January 27, 2011

275 words 2 mins read

What’s the Constitutional Standing of a City?

Many of the people who support eliminating state oversight of the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners are not conservatives. Decidedly not.

There are some good conservatives who disagree over the Board of Police Commissioners for the City of St. Louis. I’ve heard some of these conservative make some strong arguments for abolishing the board or relinquishing it to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Some of the arguments in favor of so-called “home rule” are flat out false. The biggest fallacy is the claim that local control is a Constitutional principle.

States are the only political sub-division mentioned in the Constitution. Some claim that people are a second, but that doesn’t make sense. People are not political subdivisions, but the earthly source of all political power. People, alone, may create political institutions. Where the Constitution mentions “the People,” it is simply asserting powers that are reserved explicitly by the people.

So the Constitution divides the country as such: the United States and the respective States.

Technically, the states have no Constitutional requirement to further subdivide. A state could be nothing but a state. It could authorize no cities, no counties. Each state must create United States House of Representative districts, but those boundaries are irrespective of cities and counties.

The principle of home rule has no Constitutional basis. Supporters of abolishing state oversight of police boards practice deception when they hint otherwise.

I am confident that we will soon learn who is really behind the current home rule initiative. When that information comes out, those supporting the initiative will have little choice but to switch sides.

More to follow. In the meantime, don’t be deceived.