United States Constitution, law and history discussion

The Tenth Amendment

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message 1: by Lena (last edited Feb 26, 2010 09:30AM) (new)

Lena (Weathy) | 1 comments This new movement involves the tenth amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which 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." The people involved in this movement believe that our government is out of control and that "states need to take back their constitutional rights," according to an article published on CNN. To learn more, visit this link,

message 2: by Douglas, Group Moderator (last edited May 30, 2010 11:25AM) (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 193 comments Mod
One cannot ignore the political orientation and ideology and, hence motivation, of any group suddenly reaching with vigor to the Constitution for authority. "Tenthers" rely on some of the theory and arguments of John C. Calhoun who was the guru and architect of the Nullification Crisis in the late 1820's and 1830's. Southern secessionists relied on Calhoun's arguments to justify their actions some two decades later. Significantly, today's Tenthers ignore the Tenth Amendment's sister --- the Ninth Amendment which provides simply, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." Proponents of personal liberty, who are usually considered "liberals," often cite the Ninth Amendment, as well as the liberty clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, for authority to legitimize expansions of personal freedom, such as same sex marriage and abortion rights. Yet folks of the Tenther persuasion are often more conservative politically, and I suspect they adhere to the rambling, disorganized, unrefined philosophy of the so-called Tea Party movement.

message 3: by John (new)

John (silvjohn) | 2 comments My state, Nebraska is currently moving a resolution through the legislature that would reaffirm the 10th amendment. I believe that the 9th and 10th are extremely important for our intended system our federalized government.

I have two problems with the current atmosphere around the 10th. First, people wish to use it when it benefits their position but to disparage it when a strong federal stance benefits another of their positions. Second, the media desperately wishes to link any belief in the 9th and 10th to the desire for succession or to link these people with slavery.

Also, the Constitution does not provide any of the states with 'constitutional rights', it is a document from the states granting certain rights and powers to a separate entity. Outside of these specific items, all rights were intended to remain with the states and their people.

I belief that the discussion in our society should not be whether the states have a right to expect a certain clause to be followed, but since we have failed to follow it for the past 150 years or longer, do we still want the clause to be in existence.

This last paragraph should extend to the every line of the Founding Documents. If certain people desire not to follow them, then an honest discussion should be expected instead of simply ignoring the documents.

message 4: by Douglas, Group Moderator (last edited Mar 15, 2010 11:10PM) (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 193 comments Mod
A political group like the so-called Tenthers --- who presumably are linked to the Tea Party clubs --- exploit the Tenth Amendment in an awkward effort to bring legitimacy to their cause. Obviously, we have seen this before. The Tenthers lack even a scintilla of bona fide scholarly analysis and study of the Tenth Amendment. The Tenther movement is merely the cause celebre of the moment, and like any other fad will flame out.

message 5: by Douglas, Group Moderator (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 193 comments Mod
Two very good books about the Tenth Amendment, which are included in our group's bookshelves, are Inherent Rights, the Written Constitution, and Popular Sovereignty: The Founders' Understanding, and Powers Reserved for the People and the States: A History of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Both were written by Thomas B. McAffee.

message 6: by Douglas, Group Moderator (last edited Mar 16, 2010 06:26AM) (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 193 comments Mod
The legislature of my home state South Carolina devoted a couple of weeks of its current session to debate some pointless, inane resolution reaffirming the Tenth Amendment. While they wasted time and taxpayers' money for the their public discussion about the Tenth Amendment, the legislators ignored record levels of unemployment in South Carolina and the looming budget crisis that is about to paralyze health care to the poor and elderly, education, and other urgent needs of the people. Well, this phenomenon comes as no surprise to those of us who have lived here all of our lives. Our State government is run by very conservative politicians. This show case "debate" about the wonders of the Tenth Amendment comes in an election year. Even a neophyte knows that these folks are merely trying to curry favor with the Tenthers and Tea Party clubs with their sudden discovery of the Tenth Amendment, which was ratified with the other Bill of Rights in 1791.

message 7: by John (new)

John (silvjohn) | 2 comments It is fantastic to have found a discussion group with such intelligent people. It's hard to find good, balanced discussions out here in the middle of nowhere. I expect to learn quite a bit for you, Douglas.

I think one of the biggest problems when talking about the Tenthers or the Tea Parties or the Birthers or any groups such as this is the tendency to group them all under a single doctrine. It would be like seeing anyone who goes to a church and assume the all follow the Pope, word for word. It makes it difficult for anyone to either defend of debate such groups.

When talking with Tenthers I find it important to find their motivation. Douglas brought this up in his first post, I've mark every book his mentioned. Some simply want to have local government control more of the decisions, others have sprouted out of the Obama histeria and are only interested in states/people's rights on certain issues. All of this muddies the waters and makes a good debate with these groups or their opponents almost impossible.

It seems the only good discussions come from those people disassociated with the issue in some respect.

message 8: by Douglas, Group Moderator (last edited May 30, 2010 11:27AM) (new)

Douglas (dougkotti) | 193 comments Mod
Those of you interested in the Tenth Amendment should read the recent decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Comstock. In a 7 to 2 decision, the majority commented on the Tenth Amendment while upholding the power of the federal government. Shortly, we'll initiate a separate discussion of the Comstock decision for our group. You may find the Comstock decision, complete with majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions, at the Court's official website. The link is: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/...

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