The New Deal, launched almost 80 years ago, represented a giant leap toward collectivism. But only in the last few weeks, as a result of President Barack Obama's New Deal Reloaded, have some 20 states rediscovered the Constitution and the 10th Amendment.
Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution sets forth the limited duties and obligations of the federal government. The Founding Fathers designed a federal government that focuses primarily on national security, the rules of naturalization and a handful of other matters. And the Ninth and 10th amendments to the Constitution leave all other rights and powers to the people and to the states, respectively.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, standing with members of his state Legislature, said: "The 10th Amendment was enacted by folks who remembered what it was like to have a very oppressive government -- to be under the thumb of tyrants in an all-powerful government. Unfortunately, the protections it guarantees have melted away over the course of the years."
During the early days of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, the Supreme Court actually ruled that the Constitution meant what it said and said what it meant. The court, for example, unanimously struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act as the result of a lawsuit by a chicken slaughterhouse, which resented federal control of its business because it operated exclusively within New York state. So the Supreme Court pointed to Article I, Section 8, which reads, "Congress shall have Power … (t)o regulate Commerce … among the several States," and said the Constitution limited Congress to legislation involving interstate commerce, not intrastate commerce. The court was also concerned about the delegated, enumerated balance of power among the three branches of government -- legislative, executive and judicial -- especially the president's use of legislative power, because FDR issued the executive order authorizing the code imposed on intrastate commerce. Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote: "The President, in approving a code, may impose his own conditions, adding to or taking from what is proposed. … (T)he discretion of the President in approving or prescribing codes, and thus enacting laws for the government of trade and industry throughout the country, is virtually unfettered."