Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Amendment X (the Tenth Amendment) of the United States Constitution is the last of ten amendemnts to the Constitution also collectively known as the Bill of Rights. The Tenth Amendment along with the rest of the Bill of Rights, was proposed by Congress in 1789, to be ratified by the requisite number of states in 1791. As with the remaining Amendments of the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment was passed in order to answer protestations that the newly created Constitution did not include sufficient guarantees of civil liberties.
The text of the 10th Amendment reads as follows:
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The Tenth Amendment is generally recognized to be a truism. In United States v. Sprague (1931) the Supreme Court noted that the amendment "added nothing to the [Constitution] as originally ratified". That said, it makes explicit the idea that the federal government is limited only to the powers it is granted in the Constitution. However, this amendment is narrowly interpreted, so that a law will generally not be overturned if there is even a remote connection to a constitutionally-given power, often the power to regulate interstate commerce.
Many that favor a more strict interpretation of the Constitution believe that the Federal government has used clever 'loopholes' to circumvent this amendment. The use of the interstate commerce clause to justify federal laws regarding narcotics and guns are among the areas of contention. Another controversial technique Congress has used is to deny states federal funding if certain state laws do not conform to federal guidelines. For example, the national 55 mph (89 km/h) speed limit and the national 21-year drinking age were imposed through this method; the states would lose highway funding if they refused to pass such laws.
- United States Constitution
- Bill of Rights
- Judicial Branch