Tuesday, July 23, 2002


I'm a little late in noticing it, but Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton has an excellent defense of federalism on Findlaw. An excerpt:
There has never been a time when the cry for unlimited congressional power has rung so hollow. Nor has there been a time when the lax oversight of Congress's power appeared so foolhardy.

Think of the crucially important national issues on Congress's plate right now: The war on terrorism, corporate and accounting disasters affecting millions of stockholders, and a stock market lurching wildly up and down from day to day.

Think about how difficult each of these issues, alone, will be to address - and then about how difficult and important it is to successfully address them all. Then ask yourself if Congress can give these huge, decidedly national problems the serious, sustained, not-just-for-the-cameras attention they deserve - and at the same time also police every regional, state-level, and local problem in the country too.

Over the past years, federal and state lawmaking has been unnecessarily redundant. The federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, and meanwhile the states have their own disability laws. The federal government passed the Violence Against Women Act, and meanwhile the states have their own policing and policing policy decisions to make. The federal government passed the Gun-Free School Zones Act, and states continue to regulate both gun ownership and schools.


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