As a reminder, here is the text of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution:
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.We're likely to see this challenged, sooner than later. First, let's look at state moves in re Obamacare:
Alabama, Montana, and Wyoming voted to reject Obamacare's insurance mandate, following the lead of what voters in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma did in 2010. A similar measure this year in Florida failed. Missouri voters took their Obamacare protest one step further this year, approving a measure to prohibit the governor from setting up insurance exchanges unless voters or the state legislature approves. But none of the measures are anything but symbolic; states can't override the insurance mandate, and if Missouri fails to set up the exchanges the federal government will just do it instead.Emphasis mine. I pulled this from Mother Jones, so you can take the emphasized portion as opinion. How specifically will the federal government enforce the individual mandate if states refuse to set up the health care exchanges that are part of the law? It will be interesting to see if (a) the Obama administration tries to roll over the states and (b) whether the Supreme Court will let it do so.
An equally interesting question comes from what happened in Colorado and Washington state on Tuesday:
Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana outright last night, followed an hour later by Washington. The question now is how far the federal government will go to crack down on the historic new laws. Another legalization measure in Oregon failed, in large part due to concerns that the law would have been overly broad. Meanwhile, voters legalized medical marijuana in Massachusetts but rejected it in Arkansas, and in Montana approved a measure that tightens restrictions on the state's existing medical marijuana laws.There are a lot of people who are social libertarians and liberalish on other issues who really, really want marijuana to be legalized, and many of them (a) have expended considerable effort to pass these ballot initiatives and (b) have been dutiful supporters of the president. In his youth, Barack Obama was a prodigious pot smoker, but he's been just like all his predecessors when it comes to using the power of the federal government against people who use marijuana. In some respects, he's been worse than his predecessors, as Rolling Stone reported earlier this year:
Back when he was running for president in 2008, Barack Obama insisted that medical marijuana was an issue best left to state and local governments. "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," he vowed, promising an end to the Bush administration's high-profile raids on providers of medical pot, which is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia.Medical marijuana is one thing, but what Colorado and Washington have chosen goes well beyond that. They have essentially legalized marijuana, in clear contravention of federal law. It's worth remembering that both Colorado and Washington are states that have gone for Obama twice. Will Obama tread lightly now that these friendly states have taken this action? Or will his administration continue to crack down?
But over the past year, the Obama administration has quietly unleashed a multiagency crackdown on medical cannabis that goes far beyond anything undertaken by George W. Bush. The feds are busting growers who operate in full compliance with state laws, vowing to seize the property of anyone who dares to even rent to legal pot dispensaries, and threatening to imprison state employees responsible for regulating medical marijuana. With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts. "There's no question that Obama's the worst president on medical marijuana," says Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "He's gone from first to worst."