Bill Barr provides a link to the Heritage Foundation's "New Year's Resolutions for Conservatives". I wanted to focus on one of these resolutions. Republicans or conservatives seemed to have struggled on this point:
Speak of Federalism, not “States’ Rights”If states have rights we're in even bigger trouble than thought. You know who else invoked states' rights? People who supported segregation and well now that's one reason why no one really wants to take state's rights now.
States don’t have rights. People do.
States have powers. Nowhere in the Constitution are states said to possess rights. Congress has certain powers, clearly enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and the conservative-favorite Tenth Amendment makes clear that all the other powers are reserved to the states.
Not only is it incorrect to speak of states’ rights, but the expression has more baggage than Samsonite and Louis Vuitton combined. In case you didn’t know, “states’ rights” was the rallying cry of segregationists. Since no right-thinking conservative will keep company with such people, let’s just drop the term states’ rights once and for all.
If you’re concerned about federal encroachments on state sovereignty or the erosion of federalism–as you should be–then speak of federal encroachments on state sovereignty or the erosion of federalism. Or of the need to restore limited constitutional government, reinvigorate local self-government, decentralize power or check the growth of out-of-control government. With so many great formulations to choose from, why weaken the case for liberty by relying on “states’” rights?
And you know another answer to the difference between states' rights and federalism is answered in the New Year's Resolution #2. Mainly that one is about this idea that a state can nullify federal laws they don't agree with or they deem unconstitutional. You must either challenge the law in question judicially or get into touch with your Congressional representatives.
The state's have a role to play in the federal system. Indeed in effect the states are sovereign in some respect to the federal government. That is in the course of banding together in a union, the individual states have the ability of running their own affairs as they see fit within the context of a constitutional republic. While I accept the authority of the Federal Government and it's laws, nothing should force the states to accede to the will of the Feds.
BTW, I still have a pocket constitution from The Heritage Foundation! I wish I can tell the person who provided that to me, thank you. Don't recall if I ever did.