The amendment particularly has been invoked by opponents of President Obama’s many moves to expand the federal government’s reach, including in health care and state law enforcement.
So when Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, invoked the 10th Amendment in the Justice Department’s decision to not challenge state lawmakers in Colorado and Washington who challenged federal statutes by passing laws legalizing possession of marijuana, a Colorado congressman wanted to know the extent of Holder’s conversion.
“The real question is, ‘Does this mean that states now have the right to pre-empt federal law under the 10th Amendment?’” wrote Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., in a letter to Holder.
The letter came after Holder confirmed publicly that the Department of Justice, which repeatedly has said that states cannot deviate from federal law, would defer to Colorado and Washington state laws regarding marijuana.
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