states' rights

states' rights

noun
the rights belonging to the various states, especially with reference to the strict interpretation of the constitution, by which all rights not delegated by the Constitution to the federal government belong to the states.

Origin:
1790–1800, Americanism

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Collins
World English Dictionary
states' rights
 
pl n
1.  the rights and powers generally conceded to the states, or all those powers claimed for the states under some interpretations of the Constitution
2.  a doctrine advocating the severe curtailment of Federal powers by such an interpretation of the Constitution
 
states' righter
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

states' rights definition


Rights guaranteed to the states under the principle of federalism. Under the Constitution, states have considerable autonomy to pass, enforce, and interpret their own laws and to pursue their own public policy programs. Proponents of states' rights argue that the states should be governed with a minimum of interference from the federal government.

Note: The relationship between federal and state responsibilities has often been controversial. Until the middle of the twentieth century, for example, the Supreme Court left the interpretation of many civil rights guarantees to the states, resulting in hostile and widespread discrimination against minorities.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
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