Government Position Paper

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GOVERNMENT POSITION PAPER 5

GovernmentPosition Paper

GovernmentPosition Paper

Thequestion of the balance of power between state governments and thefederal government dates back in colonial days. The colonists raisedquestions to British Parliament about the extent to which Britishlegislation about the affairs of the colonies could usurp thejurisdictional operation of colonial laws enacted by colonylegislatures (Drahozal,2004). Relying on the principle of supreme but limited power, thecolonists in the American colony accepted that the British Parliamentcould pass laws that regulate trade in the colonies. The coloniesfavored a federal system that divided power and sovereignty betweencolonies and Britain. The colonists failed paving way for theBritish theory of undivided sovereignty, meaning that citizens of anycolony in effect paid allegiance to the British crown and colonies’legislation had to conform to British law.When the United Stateswas in the process of gaining independence from Great Britain, thesame question arose among the patriots.

Thepatriots had to find a balance between state supremacy and federalsupremacy in a manner that ensured that there was supreme legislativepower with the authority that bound all aspects of legislation inevery part in all cases of the proper object of human laws. Theproper object of human laws, in this case, is the federalconstitution. The amendments to the Articles of the Confederationthat culminated into the United States Constitution envisioned abroader center of power that could harmonize the conflictinginterests of states in through Congress, the Supreme Court, and thePresidency. The argument in this article, therefore, supports thesupremacy of federal legislation and the deliberate enactment andenforcement of federal laws in matters such as food labels,production of foods, livestock development, healthcare, birthcontrol, and issues of equality.

Thenational government should take precedence on issues on of nationalconcern rather the state government. Issues such as food labeling,healthcare, birth control, food production, and equality before thelaw affect all Americans. They are not exclusive to a state and theyelicit as much interest in the citizens of one state as they do tothe citizens of another state. Thus, it is imperative for thenational government to take precedence in legislation andadministration of laws governing food labeling, birth control,healthcare, equality, livestock development, and food production. The support for the supremacy of the national government is based onthe need for a national policy that enables all states to comply withthe expectations of citizens and for citizens to be subjected to thesame standards (Amar,1994). It would be very confusing and unwarranted to have one staterequiring food production companies to label their products andanother having no laws to that effect. Such a situation is likely tomake the citizens some states more exposed to standard defects thanothers, which contradicts with the constitutional requirement thatall citizens should have equal access to state protection againstharm.

Aslong as states will continue to have divided sovereignty between themand the national government, citizens will always be on the losingend. State politics are often influenced by vested interests. Hugecorporations with the resources to influence political opinion oftenrally politicians to support or oppose federal laws under the guiseof state sovereignty in the constitution. Some laws are passed instate legislatures due to massive external influences rather than thewill of state citizens. The remedy to undue influence fromcorporations and other non-citizen-oriented groups is to invokefederal policy through federal legislation.For example, thehistory of the United States indicates that some states took longerto adhere to civil rights of equality than others. It, therefore,required the intervention of the federal government to expedite theprocess of entrenching civil rights legislation into many operationsin the country (Hart,1954). Access to healthcare is one of vital ways both state andnational governments can improve the general welfare of citizens. However, states do not have uniform endowment of healthcarefacilities. The intervention of a national government providesnational standards that all states must adhere to while dispensinghealth services. It also facilitates the basis of legal actionthrough federal law in case of violations by state agents.

Inconclusion, the Supremacy Clause should be invoked in dealing withissues of national importance such as food labeling, birth control,food production, equality, and healthcare. The issues are vitalbecause they affect all citizens regardless of the geographicallocation in the United States. Successful enforcement of equality,healthy foods through accurate labeling, guaranteeing access tohealthcare, and food security across the nation is only possible ifthere is a single standard of reference set by the nationalgovernment. The constitution, through the supremacy clause,prohibits state governments from making it impossible for federallegislation to be implemented at state level. Thus, the nationalgovernment enjoys constitutional protections that give it the mandateto deal with national challenges related to healthcare, equality,food production, food labeling, and birth control. If left to stategovernments, state political machinations are likely to block theexecution of policies that favor minority groups.

References

Amar,A. R. (1994). The Consent of the Governed: Constitutional AmendmentOutside Article V. ColumbiaLaw Review,457-508.

Drahozal,C. R. (2004). Thesupremacy clause: A reference guide to the United StatesConstitution.Westport, Conn: Praeger.

Hart,H. M. (1954). The Relations Between State and Federal Law. ColumbiaLaw Review,489-542.

