The Attorney General's Lawyer: Inside the Meese Justice Department

By Douglas W. Kmiec | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Neighborhood: The Revival of Federalism

No one was more committed to federalism than Charles J. Cooper, my predecessor as head of OLC. How many other people have the tenth amendment, which reserves the power not delegated to the federal government to the states, framed on their wall? Raised and educated in Alabama with a strong sense of southern pride, it might be said that he has an inbred sense of "state's rights." But don't be misled by that label. Cooper, himself, would very likely not see federalism and state's rights, as the term is loosely used today, as perfectly synonymous. Chuck well understood that the constitutional convention had overcome the hapless league of friendship of the Articles of Confederation. Under the Constitution, some power had been expressly and exclusively given to the central government; other authority was to be shared. But significantly and often overlooked, some subjects were reserved for the states. To Cooper, federalism was important not just because it produced experimentation and diversity, not just because it allowed for more direct political interaction between citizen and government, but also because it was a key element of the entire federal structure. Like the separation of powers, it had been carefully calibrated by the founders to secure individual liberty.

But whatever the original calibrations, it was clear to Chuck Cooper, and to any honest appraiser of constitutional doctrine, that federalism was a principle in decline. States were often the demeaned supplicants for federal funds--the subordinate administrative units that carried out federal commands. No longer were they truly "sovereign states." This grieved Cooper greatly, and it was a concern that the President, a former governor, shared deeply. In his inaugural, remember, Ronald Reagan


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Attorney General's Lawyer: Inside the Meese Justice Department


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 244

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?