United States of America: Constitution and Federalism

Topics: Federalism, Government, Political philosophy Pages: 7 (1864 words) Published: October 7, 2012
Test #2 Notes
POLS 1101

1. The Constitution
a. Constitutional Change
i. Constitutional change processes:
1. The formal amendment process
a. Two stages: (Both stages are necessary)
i. Proposal
1. Two thirds of congress votes needed
ii. Ratification
2. Three fourths of state legislatures votes needed b. Interpretation by the courts
iii. Marbury v. Madison
3. Supreme court declared that the courts have the power to nullify government acts when they conflict with the constitution iv. Judicial review is the courts main check on the other branches of government 4. Judicial review forces the courts to interpret the Constitution ii. Only 27 amendments have been made

iii. Amending the constitution is extremely hard
iv. The GA Constitution is extremely easy to change and changes frequently 2. Federalism
b. The relationship between state and federal government is constantly changing c. Theories and Metaphors
v. Federalism – the division of power between a central government and regional governments vi. Federalism offered a solution to citizens fears that they would be ruled by majorities from different regions and different interest and values vii. Federalism also provided a new political model 2. Dual Federalism

c. Dual federalism (the layer cake metaphor) is a view that holds the constitution is a compact among sovereign states v. Four essential parts:
5. National government rules by enumerated powers only 6. National government has a limited set of constitutional purposes 7. Each government unit – nation and state – is sovereign within its sphere 8. The relationship between nation and states is best characterized by tension rather than cooperation vi. Dual federalism portrays the states as powerful components of the federal system vii. States’ rights – the idea that all rights not specifically conferred on the national government by the constitution are reserved to the states viii. Implied powers – those powers that congress requires in order to execute its’ enumerated powers ix. Conservatives = layer cake

3. Cooperative federalism
d. Cooperative federalism (the marble-cake metaphor)is a view that holds the constitution in an agreement among people who are citizens of both state and nation, so there is little distinction between state powers and national powers x. Has three elements:

9. National and state agencies typically undertake governmental functions jointly rather than exclusively 10. Nation and states routinely share power 11. Power is not concentrated at any government level or in any agency xi. Elastic clause – the last clause in Section 8 of Article 1 of the constitution, which gives congress the means to execute its enumerated powers. This clause is the basis for Congress’s implied powers. Also called the necessary and proper clause. xii. Liberal = marble cake

e. National crisis’s often lead us to need more national government and their power increases viii. Great depression brings about the change from dual to cooperative federalism d. The Dynamics of Federalism

ix. Grants-in-Aid
4. Grant-in-aid - money provided by one level of government to another, to be spent for a given purpose f. Categorical grant – a grant-in-aid targeted for a specific purpose by formula or by project xiii. Specific on...
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