The Federalists living in the dawn of the United States believed that a strong, centralized federal government with individual state governments subject to it was the best way for the new nation to be governed. The Anti-Federalists, though ceding that federal government is necessary, were fearful that it would encroach upon the state’s and individuals freedom. Although in the years since the ratification of the constitution there have been times when the Federalists arguments are substantiated, the current situation is increasingly proving the Anti-Federalists skepticism valid. The Anti-Federalist’s core prediction, that the state’s and citizen’s freedoms will be stifled to an extent by the higher federal government, has proven more accurate in modern America.
This argument and idea that the federal government would become too overbearing after the ratification of the constitution is proved in multiple ways in the modern day; through the powers of the supreme court and the decisions of the president/executive branch. Firstly, the supreme court has far too much power when it comes to decisions and far too insignificant “checks” from the other branches of government. It is quite absurd that 9 supreme court justices, often unfortunately letting partisan agenda influence them, can make major decisions which can influence the citizen’s rights for years to come. As put by Larry Kramer, former dean of Stanford Law School and constitutional historian, “The idea that the justices have final say over the meaning of our Constitution- that once they have spoken, no matter what they say, our only recourse is the nearly impossible task of amending the Constitution or waiting for some of them to change their minds or die or retire – ought to offend anyone who believes in democratic government” (The New York Times). To bring this issue to recent times, Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated by Donald Trump to the Supreme Court. Although Kavanaugh does have to go through a judicial committee hearing and then a senate hearing, there would have to be substantial and vehement opposition to his appointment for a rejection from the court. Even in that case, the president would still get to nominate someone else to the court (who will most likely share his political ideology in some capacity) who, if confirmed, will influence the next decades of American law. The power that the Supreme Court has along with the lack of true “check” they receive is one way that the Anti-Federalists were right about the federal government infringing on citizen’s liberties. The other way the federal government has been too overbearing in modern times is through the power of the executive branch as a whole and the power bestowed upon the president himself. For example, the passage of the USA Patriot Act by President Bush in 2001 allowing the federal government freedom to monitor communications between citizens who may not even be connected to terrorism (the whole premise of the act was to curb terrorism.) According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “… the Act made significant amendments to over 15 important statutes, [however] it was introduced with great haste and passed with little debate, and without a House, Senate, or conference report.”
...(download the rest of the essay above)