Skip to comments.Conservatives rally around the Tenth Amendment
Posted on 07/31/2010 11:09:09 AM PDT by Qbert
Its only 28 words long: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
But the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution is having a powerful effect on conservative ideology these days. Libertarian activists are citing the amendment with renewed fervor and many politicians have been heard reciting it recently as well.
The reality is the Tenth Amendment really defines what the Constitution was supposed to mean, Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, told The Daily Caller.
On Capitol Hill, a group of Republican congressmen recently founded the Tenth Amendment Task Force, with the goal of Dispers[ing] power from Washington and restor[ing] the constitutional balance of power through liberty-enhancing federalism, according to their website.
Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop, one of the founders of the Task Force, told TheDC that the issue of the Tenth Amendment really resonates right now because of the ideological battle going on in Washington.
We have an administration for the first time in a long time that is not necessarily pragmatic, but is very philosophical. And its sharpened the debate as to what should be the role of the federal government, he said.
Other members of the Tenth Amendment Task Force include Republican Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennesee and Jason Chaffetz of Utah. Bishop insists that their cause is bipartisan and they plan to reach out to Democrats as well.
And its not just House Republicans that have a revived interest in the Tenth Amendment. Several state attorneys general are suing the federal government over the new health care bill on Tenth Amendment grounds. Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty has voiced support for the importance of the amendment and Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has also mentioned the Tenth Amendment favorably.
The Tenth Amendment is particularly popular at the state level. After Barack Obamas election, a handful of states introduced state sovereignty resolutions, which pledged to fight unconstitutional laws.
States have also rebelled on issues ranging from gay marriage to medical marijuana. After Congress considered adopting a national identification card in 2007, 25 states passed laws in opposition, effectively killing the idea.
The Tenth Amendment is one of the most controversial parts of the Constitution, since many argue that it would require a massive transfer of power from the federal government to the states. Its language forbids the federal government from taking on powers that arent assigned to it in the Constitution.
This made the Tenth Amendment a key issue during the health care debate for many on the right. Since health care isnt specifically mentioned in the Constitution, went the argument, the federal government couldnt regulate it.
Many progressives say thats absurd. Ian Millhiser, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, cautions that conservatives are interpreting the Tenth Amendment too narrowly, and that such a reading would abolish popular programs like Social Security and Medicare.
[T]here is something fundamentally authoritarian about the tenther constitution. Social Security, Medicare, and health-care reform are all wildly popular, yet the tenther constitution would shackle our democracy and forbid Congress from enacting the same policies that the American people elected them to advance, Millhiser wrote in an article for the American Prospect. Millhiser and other progressives have dubbed conservative supporters of the Tenth Amendment tenthers, in order to delegitimize their interpretation of the Tenth Amendment. Its a play on the term birthers which refers to those who believe Obama wasnt born in America. Millhiser calls conservatives interpretations of the Tenth Amendment no less radical [than the birthers] but infinitely more dangerous.
But conservatives wouldnt necessarily be the only ones to benefit from the tenther interpretation of the Tenth Amendment. Strict enforcement of the Tenth Amendment could be a boon to many progressive issues as well, from ending the drug war to abolishing the Patriot Act. Already, many localities have protested federal immigration laws through the establishment of sanctuary cities, which dont deport illegal immigrants.
Earlier this month, a Massachusetts judge struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as solely between a man and woman, on Tenth Amendment grounds.
Boldin said its a mistake to think of the Tenth Amendment as Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative.
Its about liberties and limiting the federal government to certain enumerated powers, he said.
Theres also some disagreement between politicians and activists as to what the Tenth Amendment should mean. Bishop said the Tenth Amendment was less about abolishing certain programs and more about restoring balance between the federal government and the states.
Boldin said that wasnt good enough.
Obviously its not a popular position to say, oh, Social Security is a violation of the Constitution. But the way we see it, it is, he said.
The controversy over the Tenth Amendment goes back to early American history. The Anti-Federalists, concerned about a monarchy, included the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights to limit the governments power. Upon its passage, Thomas Jefferson called the Tenth Amendment the foundation of the Constitution.
The battle over the Tenth Amendment later became pronounced between James Madison, who had a strict interpretation, and Alexander Hamilton, who had a much looser interpretation.
But generally Jeffersons view of the Tenth Amendment ruled until Franklin Delano Roosevelts New Deal. After Supreme Court judges struck down many of FDRs reforms on Tenth Amendment grounds, Roosevelt threatened to expand the high court with his own appointees. Judicial opposition quickly collapsed.
