State’s Rights

726 words | 3 page(s)

Federal and state governments possess some similar abilities as lawmaking bodies, but also maintain differing abilities. Each state can have distinct rights and laws as outlined in their constitutions, separate from the U.S. constitution. The federal government is the underlying legislative presence throughout the country that impacts each state the same. Therefore, state constitutions and laws must deal with everything not expressly granted or forbidden by the federal government, implying that everything else is left to the decision of the state-level government.

Furthermore, within these states are municipalities which potentially have even more different laws because they would govern over what was not being specifically handled by the state or federal government. A citizen in any particular county, city, town, etc. could be subject to the overlapping interests of multiple governmental organizations. However, as a result of state-specific full-faith clauses imbedded in our system, it is mandatory that all laws and constitutions declared by one state are recognized as such in every other state in the country. So, no one state, no matter what their laws entail, should fail to recognize the laws of all other states as equally binding as theirs.

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With each state bearing a varying matrix of impacting lawmaking entities, it is evident that the laws and preceding constitutions that molded them would be different in each state of The Union. Similarly, dissimilar economic conditions, divergent history, and different cultures make each state and governing official below it approach their laws and constitutions in a different way. Everything that happens within a state can potentially alter its laws, from crime rates to citizen demographics. Some states also just simply require more laws than others, as necessary from their unique context. This very point is the reason that states have so much control over much of the laws observed within their communities. Without this important consideration of individual context, laws would be a mismatch for certain states and their citizenry. There will simply never be a manageable one-size-fits-all legislation from the federal government. The laws imbedded in each state’s society are a product of their past, present, and future, leading to differences from one state to another. Therefore, it is entirely necessary for states to retain control of most of their laws.

With these numerous differences like natural resources, size, cultural, social, political and religious ideologies, and other factors the laws of each state are slowly shaped. What is good and helpful to one state could be bad for another. Hence, each state is different, and for good reason. Even with neighboring states, each one can possess a vastly different lawmaking climate. One such example of this would be Idaho and Utah. Although only arbitrary borders separate these two states, they are very diverse in regards to the laws in effect. These laws have several impacts on multiple indices which affect different areas of life within that state. Researchers have begun looking at all these factors and rating each state on how free they are in regard to each aspect. The authors boast on the book’s website, “The book scores all 50 states on their overall respect for individual freedom, and also on their respect for three dimensions of freedom considered separately: fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom” (Ruger & Sorens). Based on the ratings of Idaho and Utah by the authors, Idaho is the state with a higher overall freedom index. As a result of the increased and stricter laws in Utah as compared to Idaho, there is less personal freedom and more laws in their constitution.

Although we all live in the same country under the same federal constitution, every state has different interpretations of what is deemed necessary to enforce with laws and state constitutions. Some states are apparently considered more free than others in relation to many of these factors that result from the state having the power to formulate its own constitution and laws. Although a general nationally mandated set of laws would be easier for understanding the laws of your surroundings, it would just not work. Each state has more or less laws present than other states because of their specific circumstances, as shaped by many compounding factors. Taking away this context, as would be the case if the federal government controlled laws that are currently reserved for state powers, could be detrimental to some societies.

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