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Unformatted text preview: Federalism Part Four
Chapter 3 Explain the Court Packing Plan of 1937 By the end of this presentation you should be able to: *Discuss how changes in Supreme Court decisions on commerce contributed to changes in American federalism *Discuss contemporary views of federalism, including the devolution of power *Describe fiscal federalism and various forms of federal grants to the states
*The Supreme Court threatened the New Deal by striking down the key pieces of New Deal legislation as unconstitutional *The President paints the Court as an obstruction to recovery from the Great Depression The Court and the New Deal FDR is reelected to a second term Democrats are solidly in control of both houses of Congress FDR thinks he now has the public support to take on the The Election of 1936 Supreme Court *Proposes the Court Packing Plan in 1937 FDR Strikes Back The idea was to inject "new blood" into judiciary by creating more judgeships *New blood was needed because the aged justices were out-ofstep with modern ideas *The Plan and the Supreme Court
The president would be entitled to appoint one new justice for each justice over the age of 70 to a maximum of 15 *"We have, therefore, reached the point as a nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court and the Court from itself. We must find a way to take an appeal from the Supreme Court to the Constitution itself. We want a Supreme Court which will do justice under the Constitution and not over it. In our courts we want a government of laws and not of men." FDR's Fireside Chat *Most Americans reacted negatively to the plan Plan seen as an attack on the Constitution's plan for a independent judiciary *The proposal never comes to a vote in either house of Congress Here a Democratic Senator explains why he sees the Court Packing Plan as wrong: *http://newdeal.feri.org/court/omahoney.htm Reaction to the Plan One justice in the anti-New Deal majority (Owen J. Roberts) BUT... "reconsiders" his opposition to the New Deal In a strange "coincidence" his reconsideration comes after the announcement of the Court Packing Plan *As new cases come to the Court, Roberts votes to uphold New Deal laws, which is... Supreme Court changes its views of the powers of "The Switch in Time that Saved Nine" Congress under the commerce clause (and rejects "liberty of contract") *After 1937, any activity that affects interstate commerce can be regulated by Congress
The rigid distinction between local and interstate is abandoned The Result of the Switch The Court removed the constitutional barrier to congressional regulation of the economy *From 1937 until 1995 the Court upheld EVERY act of Congress based on the commerce clause!
*The national war effort for WWII helps puts more power in the federal government *Southern state resistance to civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s associates states' rights with racism *Federal programs grow in number and intrusiveness *Federal spending increases
*"States' rights" gets a bad name After the Depression The administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), "The Great Society" 1963-1968 *Social justice and racial equality
Civil Rights Act of 1964 *Voting Rights Act of 1965 Federal involvement in new areas (law enforcement; education; mass transit) *Federal aid directly to localities President Richard Nixon, 1969-1974 Consolidation of federal programs *General revenue sharing: some money in federal treasury returned to the states Ronald Reagan, 1981-1989 Decrease size of federal government *Cuts in federal spending for state and local government Bill Clinton, 1993-2000 States as "laboratories" "The New Federalism" "The New New Federalism" *Devolution: return of policy decision making powers to the states and local government *Court in the 1990s has begun to use the 10th Amendment again to limit the power of the federal government *Gun Free Schools Act declared unconstitutional in 1995 *Federal law on domestic violence struck down in 2000
*Now Congress endorses the devolution of power to the states A Supreme Court backlash Federalism Today Federalism in Policy *Cooperative federalism is the dominant theme Federal, state and local governments work together *"Marble cake federalism" replaces dual federalism ("layer cake federalism") *The federal government has begun to return decision-making power to the states *Grants-in-aid: federal money given to state and local government *The federal government can always raise more money than the states *State and local governments need the influx of federal dollars Fiscal Federalism *Categorical grants: funds can only be used for a designated purposes *Block grants: funds may be spent within a general area
Example: health care or law enforcement *Preferred by states and local government Example: school lunches Kinds of Federal Grants A particular kind of federal grant Conditional Grants-in-Aid *Federal money with "strings" attached A voluntary "contract" offered to states by the federal government *Contract comes with specific terms: "If you take this money, you must do x, y and z" Example: The national 21 year old drinking age
*Unfunded mandates: federal programs that require action by state or local government but with no or with insufficient funds to pay for it *New Federalism response: Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
*Eliminated some mandates *Retained those associated with civil rights and liberties Unfunded Mandates ...
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