Government Position Paper

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GOVERNMENT POSITION PAPER 5

GovernmentPosition Paper

GovernmentPosition Paper

TheAmerican ideology that is worth subscribing to is liberalism.Liberalism is an ideology that prioritizes the individual liberty ofcitizens and the entire human race, which is enforced through equalaccess to opportunity and a guarantee of human rights (O`Connor,Orloff, &ampShaver, 1999). It is a set of political expedients meantto prevent tyranny and promote peaceful co-existence in a pluralisticsociety such as the United States, while fostering individualfreedom. Specifically, the idea of conservative liberalism is themost applicable in modern-day circumstances where the state needs toplay a pivotal role in ensuring that citizens have access toopportunities that will help them reach their desired destiny whilealso protecting them from any violations of human rights. Liberalismshould be applied in all facets of life. The state, through itspolicies, should follow a liberal approach because it is not onlyaccommodative, but also progressive in many ways. Since theenlightenment period and after the American Revolution when liberalideologies became entrenched in the society, liberalism has grownprogressively (p.23). Liberalism postulates that human beings shouldbe as free from any restraint as possible, including free from thestate. However, liberal conservatism recognizes that the state isthe sole mediator when rights are violated through enforcement ofconstitutionalism. Liberalism considers the state as an agent of allcitizens and it should enforce laws that promote the well-being ofall citizens across all spectrums. The tenets of liberalism arefound in its view political life, economic issues, and social aspectsof citizens.

Liberalconservatism in economics: Liberalism supports a laissez-faire typeof government that does not interfere with free play of economicagents in the economy (p.39). The natural forces of economics suchas demand and supply are supposed to be the ones determining thedirection taken by economic policy instead of government dominance.It is also important to note that, economic liberty of individualcitizens is critical to a liberalist. Thus, the government shouldcreate the necessary conditions for prosperity primarily throughdefense of the country from foreign aggression, enforcement of lawsthrough strong policing bodies and national security policies, andconstruction and maintenance of public works that individuals cannotafford to undertake. However, the state does not have to be entirelyalienated from the economy, but can play its role through state-ownedcorporations. Furthermore, the state should arbitrate during time ofeconomic crisis by bringing stability into the economy. Economicfreedom to liberals means that the state still retains the role ofdemocratic supervision. A liberal will not a few individualsestablish a monopoly in the name of exercising their economic rightbecause it amounts to a violation of the economic liberty of othercitizens. Liberal policies aim to create an economic system that isequal to all rather than one that emphasizes on rigid classificationsand order. Progressive taxation should be used to distributeresources so that the poor do not end up paying more tax than therich. When the rich pay disproportionately higher taxes than thepoor, freedoms of the latter are curtailed. They are impeded fromsocial mobility.

Politicalliberalism: The protection of civil rights or the basic rights ofpeople is the primary role of the state. Basic rights includeequality before the law, freedom of assembly, free speech and thepress, and freedom from arbitrary arrest. The system of governmentthat liberals support should be one which is transparent anddemocratically brought to power. Government officials must beaccountable to the public. The state and religion should be separate.The constitution should not impose any kind of religious beliefs onthe people. Liberals believe the state religion will be subject toendless religious squabbles that democracy is supposed to sidestep. Human authority should replace divine authority.

TheSocial tenet of the liberalism: The state promotes equality throughsocial policies that promotes all kinds of freedom such as politicalfreedom, economic freedom, and social freedom. To a liberal, thegovernment should be actively involved in creating a social orderthrough such as things as settings the minimum wage, enhancing andsubsidizing education, subsidizing healthcare, and anti-povertysocial programs, anti-discrimination laws, and promote access tohousing and employment opportunities. The state has theresponsibility to ensure that the environment is protected frompollution.

Asdefense of liberalism as the best American ideology, it is vital todiscuss its accomplishments and victories in American history. Mostof the important political events owe their occurrence to the liberalimpulse that shaped them. The first proof of the success of liberalideals is the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is anassertion of liberal beliefs and values that emphasize on thesovereignty and the natural rights of citizens (Flanagan,2005). According to the Declaration, the natural rights ofindividuals are inherent rather than granted by the state.

Liberalsneeded to fight for the basic freedoms of citizens when the Aliensand Sedition Act was passed in 1798 (Brennan,1987). The Act intended to punish those who criticize thegovernment, including Thomas Jefferson and his Democrat-RepublicanParty. Jefferson defeated Adams in the subsequent election by ridingon a liberal platform. President Andrew Jackson implemented liberalreforms that increased requirements for human suffrage. More people,therefore, qualified to participate in the electoral system. Thereforms paved the way for further reforms that saw America become ademocracy it has grown to become.

References

Brennan,W. J. (1987). Thequest to develop a jurisprudence of civil liberties in times ofsecurity crises.

Flanagan,B. (2005). America`sDeclaration of Independence.

O`Connor,J. S., Orloff, A. S., &amp Shaver, S. (1999). States,markets, families: Gender, liberalism and social policy in Australia,Canada, Great Britain and the United States(p. 28). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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