The 10th Amendment to the United States is included in the Bill of Rights and was ratified in the year 1791 on 15 December. It is the last amendment in the US Constitution. The amendment was introduced to assure the state government delegates that the federal government would not interfere in the matters restricted to the states. The amendment explains the federalism principle and the rights of the states. This means that the amendment strictly supports the original plan of the Constitution wherein it has been mentioned that the federal government could exercise only those power allotted to it by the Constitution of the country. The other remaining powers are meant for the people or the states. The first US Congress had proposed the amendment in the year 1789 while it held its first term after the Constitution was adopted. Many members considered the amendment as a necessary thing for the several state ratifications concerning the Constitution. Apart from that, it was also considered important because of its ability to satisfy the demands of the anti-federalists who were against the formation of a more powerful federal government. Those who drafted the amendment had two prime purposes in mind – first was that they proposed the amendment as an essential rule of construction and secondly, as a reaffirmation of federalism.
Many however are confused regarding the power of the federal government as per the amendment. They did not clearly understand whether the federal government would have no power or the states would be autonomous. According to the text of the Tenth Amendment in the Constitution, the powers are reserved to the States or the people. This means that the powers delegated by the Constitution are meant mainly for the people of the country. The Tenth Amendment, also known as Amendment X defines many powers that overlap amongst the state and the federal governments. This includes powers on collecting taxes, criminal justice and education. In some cases, the federal government uses federal money to provide incentive for states so that they could follow federal programs. On the other hand, the states cite the amendment to reason their disobedience to the laws implemented by the federal government. The Supreme Court declared the Tenth Amendment as a truism meaning that it does not actually add any new thing to the Constitution. The amendment was just introduced to stress on the fact that the federal government possesses jurisdiction over several things and the state governments also have jurisdiction over some other things.
Questions arise regarding the limitations of the federal government as per the amendment. People ask the question whether the amendment restricts the federal government from instructing the states on the ways to run. The answer to this is not really because the Supreme Court hardly turns down a federal law. The reason is that the Constitution gives the power to the Congress to regulate interstate commerce known commonly as the commerce clause.
To explain the Tenth Amendment better, one could use an example. the 2005 Supreme Court decision in the Gonzales versus Raich case is one example where the woman who sued the federal government for seizing her personal marijuana crops meant for medical purpose had to lose. This was because according to the Supreme Court, the federal law overpowered the state law (in California, medical marijuana is legal) because the federal government had the right of regulating interstate commerce. Hence, it could be seen that despite the 10th Amendment, federal laws still influence state laws.
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