Respond to the following statements in a four page double-spaced paper: (not including title and reference pages).
- Evaluate the rationale for dividing power between the central government and the states.
- Analyze whether the powers not specifically delegated to the federal government should be allocated to the states (as stated in the tenth amendment of the Constitution). Be sure to consider both strengths and weaknesses and include support from your text and/or outside research in your analysis.
- Analyze the advantages and disadvantages that the current division of powers between the national and state governments poses to the creation of sound public policy.
- Some nations, such as France, have a central government that controls virtually all parts of public policy in the nation, reserving very few powers to local governments. Evaluate the pros and cons of enforcing a similar system of central government in the United States. What advantages and disadvantages would such a system bring into American political life?
**Be sure to cite every resources used. Must use at least 3 resources (scholarly sources) provide a reference page for each resources used on a separate page.
Additional sources to be used:
Intergovernmental Law: An Introduction
The system of government that we use in the United States is a federal system. A federal system can be defined as a system of government in which power is divided between a central government (in our case, the national government) and regional governments (or states). The governments are bound together under one national government, whose power is supreme (O’Connor, 2009). While the term federal system cannot be found in the U.S. Constitution, our U.S. Constitution sets out different sets of powers. These powers fall into one of three categories: (1) powers of the federal government; (2) powers of the state government; and (3) prohibited powers (Schmidt, 2013).
Your text includes several components to the federal system:
- Both the central (national) and regional (state) governments must have substantial responsibility.
- Both the central and constituent governments must draw its authority from the citizens.
- Member states possess considerable leeway in devising their form of government.
- Given that there may be more than one state government, each state has legal equality (Stephens &Wikstrom, 2007).
The ability of a federal system of government to function depends a great deal upon the intergovernmental relationship between the central government and the regional governments. Hence, intergovernmental relations can be defined as the relationship and interactions between different levels of the same government (Stephens &Wikstrom, 2007). Intergovernmental relations deals not just with the relationship between the national government and the states, but the relationships of states with cities/counties and cities/counties with the national government.
As noted above, the U.S. Constitution determines which powers are state, which powers are national, and which powers are prohibited. The national government is given delegated powers while the states are given residual powers (Stephens &Wikstrom, 2007).
To see some examples of this, consider the chart below:
|State Powers||National Powers||Forbidden Powers|
|Elections||War/Foreign Power||Bill of rights (both)|
|Intrastate commerce||Interstate commerce||Foreign (states)|
|10th amendment||Necessary and Proper Clause||Coin/regulate money (states)|
|Police Power||Coin/regulate money|
Shared Powers: Both governments have the power to spend and borrow money, to tax, and to pass laws. A state’s ability to pass laws is derived from its ability to regulate intrastate commerce (or commerce within the state borders) and its police powers, which is the state’s ability to pass laws to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. Our U.S. Congress typically derives its powers to pass laws from its ability to regulate interstate commerce. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) 22 U.S. 1 is a landmark case from the Supreme Court that gave broad definition as to what is included in interstate commerce. As we will discuss in further detail next week, Supreme Court decisions since the 1930’s have generally interpreted that power very broadly. Some examples of that are Congress using the Commerce Clause to pass the Civil Rights Act and the Clean Air Act (Barnes, 2008).
Often, it becomes an issue of whether a power is delegated to the national government or reserved to the states. Typically, the federal courts (the U.S. Supreme Court in particular), Congress, and in some cases, the president determine which government has which power or whether that power is shared. When there is a conflict between federal versus state rights, the Supreme Clause (Article VI, paragraph 2) gives the power to the national government (Stephens &Wikstrom, 2007). In some cases, total preemption occurs, which is the power of the national government to assume full or partial responsibility for state and local governmental functions (O’Connor, 2009). An example of this is the No Child Left Behind Act. See more information here: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
The implied powers of the national government are based on Article I, Section 8, which gives Congress the power to do whatever is necessary to execute its specifically delegated powers. This clause, often referred to as either the elastic clause or the necessary and proper clause, gives Congress powers that are reasonably inferred, but that are not specifically stated in the Constitution itself (Schmidt, 2013).
Barnes, J., Morehead, T., & Dworkin, E. (2008). Law for business (10th ed.). Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1(1824).
O’Connor, K., Sabato, L., &Yanus, A. (2009). Essentials of American government: Roots and reform (2009 ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education.
Schmidt, S., Shelly, M., &Bardes, B. (2013). American government and politics today (16th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Stephens, G., &Wikstrom, N. (2007). American intergovernmental relations: A fragmented federal polity. New York, NY: Oxford Press.