If the federal government could be characterized in gaming terms, players would call it “OP.” It is “overpowered” and has been for over a hundred years, relegating many powers that should belong to the states as secondary to DC’s supremacy. This fact has driven the federalist, convention of states, and 10th Amendment movements to the point that any actions against the states are deemed oppressive the majority of the time.
In the case of the Supreme Court ruling to curb powers of state governments and law enforcement from imposing steep fines or seizing too much property, one might think this goes against the federalist mentality of letting states decide for themselves. It is not. The exception to the rule that the federal government acting against state governments is bad happens when individual rights are being protected.
That’s checks and balances. That’s federalism.
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Conservatives, federalists, Libertarians, and classical liberals have a responsibility to draw down federal government power whenever it’s appropriate, which is the vast majority of the time. But even the states must sometimes be put in check when they’re abusing the rights of citizens, as is often the case with incongruous fines and property forfeitures. We must be discerning and recognize when the federal government is acting to defend our rights against the states.
It’s telling that the Supreme Court voted unanimously in this case. It shows that when something is so blatantly unconstitutional, party politics can be put aside to do what’s right for American citizens.