CITES BY TOPIC:  Federalism

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New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992)

"To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: "Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power." Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 759 (1991) (BLACKMUN, J., dissenting). "Just as the separation and independence of the coordinate branches of the Federal Government serve to prevent the accumulation of excessive power in any one branch, a healthy balance of power between the States and the Federal Government will reduce the risk of tyranny and abuse from either front." Gregory v. [505 U.S. 144, 182]   Ashcroft, 501 U.S., at 458 . See The Federalist No. 51, p. 323. (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).

Where Congress exceeds its authority relative to the States, therefore, the departure from the constitutional plan cannot be ratified by the "consent" of state officials. An analogy to the separation of powers among the branches of the Federal Government clarifies this point. The Constitution's division of power among the three branches is violated where one branch invades the territory of another, whether or not the encroached-upon branch approves the encroachment. In Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 118 -137 (1976), for instance, the Court held that Congress had infringed the President's appointment power, despite the fact that the President himself had manifested his consent to the statute that caused the infringement by signing it into law. See National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S., at 842 , n. 12. In INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919, 944 -959 (1983), we held that the legislative veto violated the constitutional requirement that legislation be presented to the President, despite Presidents' approval of hundreds of statutes containing a legislative veto provision. See id., at 944-945. The constitutional authority of Congress cannot be expanded by the "consent" of the governmental unit whose domain is thereby narrowed, whether that unit is the Executive Branch or the States.

State officials thus cannot consent to the enlargement of the powers of Congress beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. Indeed, the facts of this case raise the possibility that powerful incentives might lead both federal and state officials to view departures from the federal structure to be in their personal interests. Most citizens recognize the need for radioactive waste disposal sites, but few want sites near their homes. As a result, while it would be well within the authority of either federal or state officials to choose where the disposal sites will be, it is likely to be in the political interest of each individual official to avoid being held accountable to the voters for the choice of location. If [505 U.S. 144, 183]   a federal official is faced with the alternatives of choosing a location or directing the States to do it, the official may well prefer the latter, as a means of shifting responsibility for the eventual decision. If a state official is faced with the same set of alternatives - choosing a location or having Congress direct the choice of a location - the state official may also prefer the latter, as it may permit the avoidance of personal responsibility. The interests of public officials thus may not coincide with the Constitution's intergovernmental allocation of authority. Where state officials purport to submit to the direction of Congress in this manner, federalism is hardly being advanced. "

[New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992)]


Pacemaker Diagnostic Clinic of America Inc. v. Instromedix Inc., 725 F.2d 537 (9th Cir. 02/16/1984)

Pacemaker argues that in the federal system a party may not consent to jurisdiction, so that the parties cannot waive their rights under Article III. The maxim that parties may not consent to the jurisdiction of federal courts is not applicable here. The rule is irrelevant because it applies only where the parties attempt to confer upon an Article III court a subject matter jurisdiction that Congress or the Constitution forbid. See, e.g., Jackson v. Ashton, 33 U.S. (8 Peters), 148, 148-49, 8 L. Ed. 898 (1834); Mansfield, Coldwater & Lake Michigan Railway Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379, 28 L. Ed. 462, 4 S. Ct. 510 (1884). The limited jurisdiction of the federal courts and the need to respect the boundaries of federalism underlie the rule. In the instant case, however, the subject matter, patents, is exclusively one of federal law. The Supreme Court has explicitly held that Congress may "confer upon federal courts jurisdiction conditioned upon a defendant's consent." Williams v. Austrian, 331 U.S. 642, 652, 91 L. Ed. 1718, 67 S. Ct. 1443 (1947); see Harris v. Avery Brundage Co., 305 U.S. 160, 83 L. Ed. 100, 59 S. Ct. 131 (1938). The litigant waiver in this case is similar to waiver of a defect in jurisdiction over the person, a waiver federal courts permit. Hoffman v. Blaski, 363 U.S. 335, 343, 4 L. Ed. 2d 1254, 80 S. Ct. 1084 (1960). 

