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CAS PO 111 (43)


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Boston University
Political Science
CAS PO 111
Graham Wilson

Federalism Sunday, December 15, 2013 4:59 PM • Two or more states constitute a political unity of one • Why Federalism? ○ Historically unified government impossible as states had prior existence ○ Part of the system of checks and balances ○ “Closer to the people” in a very varied country • Federalism is a politically contested doctrine ○ The use of “states’ rights” to resist anti-lynching laws, civil rights etc. ○ Liberals oppose national (federal) power ○ BUT under the Bush admin. liberals passionately defended right of California to set higher than fed. standards on automobile emissions while business argued for fed. control of this policy area • Federalism in Practice ○ No neat separation between local and national; think of No Child Left Behind dealing with what was once state or even local concern ○ Many fed. agencies have a very local impact (FEMA) ○ Very often states act with fed. mandate and (somewhat less often) fed. funding ○ State dependency inclined with Kennedy, declined with Reagan and has been on a raising incline since • BUT the decisions states make still matter ○ History of the Death Penalty: John McCaffery's execution lead to the slow abolition of capital punishment → Death Penalty Repeal Act 1853 • Federalism and the courts ○ Some key constitutional issues  The preemption doctrine: any fed. law can trump a state law  The incorporation of the Bill of Rights into the 14th amendment  The interstate commerce clause • The Commerce Clause ○ Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 ○ Gives Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes” ○ Wickard vs. Filburn 1942  Filburn harvested 12 extra acres of wheat and claimed that it was for personal consumption, however Marshall declared that if the Congress can reach it and it has a substantial economic effect on i
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