Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 1, 2013

STUMPTALK: The true source of our rights

By Jim Sykes
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — We often hear congressmen, the president and others refer to our “constitutional rights.” This is not the source of our rights and is an incorrect statement just as saying that our form of government is a democracy rather than a republic.

In order to understand the source of our rights, one must learn the founding principles set forth in The Declaration of Independence (second paragraph)...”that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our founders understood that our rights come from our Creator, not the Constitution, the federal government or the Supreme Court.

It’s important to notice that the rights specified are “among” the rights endowed by our Creator. The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights in our constitution lists only a few of the many rights that we received from our Creator. It would be useless to attempt to list each and every right that we received from our Creator. The purpose of government is to protect these rights and to exercise only those powers granted to the federal government. The powers granted to the federal government are limited and specifically enumerated.

The Preamble to our Constitution states that “We the People … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” thus creating the federal government. It is our “creature.” Alexander Hamilton says as much in Federalist No. 33 (fifth paragraph); and Thomas Jefferson says this in his draft of The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 (eighth Resolution). As our “creature,” it may lawfully do “only” what WE authorized it to do in our Constitution.

The “federal” government was created as an alliance of Sovereign States associated in a “federation” with a national government to which is delegated supremacy over the states in few and well defined areas only.

James Madison in Federalist No. 45 (ninth paragraph) says: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

It’s only with respect to the “enumerated powers” that the federal government has lawful authority over the people of this country!  All other powers are “reserved to the several states” and the people.

Our federal government has no authority to force any state or local government or any citizen to follow any law that exceeds the authority granted to it by the Constitution and ALL federal laws and court opinions that exceed that authority are not lawful and our state government should not continue to enforce them or allow the federal government to enforce them.

• • •

Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Phil Billington at