The 9th and 10th Amendments
The Framers intended the Constitution to be a limiting document, and the 9th and 10th Amendments describe the parameters of those limitations. The rights specified in the Constitution are NOT the only rights that citizens have (9th), and ALL the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are reserved to the States or the people (10th). From that body of rights and powers not given to the federal, the people and the states may at any future time delegate any of the powers, including the power to determine the extent any right may be exercised, to the federal. Until they do that, those rights and powers remain in the hands of the people and the states for their own management. If the people wish to delegate that management to the states, they may. If to the federal, they may (through the amendment process and their state legislatures). If they wish to keep it to themselves and not to be controlled by either state or federal (such as between a woman and her doctor in the case of abortion), they may. That is the way the assignment of power to the federal government is supposed to work. The 9th and 10th Amendments do not fix the division between specific rights and powers forever; they merely establish the dividing line at any given time, and that dividing line may be readjusted throughout the life of the republic.
Jefferson believed that the 10th Amendment described the essence of federal power:
"I consider the foundation of the [Federal] Constitution as laid on this ground: That "all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." [10th Amendment] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition." --Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on National Bank, 1791. ME 3:146
Once those boundaries are violated, who is to say what are the limits of federal power? The ultimate governor of federal and state power is the people themselves, or else it has no limits.
The Jeffersonian Perspective:
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