The 10th Amendment Is on the Ballot in November

The 10th Amendment Is on the Ballot in November
Voters wait to cast their midterm election ballots at Burton Barr Library, a polling station in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 6, 2018. (Nicole Neri/Reuters)
Stu Cvrk

Federal encroachment on states’ rights is ultimately a 10th Amendment issue that Americans must address head-on.

What’s in a poll? That depends on one’s political perspective, especially during campaign season. Take, for example, the new NBC poll that shows, NBC News claims, that “Democrats have pulled even with Republicans” in advance of the midterm elections in November.

NBC further claims that the Democrats’ improvement in the polls was due to the “six in 10 voters who disapprove of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade,” President Joe Biden’s approval rising to the highest point since last October, and former President Donald Trump’s “favorability rating dropping to its lowest point in more than a year.”

NBC’s narrative/spin is that voters care more about abortion than inflation and bread-and-butter economic issues, Biden’s poll numbers are improving in the face of 8.3 percent inflation and his serial gaffes and other bungling, and Trump’s numbers are going down, despite his political endorsements sweeping the Republican primaries. Got it!

But digging into NBC’s poll tells a different story, as 68 percent of those polled believe that the United States is “headed on the wrong track” while just 27 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction. This is the list of the top reasons polled on why the country is on the wrong track (those that polled greater than 7 percent): economy/inflation, divided nation/political division, border control/illegal immigration, gas prices, crime/violence/killings, government overreach/corruption, and cost of living/food prices.

A customer shops for meat at a Safeway store in San Francisco, Calif., on Oct. 4, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A customer shops for meat at a Safeway store in San Francisco, Calif., on Oct. 4, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The policies of the Biden administration are responsible for everything on that list! And coming in at 5 percent were the following: women’s reproductive rights debate, Democrats, health care concerns, Trump, climate change policy, and energy independence.

Are we supposed to believe the Democrats have pulled even with the Republicans because of the Dobbs decision and Trump’s supposedly decreasing popularity when voters know full well who has been running the nation into the ground over the past 20 months? Please.

While many pundits are focused on economic issues as the big motivators for voters this year, woven through voter feedback in this NBC poll are their concerns about the overreach of the federal government and its weaponization in support of Democratic policy goals.

Let’s explore the topic because the 10th Amendment is on the ballot in November, whether voters know it or not.


Enumerated powers are the specific powers granted to Congress by the U.S. Constitution. These powers, as delineated in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, include those associated with declaring war, maintaining armed forces, regulating commerce, coining money, protecting intellectual property (patent and copyright laws), defining immigration and naturalization laws, developing uniform bankruptcy laws, and establishing a post office. As a sort of catchall, the Founding Fathers also included a statement at the end of Section 8—called the “elastic clause”—which authorized Congress to pass laws that were “necessary and proper” to carry out the enumerated powers listed in that section.
As a further check on the federal government—which powers were to be restricted to those specifically listed in Article 1, Section 8, the Founding Fathers passed the 10th Amendment to make it clear that all powers not delineated in the Constitution reside with the people and the states: “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.”
Defining what is “necessary and proper” in the context of Congress’s enumerated powers created tension between the elastic clause and the 10th Amendment throughout American history. “Federalists,” including James Madison, wanted a strong federal government and argued that the elastic clause allowed Congress to write federal laws governing all aspects of American life. The contrarian view was presented by “states’ rights advocates” such as Thomas Jefferson, who argued for limiting the power and authority of the federal government in favor of strong state governments.

That political conflict came to a head during the Civil War, which was ultimately a conflict fought to curb the states’ rights claims of the South to preserve the powers of the federal government.

With the primacy of the federal government firmly established after the Civil War, the budding progressive movement eventually supplanted the federalists. It began to chip away at the 10th Amendment by urging the centralization of functions that had been heretofore delegated to the states. The progressives were interested in using the powers of the central government in Washington to improve the conditions of Americans (as they defined them), including social welfare, medicine, education, labor laws, regulation of monopolies, and more, by consolidating programs at the federal level.

The passage of the 16th Amendment (federal income tax) in 1913 opened the door for a massive expansion of the federal government that has continued unabated through the present day. Accompanying that expansion was a creeping corruption of state governments, which became dependent on recycled federal tax dollars to execute federally mandated programs. And there were always strings attached to those federal dollars, especially over the past couple of decades, as left-wing social policies have been forced into practice through that federal money.

A good example is abortion, about which the Constitution itself is silent. The original Roe v. Wade decision—pushed through by left-wing judicial advocates and political activists—and the subsequent federalization of abortion weren’t enumerated powers; for example, the federal government usurped states’ rights on the issue. The Dobbs decision rectified that error and returned the issue to the states where it rightfully belongs.

