Without the 10th Amendment, the Bill of Rights wouldn’t make much sense. The Founders who advocated an explicit Bill of Rights worried that any attempt to list the fundamental rights of free citizens, which the Federal government must never infringe or impair, might suggest that any such rights not listed were fair game. The 10th Amendment was designed specifically to foreclose any such argument: Any powers not specifically granted to the United States, are reserved to the individual states and to the people.
Of course this fundamental principle of American government has been generally honored in the breach it seems.
But now there is a movement afoot whereby States are beginning to assert their rights, and demand adherence to the Constitution. In Congress, Ron Paul has introduced the We the People Act, which explicitly denies the federal courts jurisdiction over any state law regarding privacy, marriage, free exercise of religion or abortion. As Congressman Paul said in introducing the bill, “The best guarantor of true liberty is decentralized political institutions, while the greatest threat to liberty is concentrated power.”
At the state level, legislation has also been introduced in the legislatures of twenty one states, to require federal compliance with the 10th Amendment. The Oklahoma House Rules Committee, for example, has unanimously reported out House Resolution 1003, whose text is reprinted below.
How refreshing to know that Leviathan will not prevail without protest. And maybe he won’t prevail at all.
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
1st Session of the 52nd Legislature (2009)
RESOLUTION 1003 By: Key
A Joint Resolution claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers; serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates; providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed; and directing distribution.
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:
“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.”; and
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that specifically granted by the Constitution of the United States and no more; and
WHEREAS, the scope of power defined by the Tenth Amendment means that the federal government was created by the states specifically to be an agent of the states; and
WHEREAS, today, in 2009, the states are demonstrably treated as agents of the federal government; and
WHEREAS, many federal laws are directly in violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and
WHEREAS, the Tenth Amendment assures that we, the people of the United States of America and each sovereign state in the Union of States, now have, and have always had, rights the federal government may not usurp; and
WHEREAS, Article IV, Section 4 says, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government”, and the Ninth Amendment states that ”The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people”; and
WHEREAS, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in New York v. United States, 112 S. Ct. 2408 (1992), that Congress may not simply commandeer the legislative and regulatory processes of the states; and
WHEREAS, a number of proposals from previous administrations and some now pending from the present administration and from Congress may further violate the Constitution of the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE SENATE OF THE 1ST SESSION OF THE 52ND OKLAHOMA LEGISLATURE:
THAT the State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.
THAT this serve as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.
THAT all compulsory federal legislation which directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.
THAT a copy of this resolution be distributed to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate of each state’s legislature of the United States of America, and each member of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation.