog will know that the answer to that question is a resounding YES! But for many people in America, particularly those on the left side of the political spectrum, the notion of states’ rights is as repulsive as it is misunderstood.
Of course, if they grasped the concept of federalism and divided sovereignty as it was framed by our Constitution, they would realize that, although appeals to states’ rights have been used in the past to deny individual rights, today it is the federal government’s political monopoly that is by far the biggest threat to freedom.
The good news is lately there have been signs of liberals recognizing exactly that. As Jason O’Mahony writes on his blog
The fact is, the US is more culturally divided than ever, and maybe it is time to recognise that. Maybe its time that certain rights, and control over rights (abortion, gun control, same-sex marriage, death penalty, campaign finance) be devolved, by a new constitutional amendment, to the states. Yes, it will mean that in some red states women will lose the right to have abortions. But it’ll also mean that in some states far more strict gun control, or gay marriage will be permitted, and all without liberals and conservatives fearing that the other side will stack the supreme court with their people, and override those rights. People can just move to the states that reflect their values…
Other than his call for what would be a redundant constitutional amendment, Jason is exactly right. These issues and many others are extremely divisive, and will continue to be so until Americans can find a way to release the pressure.
Fortunately, in their brilliance, our founders planned ahead for this situation and included just such a mechanism within the Bill of Rights. It’s called the Tenth Amendment, it reserves all powers not delegated to the federal government to the states and the people, and by doing so makes it much more difficult to control the behavior of those with whom we disagree.