As many states’ governors have turned the 10th amendment on its head, asserting states rights in an undeniably reckless manner, in handing down stay at home and other liberty-limiting orders in the Covid-19 crisis, it is a good time to evaluate the usual issues that arise via the use/misuse of this often forgotten constitutional provision. Although in today’s strange world liberals are invoking the 10th Amendment’s tenets (ordinarily, they are all for an expansive federal government and attempt to shirk valid 10th Amendment arguments), conservatives have been the longstanding proponents of states’ rights.

There is a 13-letter Latin motto, used on the Great Seal of the U.S., representing the 13 original states uniting under one government—“out of many, one.” It is instructive

Fast forward to 2020, 50 states and the District of Columbia in chaos and crisis, hardly united under a corrupt political system of politicians, many of whom have remained in the government far too long for the purpose of personal profit, financial gain and power grabs.  Fifty states are at lager heads with the government and among themselves on major issues which affect the moral fiber of our country, failing to find common ground and reach any consensus.   This is clearly demonstrated by looking at the wide divide when it comes to policies on marijuana, sanctuary cities and abortion.

The country is currently facing a major opioid epidemic, which has grown over the last 20 years since “pain” became the 5th vital sign.  Proponents of medical marijuana usage would have you believe that is a substitute for opioids in relieving pain.  According to the Missouri State Medical Association in their May-June, 2018 Journal of Missouri Medicine, marijuana is a companion drug to opioids and does not result in the decrease of opioid usage.  In 2017, Colorado reported a record number of deaths from opioids, including heroin; yet they have had a medical marijuana program in place since 2001. The current body of evidence supporting cannabis as a treatment for pain is based on 28 studies comprised of 68 reports and 2,554 patients.  Contradictory evidence based on the study of 33,000 people demonstrates that cannabis contributes to opioid overdosing.

Regardless of your belief as to marijuana medicinal attributes, it is abundantly clear that both the medical and recreational use of marijuana have substantially increased the coffers of those states where it is legalized.  In California, with a state tax of 15% on marijuana as both a recreational and medical drug, the state boasts $2.75 billion in sales.  Given that kind of revenue it is understandable that state legislatures would turn a blind eye to any body of evidence which support the negative results of marijuana usage. Despite many states’ acceptance of cannabis for medical use and others for recreational use as well, under federal law, it is still illegal and treated as any other controlled substance, including heroin and cocaine.   According to a map developed by DISA Global studies, twelve states currently have laws making marijuana illegal; 28 states have legalized marijuana for medical use and 13 of these states have reduced penalties related to its recreational use, while 11 states have fully legalized cannabis both for recreational and medical use.

What about “sanctuary” cities?  Those cities, counties and states which have polices and laws preventing local and state law enforcement agencies from cooperating with Federal agents related to the harboring of illegal immigrants are considered as “sanctuaries” for these aliens.  This then makes it more difficult for the Federal government to enforce immigration laws; often results in harm caused to American citizens and encourages the continued influx of illegal immigrants into the U.S.  According to CNN Politics, 6/14/2018, currently, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee have banned sanctuary cities, while California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington are pro sanctuary states.

Finally, abortion, which through Roe vs Wade, a legal decision made in 1973 by the United States Supreme Court striking down a Texas law banning abortion, made this procedure legal in the United States  and protected under Federal law.  However, according to a Marist Poll taken in mid-February, 2019, equal numbers of those polled—47% each– were pro-life or supported abortion.  This was a dramatic difference from the same poll done in early January which showed 55% were pro-abortion and 38% pro-life.  According to Barbara Carvalho, poll director, in media release from the Knight of Columbus, the poll sponsor, “current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced, and very measurable, way,” Additionally, the poll reported “that among Democrats, the gap between people who identify as pro-life and those who support abortion was cut in half from 55 percent to 27 percent. The number of Democrats who identify as pro-life stood at 34 percent, up from 20 percent in January. Similarly the number of Democrats who said they support abortion fell to 61 percent from 75 percent.”  According to NPR, nine states have passed laws to outlaw abortion—Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Utah, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia—while nine state have passed laws with no limits on abortion– Illinois, Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont, along with D.C.

E Pluribus Unum?  Hardly!

Temple Li is the news editor for Empire State News, where she frequently authors her own editorials (just because she feels like it). She graduated at the top of her class at a mediocre college, infuriating her professors with her conservative wit and sultry charm. Empire State News allows Ms. Li to make a living, and to have a platform to tell people what she thinks. What could be better than that?