The Tenth Amendment and States’ Rights

“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.”


The Federal Constitution grants specific responsibilities to a central government acting on behalf of the several States. Amendment 10 to that document says that any power not delegated to the central government is retained.

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” Federalist #45.

Usurpation of States Rights has been a goal of central planners from day one. Hamilton and his central bank under the Washington administration, the series of laws known as the Alien and Sedition acts under the Adams administration, or the Louisiana Purchase under Jefferson. The list is long. Only 10 years after the Federal Compact was in effect, the Kentucky Resolutions were passed out of the Kentucky Legislature nullifying the Alien and Sedition acts. 1800 saw Virginia also nullify the Alien and Sedition acts.

Nullification is often thought of as an antiquated concept, something from days gone by, not applicable to today. Just last year the Minnesota Legislature passed a medical marijuana law in contradiction to federal statutes. This was an act of nullification.

Every state legislator swears an oath to defend both the state and federal Constitutions. It then becomes the duty of every State legislator to stand against any federal usurpation of State Sovereignty.