The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states, “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.”
Essentially, this means that States are free to make law within their own borders that do not conflict with the laws written in the Constitution and it’s amendments. These rights are referred to as “State’s rights” and they are being violated all over the place.
When the United States Constitution was written, copies of the document were sent to each State government with a note attached stating that if a State had an amendment to this Constitution, they should submit it. A total of 189 amendments were submitted to Congress for debate. Out of the 189 submissions, only 10 were adopted. This amendment is not new, it was voted upon by the people who created the government of this nation.
This amendment has been generally ignored by both the legislative and executive branches of our government and occurs in both the Republican and Democratic parties alike. Our saving grace? The judicial system.
Two of the most controversial state laws in the nation are Arizona’s illegal immigration law and California’s marijuana legalization efforts.
Let’s take a look at Arizona first. SB1070 is the law enacted by Governor Jan Brewer. You do not have to be a lawyer to see that this law is reasonable and within the guidelines of the tenth amendment that gives the State the right to make it’s own laws. It cracks down hard on employers of illegal immigrants, it states that all final authority on immigration status belongs to the federal government, and it gives local police officers the power to detain, arrest, and hold a person who is here in the United States ILLEGALLY. In no way does this piece of legislation claim it is the States’ right nor duty to deport, abuse, or racially profile people within it’s boundaries.
Now, let’s take a look at California. We have a State that supports the sale and distribution of marijuana. This State is in debt well beyond any other State in the Union and see this as a way to help pull themselves out and create a revenue stream. By doing so, they are utilizing their tenth amendment right to make a law, that the people support in majority, and is within the bounds of the U.S. Constitutional powers given it.
In both cases, the tenth amendment should allow Arizona to utilize their police force in order to help federal law enforcement remove illegals from their State and from this nation, and California should be able to make marijuana legal for it’s constituents. Again, neither of these laws are unconstitutional and therefore should not be scrutinized nor challenged by the federal government.
This, again, is where the Judicial system comes into play. The courts will decide whether or not the federal government can stop either of these individual States’ efforts based on Constitutionality. I hope and pray that the they hold the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution in higher regard than the legislative and executive branches of this government do, or we are headed for tyranny.