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Alejandra Lopez
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  • Several Supreme Court rulings also promoted new federalism by hemming in the scope of the national government’s power, especially under the commerce clause. For example, in United States v. Lopez, the court struck down the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990, which banned gun possession in school zones.
  • Decentralized federalism fosters a marketplace of innovative policy ideas as states compete against each other to minimize administrative costs and maximize policy output.
  • The 1970s ushered in an era of new federalism and attempts to decentralize policy management.
  • During the era of cooperative federalism, the federal government became active in policy areas previously handled by the states.
  • In the era of dual federalism, both levels of government stayed within their own jurisdictional spheres.
  • Federalism in the United States has gone through several phases of evolution during which the relationship between the federal and state governments has varied.
  • Because there are economic, demographic, social, and geographical differences among states, one-size-fits-all features of federal laws are suboptimal.
  • New federalism has advantages as well:
  • is resolved by requiring state and local authorities to meet minimum federal standards
  • The problem of collective action,
  • that generate positive externalities are maintained.
  • Federal assistance is necessary to ensure state and local programs
  • Because state and local governments have varying fiscal capacities, the national government’s involvement in state activities such as education, health, and social welfare is necessary to ensure some degree of uniformity in the provision of public services to citizens in richer and poorer states.
  • Cooperative federalism has several merits:
  • New   federalism is premised on the idea that the decentralization of policies enhances administrative efficiency, reduces overall public spending, and improves policy outcomes.
  • One consequence of administrative flexibility, however, is that it has led to cross-state differences in the levels of benefits and coverage.
  • The second lasting attribute is the flexibility that states and local authorities were given in the implementation of federal social welfare programs.
  • The nationalization process expanded the size of the federal administrative apparatus and increased the flow of federal grants to state and local authorities, which have helped offset the financial costs of maintaining a host of New Deal- and Great Society–era programs.
  • First, a nationalization of politics emerged as a result of federal legislative activism aimed at addressing national problems such as marketplace inefficiencies, social and political inequality, and poverty.
  • the era of cooperative federalism left two lasting attributes on federalism in the United States.
  • In contrast to dual federalism, it erodes the jurisdictional boundaries between the states and national government, leading to a blending of layers as in a marble cake.
  • Under this model, both levels of government coordinated their actions to solve national problems, such as the Great Depression and the civil rights struggle of the following decades.
  • Cooperative federalism was born of necessity and lasted well into the twentieth century as the national and state governments each found it beneficial.
  • Second, the prevailing economic philosophy at the time loathed government interference in the process of industrial development.
  • First, several Supreme Court rulings blocked attempts by both state and federal governments to step outside their jurisdictional boundaries.
  • wo factors contributed to the emergence of this conception of federalism.
  • Like the layers of a cake, the levels of government do not blend with one another but rather are clearly defined.
  • Under dual federalism, the states and national government exercise exclusive authority in distinctly delineated spheres of jurisdiction.
  • The late 1870s ushered in a new phase in the evolution of U.S. federalism.
  • Second, the prevailing economic philosophy at the time loathed government interference in the process of industrial development.
  • First, several Supreme Court rulings blocked attempts by both state and federal governments to step outside their jurisdictional boundaries.
  • wo factors contributed to the emergence of this conception of federalism.
  • the levels of government do not blend with one another but rather are clearly defined.
  • Under dual federalism, the states and national government exercise exclusive authority in distinctly delineated spheres of jurisdiction.
  • The late 1870s ushered in a new phase in the evolution of U.S. federalism.
  • This second ruling established the principle of national supremacy, which prohibits states from meddling in the lawful activities of the national government.
  • As the court observed, “the government of the Union, though limited in its powers, is supreme within its sphere of action and its laws, when made in pursuance of the constitution, form the supreme law of the land.” Maryland’s action violated national supremacy because “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”
  • Under the supremacy clause of Article VI, legitimate national laws trump conflicting state laws.
  • This ruling established the doctrine of implied powers, granting Congress a vast source of discretionary power to achieve its constitutional responsibilities.
  • A political showdown between Maryland and the national government emerged when James McCulloch, an agent for the Baltimore branch of the Second Bank, refused to pay a tax that Maryland had imposed on all out-of-state chartered banks.
  • Many states rejected the Second Bank, arguing that the national government was infringing upon the states’ constitutional jurisdiction.
