Supreme Court rulings shifted power to the federal government

Supreme Court rulings shifted power to the federal government

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Explain how money and Supreme Court rulings shifted power to the  federal  government. Money has allowed power to shift from the states to the federal government most notably through the federal government’s use of federal grant-in-aid programs (Dye 78). According to Dye more than one-third of all state and local expenditures are paid for by the federal government (Dye 78). With one-third of expenditures being paid for by the federal government it creates an easy access for the federal government to setup stipulations and regulations that the state must follow. More importantly the federal government can go as far as to setup regulations or laws that may have nothing to do with the monies the states receive but leave the states no choice to follow them as they have become dependent on the monies. One popular example as discussed in class is the federal government requiring the drinking age be raised from 18 to 21 for all states. What this has done is taken any power from the states on this issue and placed it in the hands of the federal government. If the states wish to reject this regulation such as Louisiana had tried they would fail to receive government funding for their highway system. Depending on ones view of the role of the federal government this could appear egregious. Stipulations such as the drinking law place the state in a very hard place in many cases. The states are forced to decide between relinquishing control on the drinking issue and paying for expensive highways themselves. Ultimately one could argue that if a state rejected the fed’s stipulations for receiving highway grants they would be the high price of building a highway system themselves to simply prove a point that they should be able to decide their drinking age, and this may not be a cost a state can afford to bear on principle. While money has shifted power from the state to the federal government is may be easy to see why. The states dependency and need proves to be greater than their need to control whatever the issue is the government wishes to have power over, such as the drinking age, so the state is able to select the funds over the power. However, the Supreme Court has also played a hand in shifting power from the states to the federal government and this can prove challenging for states as they have no choice in the matter once the Court has decided. One case that provides an example of the Courts shifting power from the states to the federal government is the Raich v Gonzales (2004) in which voters of California passed a law legalizing marijuana use under special circumstances (Oyez). The Supreme Court ruled this violates the commerce clause and rejected the law passed by voters. The commerce clause of the constitution is in my opinion what has assisted the Supreme Court to continuously shift power from the states to the federal government. 1
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course POSI 3314 taught by Professor Ward during the Fall '06 term at Texas State.

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Supreme Court rulings shifted power to the federal government

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