How Trump’s Promise To Reopen States For Business Defies The 10th Amendment

Photo: Al Drago/Pool/Getty Images.
As COVID-19-related disruption continues to wreak havoc on the American economy, President Donald Trump falsely claimed in a Monday tweet that he can use his federal powers to supplant governors’ authority when it comes to reopening states for business.
“Some in the Fake News Media are saying that it is the Governors decision to open up the states, not that of the President of the United States & the Federal Government,” Trump tweeted on Monday. “Let it be fully understood that this is incorrect.”
In response to the rapid spread of coronavirus, states have taken broad steps to mitigate transmission, including implementing CDC-encouraged restrictions on social distancing that have had devastating implications for workers and businesses. The food service, tourism and entertainment industries have been hit particularly hard, and an estimated 6.6 million Americans had filed for unemployment as of April 10.
Despite measures taken by the federal government to slow the spread of the virus, state legislators are the ones putting mandates into order, state by state, depending on each area's outbreak. Although Trump touted his ability to reopen certain locations as he sees fit, Twitter was quick to notice that he is forgetting one small law that makes this impossible: The 10th Amendment.
According to the 10th Amendment, “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.” Essentially, the president’s powers fall short of being able to compel Americans to return to shuttered office buildings, if local state leaders want them to stay closed.
“It is the decision of the President, and for many good reasons,” Trump continued. “With that being said, the Administration and I are working closely with the Governors, and this will continue. A decision by me, in conjunction with the Governors and input from others, will be made shortly!”
But legal experts say that's not how it works. “This is Federalism 101,” Robert Chesney, a professor of national security law at the University of Texas, told Reuters. “The president can advocate to his heart’s content, but he can’t actually commandeer the state governments to make them change their policies. He has no such inherent authority, nor is there any federal statute that purports to give him such authority.”
Even Trump’s conservative cohorts have contradicted his claims that he alone holds the authority to reopen states for business. In response to a tweet that seemingly criticized Trump for effectively hobbling the economy by instituting federal “stay-at-home” guidelines, far-right talk show host Bill Mitchell cited the 10th amendment in his argument that the president couldn’t possibly be at fault. 
“Well friend, I suggest you read the Constitution,” Mitchell wrote. “The 10th Amendment clearly limits Federal Authority when it comes to State Police Powers, quarantines, etc. President Trump can "inspire" Governors to act, but he has ZERO power to back that up.”
Others also spoke out on Twitter to correct Trump's false claims, calling them baseless and actually defiant of our country's Constitution.
Trump has not yet responded to criticism of his Twitter rampage as of Monday, though it seems that even his supporters have come out in strides to refute his statements.
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