  • In McCulloch v. Maryland, Chief Justice John Marshall argued that Congress could create a national bank even though the Constitution did not expressly authorize it.
  • As George Washington’s secretary of the treasury from 1789 to 1795, Alexander Hamilton championed legislative efforts to create a publicly chartered bank. For Hamilton, the establishment of the Bank of the  United States was fully within Congress’s authority, and he hoped the bank would foster economic development, print and circulate paper   money, and provide loans to the government.
  • Thomas Jefferson, Washington’s secretary of state, staunchly opposed Hamilton’s plan on the constitutional grounds that the national government had no authority to create such an instrument, Hamilton managed to convince the reluctant president to sign the legislation.
  • In other words, the bank was an appropriate instrument that enabled the national government to carry out several of its enumerated powers, such as regulating interstate commerce, collecting taxes, and borrowing money
  • Under the necessary and proper clause of Article I, Section 8, the Supreme Court asserted that Congress could establish “all means which are appropriate” to fulfill “the legitimate ends” of the Constitution.
  • The U.S. Constitution allocates powers to the states and federal government, structures the relationship between these two levels of government, and guides state-to-state relationships.
  • ed to changes in the configuration of federalism over time,
  • This
  • some room to maneuver as they operate within the Constitution’s federal design.
  • officials at the state and national levels have
  • it does not flesh out standard operating procedures that say precisely how the states and federal governments are to handle all policy contingencies imaginable.
  • The Constitution sketches a federal framework that aims to balance the forces of decentralized and centralized governance in general terms;
  • changes corresponding to different historical phases that capture distinct balances between state and federal authority.
  • confederations, which concentrate authority in subnational governments.
  • unitary systems, which concentrate authority in the national government,
  • Federalism is a system of government that creates two relatively autonomous levels of government, each possessing authority granted to them by the national constitution.
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  • Article I, Sections 9 and 10, along with several constitutional amendments, lay out the restrictions on federal and state authority. The most important restriction Section 9 places on the national government prevents   measures that cause the deprivation of personal liberty. Specifically, the government cannot suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which enables someone in custody to petition a judge to determine whether that person’s detention is legal; pass a bill of attainder, a legislative action declaring someone guilty without a trial; or enact an ex post facto law, which criminalizes an act retroactively
  • These concurrent powers range from taxing, borrowing, and making and enforcing laws to establishing court systems.
  • hared and overlapping powers have become an integral part of contemporary U.S. federalism.
  • Some of the states’ reserved powers are no longer exclusively within state domain
  • The Tenth Amendment affirms the states’ reserved powers: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” I
  • The consensus among the framers was that states would retain any powers not prohibited by the Constitution or delegated to the national government.
  • when it came time to ratify the Constitution, a number of states requested that an amendment be added explicitly identifying the reserved powers of the states.
  • The powers of the state governments were never listed in the original Constitution.
  • the open-ended construction of this clause has enabled the national government to expand its authority beyond what is specified in the Constitution, a development also motivated by the expansive interpretation of the commerce clause, which empowers the federal government to regulate interstate economic transactions.
  • The last clause of Article I, Section 8, commonly referred to as the elastic clause or the necessary and proper cause, enables Congress “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying” out its constitutional responsibilities
  • To provide for the general welfare of the populace, it can tax, borrow money, regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and protect property rights,
  • These powers define the jurisdictional boundaries within which the federal government has authority.
  • The enumerated powers of the national legislature are found in Article I, Section 8.
  • The Constitution contains several provisions that direct the functioning of U.S. federalism.
  • re common to the United States
  • Since then, power has been gradually decentralized through a process of devolution
  • the United Kingdom’s unitary system was centralized
  • Before the late 1990s,
  • as well as the delegation of specific responsibilities to them.
  • leading to the creation of regional governments
  • n contrast to federalism, a unitary system makes subnational governments dependent on the national government, where significant authority is concentrated.
  • Division of power can also occur via a unitary structure or confederation.
  • Finally, subnational governments are always represented in the upper house of the national legislature, enabling regional interests to influence national lawmaking.
  • conflicts between states and the federal government are adjudicated by federal courts, with the U.S. Supreme Court being the final arbiter.
  • Another common characteristic of federalism around the world is that national courts commonly resolve disputes between levels and departments of government.