Abortion-rights activists (R) argue with anti-abortion activists in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on June 26, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
Abortion-rights activists (R) argue with anti-abortion activists in front of the Supreme Court in Washington on June 26, 2022. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

As a result, over the decades, there have been fewer and fewer legal challenges on the basis of the 10th Amendment because the federal government has become involved in virtually every aspect of American society. The Founding Fathers would doubtless be aghast—certainly those from the states’ rights faction!

Federal government meddling in areas outside Congress’s enumerated powers has continued to crescendo greatly during the Biden years. That overreach underlies voter concerns going into the November elections, as reflected in the NBC poll.

Examples of Federal Overreach

The Biden administration—backed by progressive Democrats in Congress—has been centralizing and expanding the functions of the federal government at a pace unmatched even by the Obama administration. The Biden push has been to accumulate power in the executive branch at the expense of Congress, which has the responsibility for lawmaking.
Here are some examples of the Biden administration’s executive overreach, some of which are directly reflected in the NBC poll.

Numerous Executive Orders

Several executive orders (EOs) are weaponizing federal agencies without the involvement of Congress. As of Sept. 25, Biden has signed 99 executive orders and 102 presidential memoranda. The actions mandated by the EOs have been as far-reaching as they are controversial: advancing racial equity (critical race theory), federal mask and vaccine mandates, cessation of oil and gas exploration, revision of immigration enforcement policies (open borders), green technology mandates, LGBT discrimination (endorsement of dysphoria), numerous COVID-19 directives (shifting sands), resettlement of immigrants (illegal aliens), multiple actions to push elements of the progressives’ Green New Deal, promoting access to abortion (in violation of the Dobbs decision), and more.

These EOs bypass Congress and the will of the people—was this intentional?

America on the wrong track: Check.

Changes to the Electoral Count Act

Democrats and several Republican in name only, or RINO, allies, including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), are pushing revisions to the 135-year-old Electoral Count Act to preclude what could/should have happened on Jan. 6, 2021—a vote by both Houses of Congress to send the 2020 electors back to the states for further deliberations and recertification.

The proposed changes would provide a federal and judicial role in certifying future presidential elections by preventing state legislators from undoing the election results in their states. The Constitution states that state legislatures are responsible for election laws and certifications. That’s the opposite of centralization!

Vice Chair U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) attends the third of eight planned public hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 “attack” on the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)
Vice Chair U.S. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) attends the third of eight planned public hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 “attack” on the Capitol in Washington on June 16, 2022. (Sarah Silbiger/Reuters)

Emergency Authorizations

Emergency authorizations grant legal authority to the president and governors to curb liberties and act without the consent of Congress in pursuit of political objectives. The COVID emergency declaration and the continuing national emergency on terror are good examples.
The COVID emergency declaration allows the federal government to mandate emergency-use-only vaccines, masks, and other measures, while the terror emergency extension allows the government to focus on domestic threats (including political adversaries). On Sept. 19, Biden extended the national emergency on terror that was first passed after the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
There’s great concern that the Biden administration has been blurring the original focus of this continuing emergency authorization on international terror to now include domestic terror threats—as defined by Democrats. Unarmed Jan. 6, 2021, protesters are regularly referred to as “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists.” The FBI has led a two-year campaign to investigate and prosecute anyone associated with the Jan. 6, 2021, events.

Selective Law Enforcement

Under Biden, the FBI and Department of Justice are hunting down Jan. 6, 2021, protesters with impunity while violent Black Lives Matter and Antifa rioters aren’t prosecuted by federal law enforcement. Also, federal immigration laws aren’t being enforced under Biden’s executive orders, resulting in the ongoing crisis on the U.S.–Mexico border.

Gestapo-Like Tactics Against Political Adversaries

As an example, the Presidential Records Act—which has no provisions for enforcement—was used to perpetrate an FBI raid on the home of a former U.S. president. Trump supporters have been accosted or raided by the FBI, while protected people such as Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton walk around free as birds.
America on the wrong track: Check.

2nd Amendment Rights

Through several executive orders and other measures, the Biden administration continues to undermine the Second Amendment, which states that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Yet Biden has said that “no amendment to the Constitution is absolute.”
America on the wrong track: Check.

Federal Meddling With Local Education

The Biden administration is now withholding lunch money from states that refuse to comply with federal transgender mandates.
America on the wrong track: Check.

Collusion With Big Tech

The Biden administration has colluded with Big Tech to censor political dissent, which is a direct violation of First Amendment rights.
America on the wrong track: Check.

Concluding Thoughts

Americans are increasingly concerned about the overreach of the federal government, which has been accelerated under the Biden administration. The recent NBC poll reflects some of those concerns. It’s long past time for a resurrection of the 10th Amendment challenges by the states and the people to curtail that overreach. Americans can go a long way toward accomplishing that by holding the Democrats accountable in November.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.
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