In 2004, 62 percent of Ohio voters approved a 55-word amendment to the Ohio Constitution. It clearly states that, in Ohio, only a marriage between one man and one woman is valid or recognized.
As a result, nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, all political appointees, have made a decision regarding this fundamental question: “Did the Framers of the U. S. Constitution intend for federal laws to undermine state laws and state constitutions?” The correct answer is “No.”
The answer can be found in the supremacy clause, of the U.S. Constitution.
Article VI states, “… the laws of the United States… shall be the supreme law of the land…anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
On its face, the clause appears to say that the federal law trumps state law. However, what does the last part, “… laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding” mean?
In debates and in speeches given before formally adopting the U. S. Constitution, the Framers spoke openly regarding their intent to acknowledge and uphold the authority of state governments and to expressly limit the powers of the new federal government.
During the New York Ratifying Convention, Alexander Hamilton argued that “the supreme (federal) legislature has only general powers, and the civil and domestic concerns of the people are regulated by the laws of several states…and are absolutely necessary to the system.”
Hamilton further declared, “It must be utterly repugnant to this Constitution to subvert the state governments…and any law that exceeded the enumerated powers of the Constitution was void.”
James Madison, in his acclaimed Federalist Paper #45, wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
Noah Webster, the notable delegate form Pennsylvania, wrote, “Congress cannot meddle with the internal police (authority) of any State or abridge its Sovereignty.”
It seems clear from these and many other quotes that outside of the enumerated powers listed in the U.S. Constitution, the powers reserved to states were never to be trumped by the federal government.
And in doing so, the Framers answered this fundamental question: “Will the country be better off with a centralized government in Washington DC, or with a union of states wherein each state handles its own affairs?”
The Framers strong speeches to uphold the power of state governments by limiting the power of the federal government use to serve the American people well. They created a unique system of government that is accessible and accountable to the people. And yet, over the years, aided by the Supreme Court, the federal government is becoming an empire on the Potomac, one ruled by overlords zealous of robbing citizens of their rights.
It is essential that citizens retain the right to settle matters at state and local levels as they deem best. To those who believe otherwise, I ask, “If that is not so, then what is the point of having a state government or a state constitution?”
While there is a hierarchy between state and federal, there is also a hierarchy between God and man. Subverting the law’s of nature is not wise. For me and my house, no government, local, state, or federal, has the right to overturn the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts. You can contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at 614.466.1507.
Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) represents Ohio’s 85th House District, which includes Champaign County.