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The enforcement of federal law

Updated on July 16, 2015


The enforcement of federal law is the responsibility of the federal government not state and local governments. Many laws are being written that appear to be unconstitutional and in some cases are unconstitutional but they are nonetheless the law of the land until they are overturned either by Congress or our judicial system. The exception becomes a battle between states and the federal government when laws are passed under the umbrella of the nullification movement. Is it illegal to pass laws nullifying federal law or are they just enforcing the Constitution. We have a government that has grown so large and has written so many laws in complicated language that it takes a lawyer to understand the requirements. We as individuals must know the requirements of a law especially if it impacts us, our family or our work environment. This is a difficult task to say the least.

Federal laws also impact the activity of our state and local governments in that they cannot violate federal law in the laws that are generated at the state level. While not violating federal law states can add requirements to help them better to comply with them along with making the requirements more clearly defined. The language of many laws are vague in how they are written and need clarification which sometimes occurs as the result of state action or our judicial system. In some cases federal law affects the safety of citizens in every state and states have a responsibility to protect their citizens and even visitors. One movement that appears to be gaining ground is what has been called the nullification movement which basically is an action to restore the liberties we have within the constitution.

The actions of some states have made it a crime for federal agents to enforce many if not all federal laws. Laws and in some cases executive orders that are generated violate either the language of current laws on the books or the principles upon which this country was found. States are taking bold steps in passing legislation which nullifies specific laws in some cases stating they do not have legal force within their boundaries. Court battles have and are being generated in some cases to push back on the federal government with issues being raised within specific lawsuits. One such example is the immigration issue which is having a financial impact on state budgets and in some cases local school districts. The federal government cannot impose a cost on states through legislative action and is the basis for the lawsuit.

In another aspect the federal government is selectively not enforcing federal laws which impact the safety and security of the citizens in respective states. An example is states along the Mexican border have been bombarded with illegal aliens crossing our open borders bringing financial hardship throughout their states. States have taken steps to enforce the immigration law currently on the books. It should be the right of states to enforce their laws concerning crimes committed by individuals in this country illegally and like citizens they should have the authority to arrest and place them on trial to face their legal system. Individuals should not be deported but face the consequences of their actions within our legal system. One example is the recent death of a woman in California at the hands of an illegal alien who has been deported several times only to return. If he had been put in prison as a result of violating state laws and in some cases federal law this woman would be alive today.

The federal government as previously mentioned has the responsibility to enforce the laws on the books and the President takes an oath to not only enforce federal laws but to uphold the Constitution. Congress has some responsibility in this respect in that they should not generate laws which violate the principles upon which this country was found. In addition if laws previously put in place violate constitutional rights as interpreted by our judicial system they have the responsibility to revise such laws. The nullification movement is growing as a result of Congress and the President in some cases where the Constitution is not being upheld. States are pushing back on laws they feel violate the principles upon which this country was found. It remains to be seen if the next Congress and the new President will return to constitutional government. Federal laws should not be selectively enforced. Laws which violate our constitutional rights should either be repealed outright or revised to ensure the constitutional rights of all citizens are not violated.


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