States Powers and Individual Rights: Deriving Governmental Powers

As a member of the Tenth Amendment Center, many might assume that the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is my favorite from the Bill of Rights. However, my favorite is the Ninth:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This affirmation of individual rights secures the concept of natural rights being beyond governmental infringement. That is also the basis of the Declaration of Independence. Stating that we have the rights to Life and Liberty, “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish [our government], and to institute new Government …” in the case of abuse of those rights.

Such statements put the right of self government in the hands of individuals. Our form of government, a republic, binds people over a small geographic area, our state, but that government must protect the rights of all inhabitants. The power of the state to pass law comes from those who live in the state. So when states band together into a pact, the Constitution of the UNITED STATES, there can be no implied sacrifice of the power of states, because that power is derived from state citizens. The only limits on powers that can be imposed upon the states by the national government are those specifically listed in the Constitution.

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