132. What Is Tenth Amendment?

From both the federal and state governments, the gig economy is under attack. But what is the gig economy and why is it so important?

Links: 

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Connor: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, Connor.

Connor: We’ve spent a lot of time in past episodes talking about the important amendments in the Bill of Rights, but there’s one amendment we haven’t yet discussed, and it’s the 10th one, which is the last one that’s part of the Bill of Rights, but incredibly important and as we’ll get into, I think, often ignored. so 10th Amendment. Any chance you remember this one off the top of your head?

Brittany: So I know I can’t quote it. I’m not that, I don’t have that good of a memory, but I believe the 10th Amendment is the one that gives individual states more control over making their own laws, right?

Connor: Yeah. And maybe, it doesn’t give those, states powers. They don’t already have. I think a little twist on what you said is that it recognizes that the states do have, you know, those, the powers and authorities, ah, they kinda, they retain that control. And when the founding fathers created this bill, think of it, right? They debated this constitution again and again and again. And then they had to send the Constitution out to the public to be ratified. And all the different states would get together and their legislatures would kind, they’d have representatives to vote and so forth to say, do we want this constitution? And so there was this big debate in all of the different, colonies and states and, should we adopt the Constitution or not. And the product of these men in this closed room, right, for a long period of time creating this constitution was now subject to the opinions of the entire country, right? Good and bad. And during that debate, all these kinds of concerns emerged where, Madison and others were like, okay, hey, no, we’re going to do this Bill of Rights that if the Constitution has passed, one of the first things the new Congress will do is pass this, you know, this package, of amendments, amendments one through 10. There were actually more that were proposed. the Bill of Rights might have been longer but ended up being these 10, that became the first amendments to the Constitution. Because again, during the debate they’re like, oh, well what about this? And what about that? And so they’re like, okay, hey, well, you know, if we pass this thing, we’ll go quickly amend it to, and I mean, think of it Britney, I, literally like, probably at least once or twice a year, have this thought in the back of my mind, come up to the surface and it’s, what would the world be like today without the Bill of Rights? Oof. I mean, what would America like if we didn’t have the, again, we’ve talked about many of these, if we didn’t have the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech, if we didn’t have the Second Amendment protecting, you know, our right to bears, have firearms to protect ourselves if we didn’t have the Fourth Amendment that requires, you know, the government to, not, you know, spy on us, basically. I mean, like all these amendments have such important things, and I’m like, oh man, I can’t even imagine what the country would be like. you know, if we didn’t have these amendments in place.

Brittany: And they still break them that’s funny to me. It’s like we have them and they still trample, you know, all over them. But one thing that I think the 10th Amendment does is there are obviously more than 10 ways the government can take advantage of its people, right? So these were just, what, the founders, and I like that you said cuz well, framers actually cause they were building the Constitution. Yeah. They debated back and forth what should be included in this. And Madison, I can’t remember his quote, but what is it if, the government was made of angels, you know, yada yada, we wouldn’t need all these things. But, and then Jefferson kind of comment, we have to, you know, bind people, chain them by the constitution. Again, that hasn’t always happened. Yeah. But so, it’s important to remember that these 10 were just the 10 that they decided on at this time, right there are more absolutely. Four things.

Connor: And so let’s focus on the 10th Amendment. Here’s what it says word for word. It’s not very long. And, then we’ll explain kinda what it means. So it says, 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. So, to unpack that a little bit, the powers that aren’t delegated or kind of given right to the United States, which is this new federal government. So the power’s not given to the federal government in the Constitution, or that aren’t prohibited in the Constitution for the States. So there’s some things that the Constitution says, Hey states, you can’t, you know, do this. Right? So it’s saying, as long as it’s a power that wasn’t given to the federal government, and it’s not a power that the states are prohibited in the constitution from having, then all the rest of those powers are reserved to the states or to the people. And, I, that latter part I think is especially important. We can talk about that in a bit. But, fundamentally, Britney, what this is saying is under the Constitution, all the states got together and they’re like, okay, we’ll create this federal government and we’ll give it some of our powers, the these existing kind of powers that the states had. Okay, yeah. We’ll let you know, declare war and we’ll let you know, make money, whatever. so we’re gonna give you these powers. We’re gonna delegate these powers to you, but all the rest of them, we get to keep, we’re gonna do, we’re gonna do things the way we want. That’s what the 10th Amendment said. It was like a guarantee or a promise to these states that hey, you guys are going to be able to control what happens in your states, make your own laws, the federal government will be small. It’ll only be focused on these like powers that, you know, you delegated, you states delegated to the federal government and you chuckled Britney. Why? Right. Because that’s not at all what has happened. I mean, the constitution.

Brittany: And I mean, I think another, and this is a whole other episode we need to talk about. Cause the 14th Amendment is I think what’s often used to kind of abuse that by the federal government. But again, that is a topic for another time. So I guess my question for you, Connor, is what is kind of an example to you of, the 10th Amendment? And maybe this could go either way of the 10th Amendment protecting the states or the 10th Amendment, putting the states at odds with the federal government.

