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Looking at the Relationships Between the State and Federal Government

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1 Looking at the Relationships Between the State and Federal Government
American Federalism Looking at the Relationships Between the State and Federal Government 1

2 Defining Federalism Federalism is a form of government in which a constitution distributes power between a central government and subdivisional governments – usually called states, provinces, or republics – giving to both the national government and the regional governments substantial responsibilities and powers. 2

3 Why Federalism? Federalism checks the growth of tyranny.
Americans tend to associate freedom with federalism; if one party loses power in the federal government, it is still likely to hold office in a number of states. Federalism allows unity without uniformity. National politicians and parties do not have to iron out ever difference on every issue that divides us; these issues are debated locally (state legislatures, county courthouses, etc.) Problem is that many issues that start locally become national issues (same-sex marriage). 3

4 Federalism encourages experimentation.
State governments provide laboratories for public policy experimentation; Georgia was the first state to allow 18 year olds to vote. Federalism keeps government closer to the people. Everyday thousands are serving on city councils, school boards, etc. and are more informed on local issues than those in Washington. We should be cautious about thinking that state and local government are closer to the people than national or international affairs.

5 Constitutional Structure of American Federalism: Powers of the National Government
The formal constitutional framework of our federal system may be stated relatively simply: The national government has only those powers delegated to it by the Constitution. Within the scope of its operations, the national government is supreme. The state governments have the powers not delegated to the central government, except those denied to them by the Constitution. Some powers are specifically denied to both the national and state governments; others are specifically denied to only the states; still others are denied to the national government. The Constitution delegates legislative, executive, and judicial powers to the national government; in addition to these expressed powers, Congress has assumed constitutionally implied powers, such as the power to create banks, which are inferred by the expressed powers (Necessary and Proper Clause). In the field of foreign affairs, the Constitution gives the national government inherent power. The national government has the same authority in dealing with other nations as if it were the central government in a unitary system. 5

6 Constitutional Structure of American Federalism: Powers of the National Government (Constitutional Pillars) The National Supremacy Article: One of the most important pillars is found in Article VI States may not override national policies; this restriction also applies to local units of government The War Power: The national government is responsible for protecting the nation from external aggression, whether from other nations or international terrorism. The government must be able to strengthen troops in the field, but also mobilize the industrial force. The Power to Regulate Interstate and Foreign Commerce: Congressional authority extends to all commerce that affects more than one state. The commerce clause packs a tremendous constitutional punch, giving Congress the power to regulate all business activities that cross state lines or affect more than one state or other nations. The broad authority of Congress over interstate commerce came in the land- mark ruling in Gibbons v. Ogden. 6

7 Constitutional Structure of American Federalism: Powers of the National Government (Constitutional Pillars, Cont.) The Power to Tax and Spend: Congress lacks constitutional authority to pas laws solely on the grounds that they will promote the general welfare, but it may raise taxes and spend money for its purpose. For example, Congress lacks the power to regulate education directly, yet it does have the power to appropriate money to support education. When Congress puts up the money, it determines how the money will be spent. By withholding or threatening to withhold funds, the national government can influence or control state operations and regulate individual conduct. Congress frequently requires states to do certain things – provide services to clean up their air and water. These requirements are called federal mandates. Sometimes Congress does not require the funds to carry out these mandates – “unfunded mandates.” The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may not compel states through unfunded mandates to enact particular laws or require state officials to enforce federal laws, such as requiring checks on the backgrounds of handgun purchases. 7

8 Constitutional Structure of American Federalism: Powers of the State
The Constitution reserves for the states all powers not granted to the national government, subject only to the limitations of the Constitution (reserved powers). Powers not given exclusively to the national government by provisions of the Constitution or by judicial interpretation may be exercised concurrently by the states, as long as there is no conflict with national law (concurrent powers). Power to levy taxes and regulate commerce internal to each state In general, a state my levy a tax on the same item as the national government, but a state cannot, by a tax, “unduly burden” commerce among the states, interfere with the function of the national government, complicate the operation of a national law, or abridge the terms of a treaty of the United States. 8

