"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people."
—The Tenth Amendment
Following the passage of the national gun ban wrapped in pork, Representatives Gingrich and Gephardt congratulated each other for their bipartisan cooperation and remarked how much they looked forward to working together on the nationalization of health care. But they failed to account for one political reality: a large number of citizens, concentrated in the Intermountain West, persist in behaving as if the Constitution were still the law of the land. They interpret the Constitution as a document that severely restricts the purview of the federal government, and it is on that basis that they consent to be governed.
Before Ronald Reagan's ascension to nominal control of the executive branch in 1980, conservatives devoted much effort to promoting the seemingly lost cause of states' rights and federalism. Centered in the South, the battle encompassed everything from the usurpation of state sovereignty by the national government in the enforcement, by the standing army, of desegregation to the passage of the various "civil rights" acts in the 1960's. While conservative Southerners correctly saw this "Second Reconstruction" as a fight for the preservation...