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CHAPTER 5

The Powers of the National Government

§5.1 INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

The government created by the Constitution is national in the sense that its authority may be exercised throughout the nation and as a member of the family of nations. But it is also a limited government. This means that it may exercise only those powers granted to it by the Constitution. Powers not granted to the national government are, in the words of the Tenth Amendment, “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This principle of federalism embodied in the Constitution serves a dual function. First, by allocating only certain powers to the national government, “the federal system preserves the integrity, dignity, and residual sovereignty of the States.” Bond v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2355, 2364 (2011). Second, “[b]y denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power.” Id. Thus, the states as well as individuals are the intended beneficiaries of federalism.

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