9 Constitutional Structure of American Federalism: Constitutional Limits and Obligations
In order to ensure that federalism works, the Constitution imposes certain restraints on both the national and the state governments: States cannot: Make treaties with foreign governments Authorize private persons to prey on the shipping and commerce of other nations Coin money, issue bills of credit, or make anything but gold and silver coin legal tender in payment of debts Tax imports or exports Tax foreign shipping Keep troops or ships in time of peace (except the National Guard) Engage in war, unless invaded or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay The national government, in turn, is required by the Constitution to refrain from exercising its powers, especially its powers to tax and to regulate interstate commerce that would prevent the states from carrying out their responsibilities. Constitution requires the national government to guarantee each state a “republican form of government.” National government is obliged to protect states against domestic insurrection. President can dispatch troops to put down insurrection if requested by state authority. 9

10 Constitutional Structure of American Federalism: Interstate Relations
Full Faith and Credit (Article IV, Section 1): Requires state courts to enforce the civil judgments of the courts of other states and accept their public records and acts as valid. Interstate Privileges and Immunities (Article IV, Section 2): States must extend to citizens of other states the privileges and immunities granted to their citizens, including the protection of laws, the right to engage in peaceful occupations, access to the courts, and freedom from discriminatory taxes. Extradition (Article IV, Section 2): When individuals charged with crimes have fled from one state to another, the state to which they have fled is to deliver them to the proper officials upon the demand of the executive authority (usually the governor) of the state from which they fled. Interstate Compacts: The Constitution requires states to settle disputes with one another without the use of force. Interstate compacts often establish interstate agencies to handle problems affecting an entire region; must be approved by Congress. Environmental protection, crime control, water rights, or higher education exchanges 10

11 The Role of the Federal Courts: Centralists vs. Decentralists
From the beginning of the Republic, there has been an ongoing debate about the “proper” distribution of powers, functions, and responsibilities between the national government and the states (slavery, segregation, sale of firearms, etc.). Decentralist Position: States’ Rights Contend the Constitution is basically a compact among sovereign states that created the central government and gave it very limited authority. Justice Clarence Thomas argued, “The ultimate source of the Constitution’s authority is the consent of the people of each individual State, not the consent of the undifferentiated people of the Nation as a whole.” Decentralists hold that the national government should not interfere with activates reserved for the states; Tenth Amendment. Centralist Position: National Action Reject the whole idea of the Constitution as an interstate compact; it is the Supreme law established by the people. Argue that the national government is a government of all the people; whereas, each state speaks only for some of the people. The supremacy of the national government restricts the states; governments representing part of the people cannot interfere with government representing all. 11

12 Regulatory Federalism: Types of Federal Grants
Categorical Grants: Used for specific purposes. There is little independence on how the money will be spent. Two types of Categorical Grants: Formula Grants – a formula is used to determine who is eligible and how much they will get. Some things to consider should be state per-capita income, number of school-age children, and number of families below the poverty line. Project Grants – grants awarded on the basis of competitive applications (spousal abuse, homelessness, AIDS, etc.) Block Grants: Have a broad purpose; recipients have considerable freedom in how to allocate the money (community service, criminal justice, etc.) Grants-in-aid are a method to redistribute income, to move gross inequality among states and its people. Sometimes the use of formulas to determine who benefits from grants becomes political in Congress (each Congressman wants to make sure his/her state receives as much as possible). 12

13 Ideology, Policymaking, & American Federalism
Citizens, interest groups and officials inside government who attempt to persuade others to accept a particular view of the proper balance between freedom, order and equality and who champion particular policy ideas are known as policy entrepreneurs. Conservatives are often associated with the layer-cake metaphor because they are frequently portrayed as believing that different states have different problems and resources and that returning control to state governments would actually promote diversity. The layer-cake approach of dual federalism aims to maintain important powers in the states and to protect those powers from an aggressive or assertive national government. Liberals, associated more with the marble-cake approach, believe the states remain unwilling or unable to protect the rights or to provide for the needs of their citizens. The marble cake of cooperative federalism sees relations between levels of government in more fluid terms and is willing to override state standards for national ones, depending upon the issues at stake. 13

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