June 18, 2021

STACY MCCAIN: State Sovereignty Still Matters. I was going to quibble with this title, as the states aren’t really sovereign — as Article I Section 10 of the Constitution makes clear, by forbidding them from doing things sovereign governments typically do, like make treaties, keep armies, impose tariffs, etc. On the other hand, if the United States government suddenly ceased to exist, the states would remain, unimpaired and in fact with expanded powers. So I’ll allow it in context.

However, the claim that the states created the federal government isn’t really correct. As the Preamble makes clear, it was We The People who did so, and that’s not just rhetoric. The ratification of the Constitution by conventions elected directly by the people, rather than by state legislatures, was designed to make just that point. Sure, those people voted in their states, but as Joseph Story said, where else could they have voted?

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