Federal-State RelationsFederalism is a fluid concept. Historically, the relationship between the two levels of government has been defined by the courts, Congress, and funding policies. The role of the courtsQuestions concerning the respective powers of the states and the federal government are constitutional, and the courts must address them. Early Supreme Court decisions reflected the views of Chief Justice John Marshall, who personally favored a strong national government. In defining commerce in the broadest possible terms in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), he argued that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce could be "exercised to its utmost extent." Marshall's interpretation of the commerce clause has provided a means to enforce civil rights laws and
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