Connor: Oh, there’s a lot to discuss. Yeah. I, before I started Lebertas Institute, I worked with an organization called the 10th Amendment Center.

Brittany: They’re great.

Connor: And, I kind of ran a state chapter for them here where I live. And you know, we were focused at the time on these exact issues. You ask, you know, for what are some examples? And one of the biggest fights we were involved in at the time that I was involved, with that issue was healthcare. Obama care was, was the big debate. And nowhere, nowhere in the constitution does it say anything about the federal government compelling people to buy healthcare insurance, health insurance. nowhere does it say the federal government can find people if they don’t, you know, buy something. In this case, healthcare insurance. Nowhere does it say that the federal government can tax people to pay for healthcare.

Brittany: Which is what they did. Right. They called it a tax try to get away with it.

Connor: Well, and even just, welfare in general, right? Yeah. Federal welfare, programs, right? That’s not in the Constitution. These were always envisioned to remain state issues. And yet, so healthcare is one example where the federal government is extremely involved now when it comes to healthcare. And the problem with that is that you don’t get diversity, this kind of laboratories of democracy as they’re called, where if you don’t like what’s happening in one state, you can move to another. The more of these issues that are pulled up to a federal level for the federal government to be involved in, even though the 10th Amendment says otherwise, the less diversity we have in our country and the more we fight over who’s gonna be the president and who’s gonna be in Congress because they’re now in charge of so much more that they were ever supposed to be. And so that’s why every election, every, you know, appointment at the federal level is like war for people because it’s a matter of, you know, life and death. For some, it’s, oh, we need to win Congress so that we can force people to pay for my healthcare. Cuz I think it’s a right. and it’s just such a problem when the federal government completely ignores the 10th Amendment when, other people, frankly, freedom fighters ignore the 10th Amendment. And, we don’t really focus on what this actually says. And, the Supreme Court has been a problem because they’ve interpreted laws over the decades in a way that basically guts the 10th Amendment. Yeah. they basically say, and we won’t get into specifics cuz it’s a little too detailed for our young audience, but they’ve basically said that there are these tiny little portions of the Constitution, like the commerce clause or the general welfare clause. If you wanna go do some homework on those, maybe we’ll dedicate episodes to them later. they’re saying these little portions of the Constitution, they expand them to mean something radically different than what the founding fathers ever meant. But they latch onto these little words in the Constitution in a way that completely undermines the 10th Amendment here. The 10th Amendment is saying all the powers that we have, we’re only delegating some to the federal government. We’re keeping the rest ourselves to the states or to the people. And the federal government today is like yeah, right? You are, that’s cute. Yeah. Yeah. Pat, pat you on the head. Oh, that’s nice. You think that way, but we have supreme power and we’ll pass whatever law we want. And the court upholds them, the federal court, right? This is a federal Supreme Court and they say, yeah, the federal government can have all these powers. And so unfortunately the 10th Amendment was supposed to be this safeguard, this promise, and it’s been totally undermined.

Brittany: So I was thinking prohibition fitness, this, but it actually might be more of a 14th amendment issue because the federal government has made these laws about, you know, what we can put in our body. But raw milk might be a good example cuz there is no federal law against raw milk. or is there correct me if I’m wrong?

Connor: You know, I, don’t know

Brittany: Actually. Okay. So I’m not sure if that fits in, but, I do know one thing is that, is taking power away from the states, right? Because you are trying to imply that the states can’t do this. But the 10th Amendment should be empowering states to make their, you know, to set their own things. Because, you know, state and local governments are close to the people and the lying people is in the 10th Amendment. So when the federal government is passing all these laws, they don’t know what, you know, Connor and in Highland, Utah, where, you know, where I think it’s close to that, you know, somewhere like that. They don’t know what you want or what your neighbors want. So I think that’s why the 10th Amendment is so important.

Connor: another example of what the federal government should not at all be involved in constitutionally is, things like drugs, use of cannabis as an example. We had to change the law in our state to allow sick people to use, medical cannabis. Cuz it helped a lot of people. And it was a big problem because the federal government has a law saying you’re not allowed to use cannabis. We have a mutual friend, I think Weldon Angelos.

Brittany: Yes. he’s a friend of mine.

Connor: Who, broke the law, when it comes to cannabis, the federal law? And, the judge, was forced to sentence him to, I think it was like 55 years in prison. Something ridiculous. Yeah. For this tiny little crime. And,  you know, over a decade and a half or so later, he was finally, released and just got a pardon, a little while back from President Trump before he left office actually, cuz this was a crazy crime. But it was because the federal government said, oh, that cannabis plant, you’re not allowed to have that. Where in the constitution does it say anything about the federal government banning certain substances? Now the, you know, what drugs should be, legal and illegal and all that. That’s a very important conversation, to have. And our listeners are probably, I have some diverse thoughts on that. But for purposes of our discussion today, what’s important to understand is those are state-level issues. right?

