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U.S. News
10: Rights of the states

Wednesday, November 27, 2002


After assuring personal rights that weren't specifically mentioned in the articles of the Constitution, the states insisted that any rights not specifically granted to the federal government remained with the states. James Madison, explaining the founders' theories in The Federalist on Jan. 26, 1788, put things this way: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite."

A good example of powers remaining with the states can be found hiding behind billboards and trees along any highway. Ever been pulled over by the FBI for a moving violation? There's a reason why you haven't: Enforcing traffic laws is, generally, a power residing in the states. Jessica Adler found that out this past summer when she was stopped at a DUI checkpoint run by a municipal task force in Pine Township. "It was my fault," Adler later explained. She faces formal arraignment in January.

Amendment X: 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

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