The Tenth Amendment: A Rallying Point for Patriots

When Barack Obama was elected president of the United States, many citizens understood that freedom was at risk. This was because Obama’s political reputation was already characterized by the pursuit of bigger government, higher taxes, and the kind of “single-payer health care plan” that has led to the medical demise of Britain and Canada.

Thus, shortly after Obama’s inauguration, governors and state legislatures around the country began to talk of states’ rights: a topic that hadn’t been much discussed since the days when approximately 600,000 men, Confederates and Unionists combined, died in the Civil War.

And the focus on states’ rights that began after Obama was sworn into office has not only continued through the first quarter of 2010, but has actually increased. Due in large part to the passage of the stimulus bill and the more recent health care reform, 38 states have passed some type of resolution emphasizing the rights reserved to them in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. That amendment reads:

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 Tenth Amendment was meant to guarantee the federal government stayed within its proper sphere. Therefore, it makes it clear that all powers not explicitly given to the federal government belong to the states, and that all powers belonging to the states actually belong to the people.

Within five weeks after Obama’s inauguration, eleven states attempted passage of preemptive resolutions to avoid the financial burden certain to accompany the passage of Obama’s agenda. These states were Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Missouri, Michigan, Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia, and Texas.

While most of the eleven states succeeded in passing resolutions, some, like New Hampshire, did not. But even where the resolutions failed to pass they did not fail to send a message to Washington, D.C. The message was that citizens around the country, both Republican and Democrat, had already seen enough of Obama’s hope and change.

A perfect example of the language of these early resolutions is found in an excerpt from the one passed by South Carolina:

The General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, claims for the State of South Carolina 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 United States Constitution. ...

Be it ... resolved that this resolution serves as notice and demand to the federal government, as South Carolina's agent, to cease and desist immediately all mandates ... beyond the scope of the federal government's constitutionally delegated powers.