On Baseball and Federalism

Today, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, along with player’s union leader Donald Fehr and former Sen. George Mitchell–the latter being the author of the “Mitchell Report” which, on December 13, 2007 and after 20 months of investigation, named 88 baseball players as having used steroids, growth hormone, or other performance-enhancing drugs–testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the drug problem in the sport. Next month, the congressional committee plans to speak with pitchers Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, both of whom appeared within the former senator’s report.
Can somebody PLEASE tell me why Congress is involved in Major League Baseball? Can somebody PLEASE tell me where the regulation of drug-filled syringes injected into overpaid, prima donna athlete asses falls under the 17 enumerated powers in the United States Constitution?
Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 28, wrote that the federal government may, from time to time, wield excessive power at the expense of the state governments and of the people, just as, at other times, the state governments may wield excessive power at the expense of the federal government and of the people. Either way, drought or deluge, feast or famine, the very nature of this nation and its people will right a government listing in one direction or another.
In theory, Hamilton was correct. In practice, he was WRONG! In the 220 or so years since then, Congress has constantly engaged in activities shifting power further and further away from the people and from the states and into the coffers of the federal government. An overreaching Congress, helped by an activist judiciary and the misinterpretation of essential measures like the Necessary and Proper Clause, has permitted for a power grab of epic proportions. One by one, the Fourteenth Amendment has incorporated provisions of the Bill of Rights against the states. Overzealous legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act has handcuffed the states from pursuing measures that work best for each environment, each in competition with one another to establish what works best and what does not. Time and time again, the federal power grab has overshadowed the need for a state-by-state free-market approach to government.
In his 1988 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan addressed this need when he stated that, “some years ago, the federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won.” He suggested that Washington exhibit “a little humility” and extolled the benefits of a federalist system of strong states and limited federal government. “There are a thousand sparks of genius in 50 states and a thousand communities around the nation,” he told the country. “It is time to nurture them and see which ones can catch fire and become guiding lights.”

“There are a thousand sparks of genius in 50 states and a
thousand communities around the nation. It is time to nurture them and see
which ones can catch fire and become guiding lights.”

It didn’t work. Since that speech, Congress has somehow managed to find, within Article 1, Section 8 of our Constitution, enumerated powers which permit the establishment of a nationwide 1.6-gallon-per-flush toilet standard, allow for the regulation of sugar used by private ketchup manufacturers, set the legal limit on a driver’s blood alcohol level, and provide for the reconstruction of private homes following hurricanes and other natural disasters. Now, Congress is getting involved in the U.S. automotive industry, placing mandates and standards on American auto companies which only two vehicles, hybrid or standard, currently on the road can meet–buy yourself a hybrid Prius or Civic now, people–and, according to GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, would add approximately $6000 to the price of every new vehicle. And GM and Ford have a difficult time competing now

So much for the Tenth Amendment. So much for state’s rights. So much for private industry and the free market.
We need far less government involvement in our daily lives, in our nation’s businesses. Some people, like Fred Thompson, understand that. Others, like former Arkansas Governor and current presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, would still like to see us continue down the road of the “Nanny State,” adopting nationwide smoking bans, nationwide health and food standards, and so on and so forth. Forget the Democrats — they’d like to give us so-called free universal health care, which would cost us approximately 25 to 30 percent in tax hikes. They’d wipe our asses if we paid for the toilet paper.

We need less government involvement, not more. The federal government needs to get out of our sports, our vehicles, our board rooms, and our bedrooms. The federal government needs to abandon this movement toward being a [futile] panacea and revert to doing what it was designed to do — listen to the people and govern on their behalf.



  1. Josh H says:

    In the 1950′s the Supreme Court became tired with the Reserved Clause lawsuits stemming from the upset players. So they gave the power to overview Baseball(America’s one legal monopoly)to the Congress of America. And like you I wonder how they are allowed to rule over baseball in the steroids era. It is because of this and the actual drugs that are being used. This was seen not only as a baseball issue but even more so a drug issue with the social effect baseball can have on the US.
    It sucks…but thanks to the Supreme Court…Congress has the power

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