[Pacemaker Diagnostic Clinic of America Inc. v. Instromedix Inc., 725 F.2d 537 (9th Cir. 02/16/1984)]


Executive Order 13083: Federalism, May 14, 1998


Executive Order 12612: Federalism, Oct. 26, 1987

Executive Order 12612--Federalism

Source: The provisions of Executive Order 12612 of Oct. 26, 1987, appear at 52 FR 41685, 3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 252, unless otherwise noted.

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and in order to restore the division of governmental responsibilities between the national government and the States that was intended by the Framers of the Constitution and to ensure that the principles of federalism established by the Framers guide the Executive departments and agencies in the formulation and implementation of policies, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Definitions. For purposes of this Order:
(a) "Policies that have federalism implications" refers to regulations, legislative comments or proposed legislation, and other policy statements or actions that have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government.
(b) "State" or "States" refer to the States of the United States of America, individually or collectively, and, where relevant, to State governments, including units of local government and other political subdivisions established by the States.

Sec. 2. Fundamental Federalism Principles. In formulating and implementing policies that have federalism implications, Executive departments and agencies shall be guided by the following fundamental federalism principles:
(a) Federalism is rooted in the knowledge that our political liberties are best assured by limiting the size and scope of the national government.
(b) The people of the States created the national government when they delegated to it those enumerated governmental powers relating to matters beyond the competence of the individual States. All other sovereign powers, save those expressly prohibited the States by the Constitution, are reserved to the States or to the people.
(c) The constitutional relationship among sovereign governments, State and national, is formalized in and protected by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.
(d) The people of the States are free, subject only to restrictions in the Constitution itself or in constitutionally authorized Acts of Congress, to define the moral, political, and legal character of their lives.
(e) In most areas of governmental concern, the States uniquely possess the constitutional authority, the resources, and the competence to discern the sentiments of the people and to govern accordingly. In Thomas Jefferson's words, the States are "the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against antirepublican tendencies."
(f) The nature of our constitutional system encourages a healthy diversity in the public policies adopted by the people of the several States according to their own conditions, needs, and desires. In the search for enlightened public policy, individual States and communities are free to experiment with a variety of approaches to public issues.
(g) Acts of the national government--whether legislative, executive, or judicial in nature--that exceed the enumerated powers of that government under the Constitution violate the principle of federalism established by the Framers.
(h) Policies of the national government should recognize the responsibility of--and should encourage opportunities for--individuals, families, neighborhoods, local governments, and private associations to achieve their personal, social, and economic objectives through cooperative effort.
(i) In the absence of clear constitutional or statutory authority, the presumption of sovereignty should rest with the individual States. Uncertainties regarding the legitimate authority of the national government should be resolved against regulation at the national level.

Sec. 3. Federalism Policymaking Criteria. In addition to the fundamental federalism principles set forth in section 2, Executive departments and agencies shall adhere, to the extent permitted by law, to the following criteria when formulating and implementing policies that have federalism implications:

(a) There should be strict adherence to constitutional principles. Executive departments and agencies should closely examine the constitutional and statutory authority supporting any Federal action that would limit the policymaking discretion of the States, and should carefully assess the necessity for such action. To the extent practicable, the States should be consulted before any such action is implemented. Executive Order No. 12372 ("Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs") remains in effect for the programs and activities to which it is applicable.

(b) Federal action limiting the policymaking discretion of the States should be taken only where constitutional authority for the action is clear and certain and the national activity is necessitated by the presence of a problem of national scope. For the purposes of this Order:

(1) It is important to recognize the distinction between problems of national scope (which may justify Federal action) and problems that are merely common to the States (which will not justify Federal action because individual States, acting individually or together, can effectively deal with them).

(2) Constitutional authority for Federal action is clear and certain only when authority for the action may be found in a specific provision of the Constitution, there is no provision in the Constitution prohibiting Federal action, and the action does not encroach upon authority reserved to the States.

(c) With respect to national policies administered by the States, the national government should grant the States the maximum administrative discretion possible. Intrusive, Federal oversight of State administration is neither necessary nor desirable.

(d) When undertaking to formulate and implement policies that have federalism implications, Executive departments and agencies shall:

(1) Encourage States to develop their own policies to achieve program objectives and to work with appropriate officials in other States.

(2) Refrain, to the maximum extent possible, from establishing uniform, national standards for programs and, when possible, defer to the States to establish standards.

