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Federalism. How the circle and the squares get along. Terms you need to know after this presentation…. Federalism Federalist #51 Delegated powers Reserved powers Concurrent powers Prohibited powers Elastic clause McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) Commerce clause Gibbons v. Ogden (1824).

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How the circle and the squares get along

terms you need to know after this presentation
Terms you need to know after this presentation…
  • Federalism
  • Federalist #51
  • Delegated powers
  • Reserved powers
  • Concurrent powers
  • Prohibited powers
  • Elastic clause
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Commerce clause
  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
  • Dual Federalism
  • Cooperative Federalism
  • Grants-in-aid
  • Categorical grant
  • Block grant
  • Mandate
  • Devolution
  • Pros and cons of federalism
disaster relief
Disaster Relief
  • Who’s job was it to clean up New Orleans and the rest of the coast after Katrina?
no child left behind
No Child Left Behind
  • Should the national gov’t step in to regulate school performance?
what is federalism
What is Federalism?
  • Federalism – Two or more governments exercise power and authority over the same people in the same territory
  • OR… the relationship between the federal government (circle) and the state governments (squares)
federalist 51
Federalist #51
  • Defends the Constitution
  • Explains why a strong gov’t is necessary
    • “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”
  • Defends separation of powers between state and national gov’t
  • Delegated Powers (enumerated powers) – powers given to Fed gov’t by Constitution
  • Reserved Powers – state power alone
  • Concurrent Powers – shared
  • Prohibited Powers – denied from both
    • Ex. Neither gov’t can tax exports
elastic clause
Elastic Clause
  • Aka – “Necessary and Proper Clause”
  • Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 18 - "The Congress shall have Power - To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."
  • Impossible to predict all powers Congress will need to function, sometimes we might have to allow Congress extra powers to fulfill their delegated powers
mcculloch v maryland 1819
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)


  • Bank of the US operated in Maryland
  • Maryland did not want BoUS to operate in state, competition unwanted, unfair
  • Maryland taxed the bank to put it out of business
  • McCulloch, BoUS employee, refused to pay the state tax
mcculloch v maryland 18191
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Is a Bank of the US Constitutional?

YES. The national gov’t has certain implied powers that go beyond delegated powers. US needs a national bank for borrowing, lending, holding minted money, etc. All of which are delegated powers.

mcculloch v maryland 18192
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

Can a state tax the federal gov’t?

-NO. The federal gov’t is supreme. Since the BoUS is constitutional, only the feds may tax it.

-John Marshall reaffirmed Supremacy Clause and Elastic Clause

-National (Federal) Gov gets STRONGER

commerce clause
Commerce clause
  • Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 3 – ‘The Congress shall have power - To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”
  • Congress has used the elastic clause to stretch this power
  • What is commerce? “Buying and selling of goods and services.”
  • Congress given the power to regulate commerce between foreign countries and US as well as state to state… they control business law.
gibbons v ogden 1824
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
  • 1824 – aka “The Steamboat Case”
  • Ogden received a state licensed monopoly to run a ferry across the Hudson River
  • Gibbons also saw the potential of the traffic between NJ and NY and obtained a federal license.
  • Ogden sued saying he had the valid state license, even though Gibbons had US license
gibbons v ogden 18241
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)

Result – Gibbons wins

  • Expanded national power in all areas of commerce law because nation overruled state in interstate trade issues
  • Fed Gov’t gets STRONGER
  • All trade today is primarily controlled by national law
commerce clause1
Commerce Clause
  • Who cares? Why is it important?
  • Gibbons v. Ogden ruling makes a loop hole giving Congress power to take control over any issue involving the movement of people, or things
  • Fed gov’t power increased
united states v lopez 1995
United States v. Lopez (1995)
  • Commerce clause quiz!!!
  • 1995 – “Gun Free School Zone” law banned possession of a firearm within 1000 feet of a school, 12 year old Lopez carried a gun on to the property
  • Declared law unconstitutional – “nothing to do with commerce” – carrying a weapon through a school zone is too much of a stretch for “commerce”
  • LIMITED National government power
gonzalez v raich 2005
Gonzalez v. Raich (2005)
  • Commerce clause quiz!!! Medicinal Marijuana
  • Controlled Substance Act (1970) – US gov regulates the manufacture, importation, possession, and distribution of certain drugs
  • Medicinal marijuana was legalized in California, but illegal to US government. Raich argued commerce clause should not take effect because 1) there was no business transactions and 2) there were no state border issues.
  • Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against Raich saying that the federal government could trump state laws that permitted medicinal marijuana
2 federalisms
2 Federalisms?
  • OLD SCHOOL – Dual Federalism
    • Federal and state governments remain dominant in their separate spheres of influence
    • Gibbons v. Ogden proved life is not that simple
  • NEW SCHOOL – Cooperative Federalism
    • State and Federal governments work together to solve complex problems
2 federalisms1
2 Federalisms


  • Dual Federalism – Layer Cake



  • Cooperative Federalism – Marble Cake
fiscal federalism
Fiscal Federalism
  • Fiscal means $
  • Q – How do you get the states to do things they normally wouldn’t do?
  • A – Money
  • Q – What is the answer to any question ever asked?
  • A – Money
grants in aid
  • Money paid from one level of government to another to be spent for a specific purpose
  • Categorical Grants - target specific purposes and “strings attached.” (States receive funds if state raised age to 21 and lowered BAC to .08)
  • Block Grants – given for broad, general purposes and allow more discretion on how the money is spent (ex. Welfare reform)
  • A requirement that a state undertake an activity or provide a service
  • Most apply to Civil Rights and the Environment
  • Often times the states or local gov’ts have to pay the bill of the mandate set by Congress
  • 1986 – Asbestos Emergency Response Act, Handicapped Children’s Protection Act
  • 1988 – Drug-free Workplace Acts, Ocean Dumping Ban Act
  • 1990 – Clean Air Act
  • EX – Columbus, OH spends 23% of the city budget trying to meet environmental mandates (including testing for pesticides used on rice and pineapple)
  • EX – Public schools have to use Internet filtering or schools lose e-rate subsidies
change in spending
Change in Spending
  • Shift towards Federal Gov’t Spending
  • Devolution is the return of power to the state gov
  • Idea is fueled by distrust of the federal gov and the desire to save money by reducing the size of the “bloated federal government”
devolution example
Devolution Example
  • Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996
  • Eliminated welfare and transferred the money to states as block grants
      • States received wide latitude on how to administer “workfare” but with the knowledge that Congress was counting on anti-poverty spending”
      • Strings attached: head of family must work or lose benefit; lifetime benefits limited to 5 years; unmarried mother < 18 only receive $ if stay in school and live with adult; immigrants ineligible for 5 years
federalism is good
Federalism is good

Living under 2 governments is great…

  • Built on compromise, promotes unity
  • Gov’t duties can be split up
  • Brings gov’t closer to people
  • Allows for state gov’t to address issues in unique regions of the country
  • Allows states to experiment with policy before enacting it at the federal level – Ex. Vermont’s free health care for children
federalism is bad
Federalism is bad

Living under 2 governments is bad…

  • States can impede progress of Nation
  • States are unequal
  • States have different policy
  • Easier for states to be dominated by interest groups