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.
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.
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.