by Holli Carter
The 10th Amendment seems to be a point of contention. Many of our statist friends say that this amendment give the federal government free rein to do whatever it wants, citing the part “not prohibited to it” to mean that it is referring to the Federal Government. But, take a moment to apply basic English rules to it, and you’ll see this is in error.
Here is the text, in whole:
“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.”
So, we see that we can take out the part offset by commas as it would read: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Easy Peasy! If the powers are not delegated to the US, they are to remain with the states or people. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
This is where it gets dicey. Statists want the offset portion to be highlighted!! “See?” they say, “If they are not outlined OR if they are not denied specifically to the feds, they can do it!!”
Keep your pantyhose on! Let’s delve into that.
Here is the offset part: “nor prohibited by it to the States”. Oh, whoops. Looks like our statist friends didn’t take enough English classes to understand complex sentence structures.
This reads: “nor prohibited by it [“it” means the US Constitution] TO THE STATES. As Scooby-Doo says, “Ruh-roh!”
The following four statements identify that which is for the feds to do, and that which is for the states:
If a thing is not delegated to the United States Congress, it goes to the states and people. (These are few and defined, and found in Article I for a full list of items they are in charge of handling.)
Regarding the states, if it’s not denied to the states, it belongs with the states and people. (This list is almost endless, save the few things denied to them in Article I – such as making treaties with foreign countries.)
The only thing left for the feds to do is that which is specifically delegated to them by the Constitution, and nothing more.
Thus, the next time a statist says to you, “I don’t see the word healthcare in the Constitution!” You can say, “Exactly!” Maybe you will have time for a quick English lesson or two for them.
Holli Carter is a Christian, Wife, Mom, and Constitutional Scholar – in that order. She is the author of “The Declaration Made Easy” which is available for sale by clicking below. Please support her by purchasing her book!