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Definition: political system with local
government units, besides national one that
can make final decisions regarding some
governmental activities and whose existence
is protected
Governmental Structure
• Federalism
– Political system
– Local government can make decision and be
• Unitary System
– Local government depends on the national
Hot Issues
• Hot issues disputes over federalism
• Hot issues today
– Gay marriage
– Medical (coverage, drugs, social security)
– Immigration
State Powers
• Under federalisms
– Federal government has power over
• Economic issues
• Military
• Defense
• Under federalism
– State government has power over issues that deal
• Social
• Moral
• family
Positives and Negatives
• Negative view
– Blocks progress and protects powerful local
• Positive view
– Contributes to government strength
• Political flexibility
• Fosters individual liberty
– Federalist Papers # 10
• Small political units allow all relevant interest to be
• Different political groups with different
political purposes come to power in
different places
• Federalism lowers the cost of political
organization at the local level
National Powers
Patriot Act
Social Security
State Powers
Gay marriage
Elections Health Care
Education enforcement
Federal Aid and Federal Control
• Condition of aid
– What must be done if state receives aid
• Drinking age 21
• Mandates
– Federal rule
– State and local government have little o no
• Americans with Disabilities Act
• Civil Rights Act
Grants v. Revenue Sharing
• Categorical grants
– For specific purposes
• Block grants
– General purposes with few restrictions
• Revenue sharing
– Can be spend on almost any governmental
The Constitution
• 9th Amendment
– Enumerated powers
• 10th Amendment
• All power not given to the national government
• Any power not prohibited to the states
– Reserved to the states and the people
• Article I, section 9
– Congress can make the necessary and proper laws to
carry out its enumerated powers
• Hamilton's view:
– national supremacy since Constitution
supreme law
• Jefferson's view:
– states' rights with the people as ultimate
McCulloch v. Maryland
• Could Congress charter a national bank
– Yes
• The power is not in the Constitution
• “Necessary and Proper Clause”
• Could states tax the national bank
– No
• “The power to tax is the power to destroy”
• National power supreme
Increasing National Power
• Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
– Commerce issues
• All intercourse between states
• created "dual federalism."
– Dual federalism = bath national and state governments are
supreme in their own spheres
• Today this is extinct
• Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US (1964)
– Commerce clause
• Upheld the Civil Rights Act of 1964
• This expanded the federal power
– "Nullification"
• states cannot declare acts of Congress unconstitutional
What about the State Powers?
• By the late 20th centaury
– 10th Amendment ha little relevance
• Then came Lopez
– Lopez v US (1995)