Barack Obama on The Tenth Amendment

Last Updated : Jul 29, 2012


President Obama has addressed the tenth amendment indirectly on a number of issues. This includes illegal drugs, marriage, health care, education, and immigration. In each of these cases, President Obama came down on the side of expanding federal government power over the power of the state in areas where that power is not specifically given to the federal government.

Illegal Drugs

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, President Obama stated that he did not consider a proper use of Justice Department resources to pursue people using or producing medical marijuana in compliance with state law. However, once in office President Obama assered federal power and increased the number of raids on medical marijuana growers in medical marijuana states over the previous administration. When questioned, he stated that while the policy was not to go after users or their caregivers, the intention was never to allow large scale growers to exist.


President Obama's views on marrige evolved over his political career. While in the Senate and campaigning for office, he did not support gay marriage, but opposed DOMA. DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, allows each state to define marriage itself and not be required to acknowledge marriage in another state. Not long after assuming office, the administration supported the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation to force a marriage in one state to be recognized by another. Since supporting gay marriage, President Obama has listed marriage as a civil right.

Health Care

Regardless of anyone's opinion on the legislation known as "Obamacare," the affect of the package on the tenth amendment is clear. Health care is not a power granted to the federal government in the Constitution. President Obama's support for a federal mandate coupled with a federal control of the exchanges created through the program represent a significant growth of federal power.


The regulation of immigration is a power granted to the federal government and not the states. President Obama has shown strong support for retaining this power. His administration has brought lawsuits against numerous states who have acted to address immigration on their own.


Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

This representative has not been identified as sponsoring or cosponsoring significant legislation related to this title.

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