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What effect does the Bill of Rights have on the current U.S. Government?

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user1899722 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted March 16, 2013 at 3:00 AM via web

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What effect does the Bill of Rights have on the current U.S. Government?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 16, 2013 at 3:45 AM (Answer #1)

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The Bill of Rights continues to play a major role in US government, though in the last fifty years, most of the high-profile Supreme Court cases involving debates over any of the first ten amendments have arisen from state and local government. This is because of the so-called "incorporation doctrine" that stipulates that the Bill of Rights protections against federal government abuses also apply to the states. Still, such issues as warrantless wiretapping, federal gun laws, campaign finance reform, the use of drones and other kinds of military force against American citizens directly involve the Bill of Rights, and are at the forefront of political debate today.

In short, the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights are still contested today, at the federal as well as the state level. Moreover, the often-forgotten Tenth Amendment, which reserves powers to the states that are not specifically delegated to the federal government, remains at the center of debates about the proper extent of federal power. 

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