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What would happen if states refused to provide the resources to enforce government laws and regulattions?

Updated on February 4, 2015

The concept of states refusing to enforce government laws and regulations may seem extreme but it is a concept which I feel should be explored. The growth of government has brought about large numbers of laws and regulations but is it the responsibility of state law enforcement agencies to enforce these actions or is it the federal government. No one likes to see government grow more than it is already but the responsibility of enforcing federal laws and regulations rest with the federal government not state and local governments.

Under the Constitution it stipulates that laws created in the states cannot contradict federal laws or regulations but I know of nowhere in the Constitution that stipulates states are required to enforce these laws and regulations. The possibility of this occurring in some fashion is beginning to some extent. A proposition in Arizona and Utah was passed which restricts state and local government personnel and financial resources to purposes that are consistent with the Constitution of the United States. While the actions of these two states will not turn things around on their own, they represent a powerful step forward.

In looking at some of the founding fathers documents concerning the relationship between a central government and the states one of the principles they agreed on was that the states must act as a solid check on the national government.

Though we may not like some of the actions taken by the federal government and feel some decisions amount to an overreach not all of them fit in this category but many of them do. The actions to nullify government overreach in the states are a movement which should be embraced by all state governments. The reach of government in the environment of today is without question the worst it has ever been and needs to change. If the federal government will not curtail or reduce its involvement in our economy states need to take bold action such as not using their resources to enforce federal laws and regulations.

It is important to identify that actions by some states to restrict the use of government personnel and the associated financial resources will not be used unless purposes are consistent with the Constitution of the United States. This is how it should be and how it should have been all along. States have enough responsibilities and resources are limited in many states especially those with deficits that using resources for activities which are not consistent with the Constitution may in fact be illegal. To make another point laws and/or regulations which are not in agreement with the Constitution could be deemed to be illegal. This decision is not left to the public but our judicial system.

Actions by the federal government in some cases contradict the jurisdiction left to the states under article 10 of the Constitution. This article basically states if it is not identified as a responsibility of the federal government it is left to the states to take the necessary actions. Again states need to take the example of Arkansas and Utah and take a bold step. If enough states do this it will force the federal government to look at their responsibilities and how they compare with the Constitution. I am not saying this will be an easy thing to accomplish but this action will be forced on the government if enough states take actions similar to Arkansas and Utah.

Some individuals or organizations may try to make the point that it will have a drastic impact on society. While this may be true the distinction needs to be made whether this will be a positive change or a negative one. Releasing government personnel and the financial resources of states associated with their activities from enforcing government laws/regulations will free their time to accomplish their responsibilities more efficiently. They have specific responsibilities identified within their own Constitution in addition to the Constitution of the country. Let us hope that states see the actions taken by Arkansas and Utah as something they should do to get away from an overbearing federal government. It will be up to them to make these decisions.


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