Brittany: Or should be at least, right?

Connor: Precisely. If anyone’s gonna regulate them, it should be at the state level, not at the federal level. The Constitution does not have anything where the states delegated the power to dictate what people could put in their bodies. That was never to be the federal government was all the states, the colonies getting together and saying, Hey, we’re gonna kind of join forces for purposes of basically external relations like war and diplomacy and trade, right? We’re gonna have this united front as a country when it comes to outward-facing things. But when it comes to internal things with our own people, that’s where the states kind of manage their own affairs. Right? The federal government is gonna boss people around. We’re just kind of a little kind of association for when it comes to dealing with people outside of our country. Well, that vision is, is totally gone. Cuz now the federal government not only deals with the external stuff, they boss people around like crazy mm-hmm. On the internal stuff and take the power away from the states, which I think totally undermines the vision and the promise of the 10th Amendment.

Brittany: And I wanna, there’s one more thing, and I can’t believe this didn’t come to mind sooner and credit where credit is due. I actually think Trump was pretty good about this during COVID. It is not the president’s job to tell us what, you know, we can do as far as the response to you have to wear masks, you have to do this. And, the governors were the ones who were supposed to take that power because of the 10th Amendment and some did better than others. South Dakota governor, what is her name again? It’s not Gretchen Whitmer. She was the terrible one.

Connor: Yeah. You caught me off, guard.

Brittany: I can’t remember. But she was great. She didn’t shut down the economy, right? She allowed people to choose for themselves. Now then you had states like California and New York where, where people were abusing their emergency powers, even in Kentucky, which they just overruled that the governor, the Congress did that the governor couldn’t do, or legislature, state legislature that the governor couldn’t abuse his, you know, emergency power. So one thing to keep in mind is that the states were the ones that had the right to do that. That it shouldn’t have been the president shutting down every state and under Trump, it wasn’t. And I’m not really sure what’s gonna happen under Biden. So we’ll see.

Connor: Oh yeah. Cuz Biden, on the campaign trail, was promising national mask mandate and, you know, vaccination and everything else. And right towards the end of the campaign, he thankfully was already having to walk it back and say, oh, we’re gonna work with the governors and the mayors and try and get this done. Like, recognizing that there are at least sort of some limits, still, at least where, you know, the states kind of assert themselves and say, you know, you don’t have the power to be boss us around like that. It’s, Governor Noem in South Dakota now.

Brittany: Yes, yes. I love her.

Connor: And so there are some governors who are kind of standing their ground and saying, you know, we’re not gonna do that in our state. We’re gonna, take a different path. And what I love the most about the 10th Amendment here as we conclude, are those final four words. Right? these powers are reserved to the states respectively or to the people. Yes. It doesn’t mean that the states should be bossing us around and everything. It doesn’t mean that the states inherently have, you know, total power over our lives, and should be able to control us in whatever they want. Ultimately, it’s the people. When we talk about local control being a good thing, the most local control you can have is the family unit. people together, governing their own lives, individuals having power over their own lives. And, that to me is the ultimate vision of the 10th Amendment. That power resides at the smallest level possible with the individual. And then it’s kind of delegated up the chain where it makes sense. We’ve totally veered away from that. There’s so much work here to do. we’ll link on our show notes page today to the 10th Amendment Center. if you’d like to look at that, maybe the Wikipedia page for the 10th Amendment. You can read some of the sad history about how it, is less than relevant today. But that just means there’s opportunities and there’s work to be done to try and push back. So again, keep reading your Tuttle Twins books, let’s learn about these ideas and we can fight back for freedom and ultimately win a great topic. As always, Brittany. And until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.

 

Interested in more content?

Check out our latest email…

The Federal Government is Dumbing Us Down

I was thinking earlier about how easy it is to think that things have simply always been the way they are now. For example, my kids have never known travel without long security lines, having to take off their shoes and jackets, and witnessing their parents occasionally groped by power-tripping TSA goons. They can’t imagine the days that represented most of my life where you would walk your loved one all the way to their gate, watch them board, and wave as their plane pushed back from the jetway and taxied off. Or how about the generation of kids growing up thinking that masks are a normal part of life, or that grocery store workers have always been encapsulated in plexiglass? Or that someone can be fired for choosing not to undergo a particular medical procedure? The way things are tend to make us forget that all of these practices

Read More »

From the trusted team behind the Tuttle Twins books, join us as we tackle current events, hot topics, and fun ideas to help your family find clarity in a world full of confusion.

Want More?

The Tuttle Twins children’s book series is read by hundreds of thousands of families across the country, and nearly a million books (in a dozen languages!) are teaching children like yours about the ideas of a free society.

Textbooks don’t teach this; schools don’t mention it.

It’s up to you—and our books can help. Check out the Tuttle Twins books to see if they’re a fit for your family!