(3) When national standards are required, consult with appropriate officials and organizations representing the States in developing those standards.

 

Sec. 4. Special Requirements for Preemption. (a) To the extent permitted by law, Executive departments and agencies shall construe, in regulations and otherwise, a Federal statute to preempt State law only when the statute contains an express preemption provision or there is some other firm and palpable evidence compelling the conclusion that the Congress intended preemption of State law, or when the exercise of State authority directly conflicts with the exercise of Federal authority under the Federal statute.
(b) Where a Federal statute does not preempt State law (as addressed in subsection (a) of this section), Executive departments and agencies shall construe any authorization in the statute for the issuance of regulations as authorizing preemption of State law by rule-making only when the statute expressly authorizes issuance of preemptive regulations or there is some other firm and palpable evidence compelling the conclusion that the Congress intended to delegate to the department or agency the authority to issue regulations preempting State law.
(c) Any regulatory preemption of State law shall be restricted to the minimum level necessary to achieve the objectives of the statute pursuant to which the regulations are promulgated.
(d) As soon as an Executive department or agency foresees the possibility of a conflict between State law and Federally protected interests within its area of regulatory responsibility, the department or agency shall consult, to the extent practicable, with appropriate officials and organizations representing the States in an effort to avoid such a conflict.
(e) When an Executive department or agency proposes to act through adjudication or rule-making to preempt State law, the department or agency shall provide all affected States notice and an opportunity for appropriate participation in the proceedings.

 

Sec. 5. Special Requirements for Legislative Proposals. Executive departments and agencies shall not submit to the Congress legislation that would:
(a) Directly regulate the States in ways that would interfere with functions essential to the States' separate and independent existence or operate to directly displace the States' freedom to structure integral operations in areas of traditional governmental functions;
(b) Attach to Federal grants conditions that are not directly related to the purpose of the grant; or
(c) Preempt State law, unless preemption is consistent with the fundamental federalism principles set forth in section 2, and unless a clearly legitimate national purpose, consistent with the federalism policymaking criteria set forth in section 3, cannot otherwise be met.

 

Sec. 6. Agency Implementation. (a) The head of each Executive department and agency shall designate an official to be responsible for ensuring the implementation of this Order.

(b) In addition to whatever other actions the designated official may take to ensure implementation of this Order, the designated official shall determine which proposed policies have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism Assessment. With respect to each such policy for which an affirmative determination is made, a Federalism Assessment, as described in subsection (c) of this section, shall be prepared. The department or agency head shall consider any such Assessment in all decisions involved in promulgating and implementing the policy.

(c) Each Federalism Assessment shall accompany any submission concerning the policy that is made to the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to Executive Order No. 12291 or OMB Circular No. A-19, and shall:

(1) Contain the designated official's certification that the policy has been assessed in light of the principles, criteria, and requirements stated in sections 2 through 5 of this Order;

(2) Identify any provision or element of the policy that is inconsistent with the principles, criteria, and requirements stated in sections 2 through 5 of this Order;

(3) Identify the extent to which the policy imposes additional costs or burdens on the States, including the likely source of funding for the States and the ability of the States to fulfill the purposes of the policy; and

(4) Identify the extent to which the policy would affect the States' ability to discharge traditional State governmental functions, or other aspects of State sovereignty.

 

Sec. 7. Government-wide Federalism Coordination and Review. (a) In implementing Executive Order Nos. 12291 and 12498 and OMB Circular No. A-19, the Office of Management and Budget, to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the provisions of those authorities, shall take action to ensure that the policies of the Executive departments and agencies are consistent with the principles, criteria, and requirements stated in sections 2 through 5 of this Order.
(b) In submissions to the Office of Management and Budget pursuant to Executive Order No. 12291 and OMB Circular No. A-19, Executive departments and agencies shall identify proposed regulatory and statutory provisions that have significant federalism implications and shall address any substantial federalism concerns. Where the departments or agencies deem it appropriate, substantial federalism concerns should also be addressed in notices of proposed rule-making and messages transmitting legislative proposals to the Congress.

 

Sec. 8. Judicial Review. This Order is intended only to improve the internal management of the Executive branch, and is not intended to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, or any person.