Interstate Relations: The Neglected Dimension of Federalism

By Joseph F. Zimmerman | Go to book overview

student of government can reasonably protest the transfer to the federal government of powers which the states are either unable or unwilling to use effectively." 49

Congressional action to solve interstate problems will tend to be of the nature of continual tinkering rather than comprehensive reform of interstate relations. The failure of Congress to lead in this area is even more alarming in view of the current drive in Congress to devolve to states more powers which have the potential for creating additional nonuniformity problems. States, for example, currently are raising barriers to the migration of welfare recipients. 50

If Congress continues to preempt occasionally the regulatory authority of the states over a long period of time, the weakening of the federal nature of the union will deprive the system of a number of its advantages, including the ability of states to respond quickly to solve a state or regional problem and to serve as laboratories of democracies engaged in experimental service delivery and regional and national problem solving programs which can be exported, if successful, to other states and Congress. Furthermore, preemption will reduce opportunities for citizens to play important participatory roles in the governance system.

Can the undesirable consequences of current state policies affecting sister states and congressional preemption be avoided? The answer is yes provided key components of the model presented in this chapter are adopted. Political realities, however, suggest that few model components will be implemented in the near future.


NOTES
1
For details, see Joseph R. Zimmerman, Federal Preemption: The Silent Revolution ( Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1991).
2
Joseph F. Zimmerman, Contemporary American Federalism: The Growth of National Power ( Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1992).
3
Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982, 96 Stat. 1104, 49 U.S.C.A. § 10521 ( 1995).
4
Full Faith and Credit for Child Support Orders Act of 1994, 108 Stat. 4063, 28 U.S.C.A. § 1 note ( 1995 Supp.), and Child Support Recovery Act of 1992, 106 Stat. 3403, 18 U.S.C.A. §228(a)(d)(1)(A) ( 1995 Supp.).
5
Jenkins Act of 1949, 63 Stat. 884, 15 U.S.C.A. §375 ( 1976).
6
Contraband Cigarette Act of 1978, 53 Stat. 1291, 18 U.S.C.A. §2341 ( 1993).
7
Commonwealth Edison Company v. Montana, 453 U.S. 609 ( 1981).
8
Barclays Bank v. Franchise Tax Board of California, 114 S.Ct. 2268 ( 1994).
9
71 Stat. 555, 15 U.S.C.A. §§381-4 ( 1995 Supp.).
10
Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, 34 Stat. 768, 21 U.S.C.A. §16 ( 1972).
11
National Labor Relations Act of 1935, 49 Stat. 449, 29 U.S.C.A. §151 ( 1973 and 1995 Supp.).
12
W. Brooke Graves, "Influence of Congressional Legislation on Legislation in the States", Iowa Law Review, May 1938, pp. 520-1. Professor Graves quoted a manuscript loaned to him by Professor Grant.

-233-

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