Dual Federalism

Topics: Federalism, Federal government of the United States, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 5 (1007 words) Published: June 22, 2014


Dual Federalism
Name
Course
Institution
Date

Dual Federalism
This is a state of government where power is shared between the federal and the state governments. In dual federalism, both the national and the state governments hold sovereign power in their respective areas of authority. The separation of power, resources, and programs is clearly defined. Dual federalism is normally compared to a layer cake whereby the levels of powers do not overlap each other. In this case, no level should interfere with the powers of the other. That is why it is referred to as the exercise of concurrent power. That gives every level of government supremacy in their area of authority. This paper looks at the historical definition of dual federalism and how it has changed over the years (HistoryLearningSite, 2013).

During the period of 1836 – 1933, dual federalism was defined by the states and federal government having distinct and separate tasks. In this case, the spheres of responsibility were clearly defined. A layer cake can best describe the division of power between the two levels of governance. At the time, different courts had different interpretations of federalism. The Marshall court supported expansive federal powers. This court had a major influence on how power was shared between the national and state governments. Two cases that were key in defining dual federalism are McCulloh v. Maryland of 1819 and Gibbons v. Ogden of 1824. The Taney Court on the other hand had a different view of federalism. The court supported two equally powerful levels of government (Lee, 2010). The court was of the view that the national government should not exceed its powers beyond the constitutionally accepted levels. The court was influential in limiting the control that the national government had on the issue of slavery and civil rights. One key case at the time was Dred Scott v. Sandford of 1857.

The second level of federalism was Cooperative Federalism. It existed between the years 1933 and 1961. Cooperative federalism increased the level of participation of the national government in local issues. This was made possible by a deal signed by President Franklin Roosevelt known as the New Deal. Initially, the New Deal was rejected by the Supreme Court. It later changed that decision in 1937 starting the revolution in national policy. The structure of the marble cake best represents cooperative federalism (USLegal, 2014). Under this system, the level of programs funded or supported by the national government increased. The two levels of government also became interdependent policies and were implemented with cooperation between the two levels. The new deal also assisted in the creation of recovery programs. The third stage of federalism took place during the period from 1961 to 1981. This was known as Regulated federalism. At this stage, there was even further intervention in the management of local programs and resources by the national government. The national government demanded to have more control by threatening to eliminate grants for certain programs. The state governments were given categorical grants whose discretion remained in the hands of national government. Such programs include grants given to fight national poverty. The ills that state governments seemed unable to handle were taken up by the national government. Such grants included money for urban renewal, education, and job training. In another example, the national government demanded that state governments regulate speed limits within states. Failure to do this would lead to the withdrawal of transport sector funding. At this time, the Supreme Court reduced the powers that the state government held while increasing national government powers. The fourth stage in the definition of federalism was New Federalism. It began from 1981 onwards. It marked the return to state powers (Young, 2001). Although the national government still...

References: HistoryLearningSite (2013). Federalism. Retrieved from http://www.historylearningsite.co
.uk/fed.htm
Lee, J. N. (2010). Federalism. Florida: Florida State University.
unm.edu. (2013). Coercive, Cooperative, and Collaborative Federalism in Context of Intergovernmental Relations. PA 524, 1-39.
USLegal. (2014). Dual Federalism Law & Legal Definition. Retrieved from http://definitions.
uslegal.com/d/dual-federalism/
Young, E. A. (2001). Dual Federalism, Cocurrent Jurisdiction, and the Foreign Affairs Exception. The George Washington Law Review, 139-188.
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