The Tenth Amendment and the 2020 Election

“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.”

I was 14 years old, in 10th grade at a Brooklyn, NY high school. I was taking American History taught by the chairman of what they used to call the “Social Studies” department. We were studying the Constitution.

Mr. Cohen asked “What part of the Bill of Rights can lead to denial of civil rights?”
No one answered.
My hand shot up.
Now what?
I was a teenager just beginning to understand the dynamics of social pressure, gossip and shaming.
What was I going to say? I didn’t have an answer to his question but something impelled me to speak.
“The Tenth Amendment”, I answered.
He looked up. He was a scholarly man, probably reaching the age of retirement.
“How?” he asked.
The words tumbled out.
“By reserving all powers not specifically delegated to the federal government, to the states, the states can pass and enforce laws that are discriminatory.”
I was sure the other students were going to burst out laughing.
Mr. Cohen lit up like a candle.
“She’s right!”
Right then and there, I learned a valuable lesson. One should think for themselves and trust their instinct, their inner voice, hopefully ones based on knowledge, experience and values.
Being the first generation daughter of Holocaust survivors helped.
About the Author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and online sites, domestically and abroad, including JUDISCHE RUNDSCHAU, THE BANGALORE REVIEW, THE FORWARD, THE HUFFINGTON POST and THE JEWISH PRESS. Her books,, FISHING IN THE INTERCOASTAL AND OTHER SHORT STORIES, THE CHINESE JEW and THE TRUST are available on Amazon and Kindle.
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