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.

Author: William Hennessy

Co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Persuasive design expertLatest book: Turning On Trump: An Evolution (2016)Author of The Conservative Manifest (1993), Zen Conservatism (2009), Weaving the Roots (2011), and Fight to Evolve (2016)I believe every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work as the only path to human flourishing.

6 Comments on “What’s the Constitutional Standing of a City?

  1. Carl Bearden wrote, “The City of St. Louis does not control its own police department…persistent and unrelenting crime problem in St. Louis. It’s no secret that St. Louis has unfortunately been ranked as the No. 1 crime-ridden city in the country…Your community would demand that action be taken to address the problem.”

    How does the police department being under City control change the crime problem? The Mayor does sit on the Police Board. Therefore, there is some representation from the City of St. Louis, yet there is still a crime problem. What would the 28 Alderman do to change the crime problem? The reason for the push for City control of the St. Louis Police Department is so the city can raid the police pension system. Having the police department under City control would have no effect on the crime problem; in fact it may cause an increase in crime.

    Bearden then replied, … “the pension is a red herring…” The pension is not a red herring, it is the reason the city is pushing for control. Putting the STPD under City Control is the first step towards STEALING the pension. The City needs the revenue. Anyone who can not see that needs better glasses. The reason why the St. Louis Police Departments Pension System is solvent and profitable is because it was not under City Control. The St.Louis PD is working just fine under the current system, the people are being represented and protected.

  2. Well said, Bill! Reminds me of the fatuous argument that Jeff Rainford made when he described the City Charter as their “Constitution”, and that the new State law that rescinds Residency requirements for firefighters violates that “Constitution”!

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