Some self-proclaimed libertarians and constitutionalists maintain that crime merits prosecution at the federal level. With rare exception, there is no constitutional support to justify their claims.
Yes, the government is supposed to protect life, but there is no specific amendment of the Constitution that empowers the federal government to have jurisdiction on common crimes like theft, fraud, or murder.
Instead, the Founders explicitly warned against giving the federal government the power to deal with common crimes.
According to the late libertarian icon Harry Browne, “All crime is local. It occurs in the jurisdiction of a police department or sheriff’s department somewhere. The Founding Fathers wisely provided no Constitutional role for the federal government regarding common crimes of any kind.”
Browne concludes that a federal police force makes you less safe. In fact, the Founding Fathers would be shocked to see today’s federal police forces — such as the FBI, the BATF, and the DEA.
Of course, there are a select few crimes that the federal government does have jurisdiction on. National defense is a specifically outlined constitutional function of government, so acts against federal employees are punishable. Additionally, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 10 gives the federal government jurisdiction on piracy and this same section (Clause 6) gives the feds jurisdiction on counterfeiting. And Article 3, Section 3 gives the federal government authority on treason.
However, the federal government should have no jurisdiction on abortion. The RLC Statement of Principles says about abortion, “We support a resolution of this issue through the proper judicial and legislative channels specified in the Constitution.”
The proper constitutional channel is the Tenth Amendment, which gives powers not outlined for the federal government to the states and to the people. Thus, overturning Roe v. Wade would not only return authority to their proper jurisdiction, but it would also empower states and individuals to decide the proper course of action on the controversial issue of abortion.
If you support limiting the size and scope of government, then you can’t rely on the federal government to protect us from crimes like abortion. Crime and the protection of life should not be federal issues.
Think about it this way: The federal government does not deliver your mail on time. Why would you want to trust them on issues of life or death?
More importantly, they have no constitutional authority to protect your life, other than via national defense.