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Reinvigorate the Tenth Amendment


The States or the People shall have all powers not delegated to Congress by the Constitution whether existing before or arising because of the Constitution.

Reinvigorate the Tenth Amendment: Proposed Language

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. Such powers shall include all those powers not expressly delegated to Congress under the Constitution, whether or not those powers existed prior to the adoption of the Constitution or those arising thereafter as a result of the Constitution. The States shall not exercise these powers in a way which diminishes or interferes with the powers expressly delegated by the Constitution to Congress, the President, or the Judiciary.


In U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Thornton, 514 U.S. 779 (1995), the Supreme Court found that efforts by the States under the Tenth Amendment to limit the terms of their federal representatives were unconstitutional. The court adopted Justice Story’s argument that the powers reserved could only be powers that existed before the Constitution and not powers springing out of the existence of the Constitution (“No state can say, that it has reserved, what it never possessed”). It is not likely the Founding Fathers even considered such a limitation to exist in the Constitution. We believe States should have all powers not delegated to the three branches of government by the Constitution and have therefore suggested this amendment.

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