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Snippet from Wikipedia: Federalism

Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. Federalism can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.

Federalism differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level. It represents the central form in the pathway of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state.

Leading examples of the federation or federal state include the United States, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Argentina, Nigeria, and Australia. Some also today characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states.

Federalism is the system of co-sovereigns nearly unique to the United States,<ref>Switzerland may be the only other nation that approaches the federalism of the United States.</ref> such that a national or federal government shares power along with state governments over the same territory and citizenry. More specifically, federalism involves dual sovereignty, or the allocation of power between the federal government and the states under the U.S. Constitution, with overlapping authority.

The states “surrendered many of their powers to the new Federal Government,” but retained “'a residuary and inviolable sovereignty.'” Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898, 918-19 (quoting The Federalist, No. 39, at 245, James Madison). This dual sovereignty is “reflected throughout the Constitution's text.” Id. at 919. The continued existence of state sovereignty is “implicit . . . in the Constitution's conferral upon Congress of not all governmental powers, but only discrete, enumerated ones.” Id.

When the national government was young, federalism stood for a stronger federal government. After the federal government became very strong, however, federalism has stood for keeping the federal government out of matters traditionally within the domain of state government, such as education, family law, medical care, and local law enforcement.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist was a proponent of (modern) federalism and curbing the overreaching of the federal government. His leading decision was a 5-4 ruling in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995), which invalidated on federalism grounds a federal law prohibiting the carrying of firearms within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a public, parochial or private school. The leading Supreme Court decisions in favor of federalism, nearly all written by Justice or Chief Justice William Rehnquist, are:

Justice Kennedy, who as of 1997 was the pivotal fifth or “swing” vote on the U.S. Supreme Court, has also embraced federalism. “[F]ederalism was the unique contribution of the Framers to political science and political theory. Though on the surface the idea may seem counter-intuitive, it was the insight of the Framers that freedom was enhanced by the creation of two governments, not one.”<ref> United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549, 576 (1995) (Kennedy, J., concurring) (citing Friendly, “Federalism: A Foreword,” 86 Yale L. J. 1019 (1977) and G. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, pp. 524-532, 564 (1969).)</ref>

Since that ruling, there have been many decisions by the Supreme Court and lower courts limiting federal power to interfere with state sovereignty in fields of traditional state control. For example, The Fifth Circuit held that “[w]here Congress aims to change the usual constitutional balance between the states and the federal government, it must make unmistakably clear its intention to do so in the statute’s language.” Premiere Network Servs. v. SBC Comm., 440 F.3d 683, 690 n.8 (5th Cir. 2006) (citing Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 65 (1989) and Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006), emphasis added).


federalism.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/12 18:33 (external edit)