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National League of Cities v. Usery (1976) is an important case in the long debate over the division of powers between the U.S. government and the governments of the individual states. Although the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Usery, favoring state powers, was overruled just a few years later, the decision is often cited as one of the first to signal the new era of states' rights that has existed since the last quarter of the 20th century. This movement toward states' rights reached a high water mark under the Rehnquist Court and in a particular decision, United States v. Lopez (1995), where the Court ruled that federal rules limiting gun possession in school zones did not relate closely enough to commerce to be justified ...

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