The 10th and 14th Amendments in relation to federal and state powers
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The 10th and 14th Amendments in relation to federal and state powers

– [Instructor] What we’re
going to do in this video is talk a little bit
more about federal powers versus state powers. And as we’ve mentioned in other videos, this is a very relevant
topic because, even today, you’ll have Supreme Court
decisions being decided based on citing different
parts of the Constitution or various Amendments that seem to give one power or another
more to the federal government or to the state government. Another important appreciation
is the balance of power or the shifts of power
between federal and state. It has historically changed over time, so it isn’t this fixed thing. So in a previous video, we talked about the enumerated powers that the Constitution gives
the federal government. In particular, we have talked
about the Commerce Clause that allows the federal government “To regulate Commerce
among the several States,” which has turned out to be a
much farther reaching power than maybe the drafters of
the Constitution intended. And then, the thing
that really gives power to even the enumerated powers is the Necessary and Proper Clause, “To make all Laws which
shall be necessary and proper “for carrying into Execution
the foregoing Powers.” And so this is what we talk about, this Necessary and Proper Clause creates a lot of implied powers. So you could imagine, this isn’t, the Necessary and Proper
Clause is not something that made the Anti-Federalists very happy. They were worried about power grabs by the federal government. And so shortly after you
have the ratification of the Constitution, you have the ratification
of the Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 Amendments. And the Ninth and Tenth
Amendment, in particular, are Anti-Federalists’ attempt to limit the federal government’s power. So the Ninth Amendment says, “The enumeration in the
Constitution, of certain rights, “shall not be construed to deny “or disparage others
retained by the people.” And even more important,
the Tenth Amendment, and this is really speaking to
federal versus state powers, “The powers not delegated
to the United States “by the Constitution,” so not delegated to
the federal government, “nor prohibited by it,”
the federal government, “to the States, are reserved
to the States respectively, “or to the people.” And so you could view
this as reserved powers for the states. It’s an Anti-Federalist
attempt to say, hey, you know, the federal government can’t
just do whatever it wants. It’s trying to put a little bit of a check on the Necessary and Proper Clause. So if you fast-forward to the period right after the Civil War, you have the Thirteenth Amendment, which bans slavery. And then you have the
Fourteenth Amendment, which is trying to bring
slaves into society, allow them to be citizens, not just them, but their descendants. And this is in direct contradiction of the 1857 Dred Scott decision that we’ll talk about in other videos, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that slaves and their descendants are not considered American citizens, and so they don’t have a right
to petition the government. But the Fourteenth Amendment says, “All persons born or naturalized
in the United States, “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, “are citizens of the United States “and of the State wherein they reside. “No State shall make or enforce any law.” And so this is actually
putting constraints on states. And so, as we’ll see, even
though this is in the context of the post-Civil War era, because it’s putting
constraints on states, this is one of the Amendments
that’s often cited that puts more power in the hands
of the federal government. “No State shall make or enforce any law “which shall abridge the privileges “or immunities of citizens
of the United States; “nor shall any State deprive any person “of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; “nor deny to any person
within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the laws.” And so since the time that the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, this notion of equal
protection under the law, that no state can “make or
enforce laws which shall abridge “the privileges or
immunities of citizens.” And the Fourteenth Amendment
has been very relevant in a whole series of cases in modern time, a lot of cases around discrimination. If there’s a right that
is given in one state, do the other states have to adopt it? You can look around right now, there’s significant social
debates about things like same-sex marriage or things like abortion, and those cases often center around the Fourteenth Amendment.


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