The Constitutions complement to the Tenth Amendment is the Commerce Clause, which states, [The Congress shall have power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.
Many progressives contend that this gives the federal government broad power to regulate anything that affects commerce. This reasoning was adopted by the courts during the New Deal.
Others claim that regulate meant something different during the late-1700s literally to make regular. They argue the Commerce Clause was just supposed to block states from establishing tariffs and sanctions against each other that could hamper regular trade.
Maybe that should read: "...would require the rightful restoration of State power, and the reduction of Federal usurpation thereof."
Its language forbids the federal government from taking on powers that arent assigned to it in the Constitution.
As it should be.
The Founders wisely limited Federal power, recognizing that the vast majority of issues are framed by circumstances, resources, and geography/geology specific to the individual states, and even regions within them.
The more local the government, the more specifically those can be dealt with.
There is a difference between Federal arbitration between disagreeing entities and Federal control from the onset. The former permits localized entities to work out their differences, and, if that fails, to seek arbitration. The latter denies that possibility.
We need to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment, too. The rights of the States have been inadequately represented in the Federal Congress since it passed.
Health care reform 'wildly popular'? I want some of what this moron is smoking.
If the OP(formerly the GOP) truly supports the 10th Amendment then they will advocate abolishing the DOE(Department of Education), EPA, FCC, FAA, SEC since Article 1 Section 8 does not specifically list regulating education, the environment, communications, aviation or the stock market as enumerated powers and therefore are rights reserved to the states per the 10th Amendment.
“Health care reform ‘wildly popular’? I want some of what this moron is smoking.”
It’s probably “wildly popular” when the only thing he reads comes from JournoList, and he’s never stepped foot out of the teacher’s lounge.
Nuh-uh, no way. I have better things to do than spend all day on the toilet crapping my brains out...just to get down to that IQ level...
It always fascinates me how liberals are always claiming to defend the Constitution against the evil conservatives, yet when all is said and done, liberals only see the Constitution as a tool for liberalism aka authoritarianism and statism to enslave the masses literally and figuratively into a state of dependency, which is antithetical to the US Constitution, a document meant to define the role of federal government in narrow workable terms and to defend and protect the liberties of the states and people from tyranny.
There is nothing controversial or disputable about the 10th Amendment.
Its essence defines as a free people.
Why do we allow liberals to turn something so basic and fundamental about who we are as a people, our political and personal freedom, into something evil and radical?
10th Ammendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Now THAT would make a good stamp.
Stamp it on every envelope that leaves your mailbox.
Oh, if only it weren’t against the “law” to stamp money with it, as well.....
The FAA must continue to exist as a nationwide entity in one form or another.. The SEC, FCC and EPA all cover things that cross state boundaries .. I don’t want to lose any of those agencies ,, I do want to pare down their scope and have them actually do their jobs, preferably with 75% fewer employees and 75% fewer regulations.
...the authority to enact laws necessary and proper for the regulation of interstate commerce is not limited to laws governing intrastate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective, Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that do not themselves substantially affect interstate commerce.
J. Scalia, concurring in Raich
Knowledge of Americas history allows a full understanding and appreciation of the Tenth Amendment. Taken alone the Tenth Amendment can cause confusion.
Ill be brief.
When our founding fathers decided theyd had enough of British oppression they broke away and declared independence. They stated as self evident truth in the Declaration of Independence Men are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights. In other words, God gave man his rights and that among them are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. In the very next sentence, the founders defined the proper role of government when they stated that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted.
That explains why we created a government with limited powers. The method our founders elected to limit Government powers was to enumerate those powers in the Constitution. Article I. Section I. of the Constitution contains the first reference to the fact that the powers would be herein listed.
Section. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
This means that a particular power does not exist unless specifically listed.
It is vital to realize that the Bill of Rights never really gave the citizens any rights but rather it protects inherent rights from interference by the government. The Bill of Rights directed squarely at the federal government, not the individual, and not the states. The Bill of Rights says Congress shall not, shall not, and shall not.
The words of the Tenth Amendment are The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
In effect the Tenth Amendment is the people saying to Congress, if we forgot anything you cant do that either.
Okay, it wasnt all that brief but it does cause me to ponder why Liberals and Conservatives would not rally around that marvelous Tenth Amendment.
Liberals only read and apply those parts of the constitution that support their socialistic view of society, and by the way, the restrictions on government only apply when Republicans are in power. I’m actually amazed by how politicians (on both sides) will only apply the parts of the constitution they like, and ignore the rest - and yet we still re-elect them. Our education system in this country and the TV society has left us in this state.