I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rights and Powers of states

"States Rights" has a very bad public relations problem. It is hard to make an argument based on it because it was used to defend secession and then the American Apartheid. Noone that I know wants to defend either one of them. The fact that it has been ill used does not reduce its validity, but it does reduce its viability.

But there is a curious thing about states rights. Their source is the 10th amendment which 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.

The thing that strikes me about this is that the word rights does not appear here. So maybe you want to make your arguments along that line based on the "state powers" that are in the 10th amendment.


  1. Very interesting. A quick search of the Constitution shows that the word “rights” appears only in the 9th amendment. However, a little more research shows that it is liberally used in the letter of transmittal (of the Constitution) to the President of the Congress.

    Did the framers of the Constitution use the words rights and powers interchangeably? Is a power a right? I suspect that has been argued by constitutional scholars.

    P.S. While I am admitting my ignorance I confess that I did not know until this morning that there were originally 12 articles submitted in what we refer to as the “Bill of Rights”.

  2. I was not aware of that either. (Apparently I was not secure enough to write I and ignorance in the same sentence.)
    Do you know what the other two were? Was one about the salaries thing?

  3. You can find the original 12 at this URL http://www.freebowen.bravepages.com/12billofrights.html