The Tenth Amendment: The Most Ignored Piece of the Constitution



Conservatives, libertarians, and other concerned citizens alike have oftentimes found themselves seething with rage over new bureaucratic laws, judgements, and embarrassments coming from the Obama administration these past seven years. Many of us have a “feeling” that something isn’t right. We know that we are giving up more of our unique freedoms and our unalienable rights. However, there is a guardian called the Constitution that is meant to protect us from this very occurrence. The tenth amendment, while oftentimes unnoticed or purposely cut out, is our best protection against tyranny. All we have to do is uphold it.

The text of the tenth amendment 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.” This powerful language reinforces the idea of delegated powers and a limited government. The Framers refer to the national government as the “United States” and the individual state governments simply as the “States.” The purpose of the tenth amendment is to keep the federal government or even the states from overstepping their bounds.

Congress has 30-35 (depending upon how one counts but both include all powers) topics upon which it can legislate. The executive branch is charged with upholding the laws that the congress creates. The judicial branch is charged with holding each new law against the Constitution and seeing whether it violates any aspect.

The tenth amendment solidifies this law and is almost redundant in the way that it repeats that the national government has delegated powers since they are all already listed. The Framers did this because they were terrified of a powerful central government becoming a tyranny similar to the one they just escaped. The tenth amendment is the summary of this ideal, and it is meant to make upholding the law of delegated powers far easier.

President Obama has violated the Constitution on several cases. He has usurped the authority of congress by legislating through executive orders. He used his power of executive orders to create law, not uphold the true law of the land. He and his administration have been allowed to shred the Constitution across the board. He’s arranged treaties when that is a congressional authority, he’s simply chosen to enforce only the laws he likes, and he has held a disregard for the founding principles of our nation that are listed and upheld by the Constitution.

It is a shame that one must say the time for lawlessness must end; for it should have never happened in the first place.

Author: James Kurlich

Questions? Ask away at

“Tenth Amendment.” Annenberg Classroom. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

“Thirty Enumerated Powers.” Tenth Amendment Center. N.p., 20 Sept. 2015. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

“President Obama’s Top Ten Constitutional Violations of 2015.” National Review. N.p., 23 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

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