& the Constitution
Delegated Powers Denied Powers Reserved Powers State Relations
Federalism & the Constitution
Faded image of the first few introductory lines of the Constitution.

Constitutions are complex instruments of republican government and popular sovereignty. The way that the Texas Constitution structures and empowers government in the Lone Star State is shaped by the federal structure of powers and responsibilities outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

Scholars often speak of three types of powers identified in the U.S. Constitution:

  • Powers delegated to the Congress – Article I, Section 8
  • Powers denied to the Congress and powers denied to the states – Article I, Sections 9 and 10, respectively
  • Reserved powers (reserved to the states) – the 10th Amendment

Additionally, the U.S. Constitution contains numerous other clauses that contribute to the interpretation of the relationship of the states to other states, to the national government, and to the people. Article IV is dedicated to addressing many of these issues.

Despite specifying this complex set of powers granted and denied to the national and state governments, the framers still felt the need to underline the generally subordinate position of the states relative to the national government in the "supremacy clause" in Article VI:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.