  • possess judicial authority.
  • In each of the fifty states, a governor assumes executive authority, a state legislature makes laws, and state-level courts
  • Third, the constitutions of countries with federal systems formally allocate legislative, judicial, and executive authority to the two levels of government in such a way as to ensure each level some degree of autonomy from the other.
  • ave failed because they cannot garner sufficient consent among members of Congress or, in the case of the ERA, the states.
  • The potential drawback is that numerous national amendment initiatives
  • The main advantage of this supermajority requirement is that no changes to the Constitution can occur unless there is broad support within Congress and among states.
  • The second characteristic common to all federal systems is a written national constitution that cannot be changed without the substantial consent of subnational governments.
  • By definition, a system like this requires that different levels of government cooperate, because the institutions at each level form an interacting network. 
  • national government is responsible for handling matters that affect the country as a whole,
  • state governments, are responsible for matters that lie within their regions
  • First, all federal systems establish two levels of government, with both levels being elected by the people and each level assigned different functions.
  • five structural characteristics
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  • herefore, the pattern of diffusion on which the original theory rests may no longer be accurate, because people are moving around in more, and often unpredictable, directions.
  • In addition, advances in technology and transportation have made it easier for citizens to travel across state lines and to relocate.
  • Today’s immigrants are less likely to come from European countries and are more likely to originate in Latin American and Asian countries.
  • The original theory rested on the assumption that new cultures could arise with the influx of settlers from different parts of the world; however, since immigration patterns have changed over time, it could be argued that the three cultures no longer match the country’s current reality.
  • Elazar’s Theory claims that Texas is a mixture of traditional and individualistic political cultures. As a result, the voter turnout in Texas is lower than most other American states, with the argument that Texans view political participation as an economic perk versus the value of contributing to society.
  • Finally, under a traditionalistic political culture, Elazar argues that party competition will tend to occur between factions within a dominant party.
  • s a result, voter participation will generally be lower in a traditionalistic culture, and there will be more barriers to participation
  • Conservatives argue that these laws reduce or eliminate fraud on the part of voters, while liberals believe they disproportionally disenfranchise the poor and minorities and constitute a modern-day poll tax.
  • While moralistic cultures expect and encourage political participation by all citizens, traditionalistic cultures are more likely to see it as a privilege reserved for only those who meet the qualifications.
  • When elected officials do not prioritize public policies that benefit them, those on the social and economic fringes of society can be plagued by poverty and pervasive health problems.
  • But instead of profiting from corporate ventures, settlers in traditionalistic states tied their economic fortunes to the necessity of slavery on plantations throughout the South.
  • . Like the individualistic culture, the traditionalistic culture believes in the importance of the individual.
  • Only elites belong in the political enterprise, and as a result, new public policies will be advanced only if they reinforce the beliefs and interests of those in power.
  • a traditionalistic political culture, in Elazar’s argument, sees the government as necessary to maintaining the existing social order, the status quo.
  • , Elazar argues that in individualistic states, electoral competition does not seek to identify the candidate with the best ideas. Instead it pits against each other political parties that are well organized and compete directly for votes.
  • voters do not pay much attention to the personalities of the candidates when deciding how to vote and are less tolerant of third-party candidates.
  • They will tend to remain involved if they get enjoyment from their participation or rewards in the form of patronage appointments or financial compensation.
  • As a result of these personal motivations, citizens in individualistic states will tend to be more tolerant of corruption among their political leaders and less likely to see politics as a noble profession in which all citizens should engage.
  • Elazar argues that individuals are motivated to become engaged in politics only if they have a personal interest in this area or wish to be in charge of the provision of government benefits.
  • Given their focus on pursuing individual objectives, states with an individualistic mindset will tend to advance tax breaks as a way of trying to boost a state’s economy or as a mechanism for promoting individual initiative and entrepreneurship.
  • According to Elazar, the individualist political culture originated with settlers from non-Puritan England and Germany.
  • The focus is on meeting individual needs and private goals rather than on serving the best interests of everyone in the community.
  • They expect the government to provide goods and services they see as essential, and the public officials and bureaucrats who provide them expect to be compensated for their efforts.
  • States that align with Elazar’s individualistic political culture see the government as a mechanism for addressing issues that matter to individual citizens and for pursuing individual goals.
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