The thing about conservatives and state’s rights is that they are for them except when they are against them. Take Texas Governor Rick Perry, for example. Gov. Perry is on record for believing that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. That way states would be free to pass their own laws concerning abortion without having that pesky federal law and constitutional protections to worry about.
It appears that Gov. Perry has had a change of heart. According to RH Reality Check, Perry now supports a federal amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would grant personhood status and legal protections to unborn children. That’s right. The same Governor who openly flirted with secession now believes the federal government should dictate abortion law to the states. That’s an interesting evolution on the topic of federalism.
This squishiness on the 10th Amendment should really come as no surprise. Social conservatives don’t truly embrace the idea of states rights. What they embrace is the idea of state’s rights in the states, and on the issues, they like. Gay marriage in New York is a perfect example. Once the legislature approved the measure, how many state’s rights advocates came out applauding the decision and heralding it up as an example of states successfully legislating a social issue for their citizens free from unnecessary federal restraint?
The point is, Gov. Perry used to be right on this issue. He is famously on record for saying “You either have to believe in the 10th Amendment or you don’t. You can’t believe in the 10th Amendment for a few issues and then [for] something that doesn’t suit you say, I’d rather not have states decide that.”
So which is it, Gov. Perry? Do you believe in the 10th Amendment or don’t you?
Photo from Gage Skidmore via flickr.