The Bill of Rights: The Tenth Amendment

Amendment was designed to limit the federal government’s powers.



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The Bill of Rights has guaranteed our freedoms and rights for over 200 years. In this regular series, Dean Leonard Baynes with the University of Houston Law Center looks at how they relate to society today.

“The Tenth Amendment is the final bill in the Bill of Rights. It was designed to limit the power of the federal government to only expressly enumerated powers. All other powers belong to the people or the states. This amendment recognizes federalism, which divides power between the federal government and the states.”

“The Tenth Amendment underpins the anti-commandeering doctrine where the federal government commands the states to administer federal law. Under this doctrine, the Brady Act, requiring the states to conduct background checks on gun purchasers, was invalidated.”

“This doctrine has also been cited to shield state marijuana laws from federal enforcement as well as state immigration sanctuary cities that don't enforce federal immigration laws.”

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