July 14, 2016—Michael Boldin, founder and executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, takes just one minute to provide a foundational lesson on the Tenth Amendment.
“The Tenth Amendment is what’s known as a rule of construction,” Boldin explains. “This is a legal phrase the framers were quite familiar with. It’s basically a set of instructions on how to read the entire Constitution. To understand this, first, let’s review the text of the Tenth.”
“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.”
“As a rule of construction, we’re told two primary things. One, the federal government is only authorized to exercise those powers delegated to it in the Constitution and nothing more. Two, if something isn’t delegated to the federal government and isn’t expressly prohibited to the states, then the people of each state get to determine whether or not they want to deal with something and how.
“Thomas Jefferson called this the foundation of the Constitution, and if you apply these two rules to anything and everything done or proposed to be done by the federal government, your foundation will be strong.”