Expansion of Federal Power

Topics: United States Constitution, United States Congress, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 4 (982 words) Published: November 2, 2008
A. Powers of National Government under the Constitution:

1. Supremacy of National Law: The Constitution and federal law are the supreme law of the land; they pre-empt state constitutions and state law. Article 6, section 2 explains that when a dispute occurs between the state and national government the national government pre-empts conflicting state and local laws, making them unenforceable. The hierarchy of the law is as follows: - U.S. Constitution.

- Federal law (under constitution) and treaties made by the national government.
- State constitution
- State law and local ordinances

An example would be when a California law allowed a state official to classify arriving immigrants, the U.S. Supreme Court held the law to be unconstitutional because “the passage of laws which concern the admission of citizens and subjects of foreign nations to our shores belongs to Congress, and not the states.”

2. The War Power: The national government is responsible for protecting the nation from external aggression, whether from other nations or international terrorism. The government’s power to protect national security includes the power to wage war. The national government has the power to do whatever is necessary and proper to wage war successfully. Thus the national government has the power to do almost anything in direct conflict with constitutional guarantees.

An example would be when President Bush asked Congress to declare war on Iraq, the motion voted through by a majority of MPs agreed that the Government "should use all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction".

B. Fiscal Federalism

1.Categorical-Formula Grants: These are funds appropriated by Congress for specific purposes, which are allocated by formula and are subject to detailed federal conditions, often on a matching basis. They also come with federal supervision to ensure that the federal dollars are spent as Congress wants....
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