Rep. Zach Wamp has been campaigning on state sovereignty, the Tenth Amendment, and “meeting the feds at the border” when they overstep their constitutional bounds. Yet again, Rep. Wamp’s actions speak louder than words, as in the same breath as he is talking state sovereignty he also brags about legislation that he co-authored which introduces a federal mandate for physical education programs nationwide. It further calls into question Rep. Wamp’s understanding of the Constitution and the boundaries it places on the federal government.
H.R. 1585, or the FIT Kids Act, requires local schools to “annually provide the families of their students with information on healthful eating habits, physical education, and physical activity.” Additionally it directs the Secretary of Education to work with the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences to study various issues related to physical education in schools. These are all noble and commendable goals, with the best of intentions given the obesity epidemic that is affecting children in the United States, but as a wise person once said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” In the case of the FIT Kids Act, good intentions are trampling on the Constitution.
When looking at the U.S. Constitution, there is no reference to education, teaching, or instruction in the document (If you wish to verify this, click this link to view the full text of the Constitution and press Ctrl+F on your keyboard to bring up your browser’s search function and try searching for these words in the document – you won’t find them.). Our federal government was made one of strictly enumerated powers, and all other powers were left to the states as is clearly pointed out in the Tenth Amendment. Education is not a power that is delegated by the states to the federal government in the Constitution, and thus is reserved to the states. Even the U.S. Department of Education is completely unconstitutional.
If Rep. Wamp wants to work on this issue through legislation at the state level if he is elected to the governor’s office, then that would certainly be in line with the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment. On the other hand, pursuing this legislation on the federal level is an encroachment on the powers of the states by the federal government. When considered together with his cosponsorship of a bill to unionize state and local emergency services workers at the federal level (withdrawn shortly after several groups including TN-TAC called for him to do so) and his vote for the TARP legislation, it shows that Rep. Wamp clearly does not understand the Federalist system that our founders gave us in the Constitution.
My question for Rep. Wamp is this: You keep talking about meeting the feds at the border when they overstep their constitutional bounds. If you become governor, are you going to meet the feds at the border when they try to come in and enforce your pet federal physical education mandate? Because let’s face it, if you’re REALLY as serious about state sovereignty and the Tenth Amendment as you claim to be, then that is exactly what you should do.
cross-posted from the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center