Dual Federalism Research Paper

832 Words4 Pages
Throughout history, the states and the national government have dynamic and constantly changing powers in the Constitution. The switch from dual federalism in which the national government and the states have their own distinct powers and responsibilities to cooperative federalism in which the national government and the states share power and responsibilities amongst each other, have taken play during the Great Depressions in the United States. The Constitution defines the roles that the national government and the states have, but interpretations of the responsibilities and relationships between them have changed over time. In addition, the Tenth Amendment stated the limited powers of the federal government and whatever power not specifically stated would be granted to the states and the people. These changes in federalism are demonstrated through the supremacy clause, commerce clause, and the spending clause. A major and modern incident that reflects the supremacy clause is the legalization of medical marijuana. The supremacy clause gave the federal government “the supreme law of the land.” The federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, a Schedule I drug, along with growing, distributing, and possessing it, even for medical use under the Controlled Substances Act. On the other hand, 18 states and the District of Columbia decided for medical marijuana to be legal by altering their state drug laws and adding a provision to the Constitution. Even though the federal law deems marijuana illegal, the notion of federalism precludes the federal government from forcing the states to enforce it. Moreover, the Tenth Amendment protects the states from Congress who can’t force them to enforce criminal prosecution, to exempt the use of mar... ... middle of paper ... ... The court ruled against Lopez, where then Lopez appealed the court decision at the Fifth Circuit of Appeals. The appeal ruled in Lopez’s favor from his original claims, which then resulted in the appearance in the Supreme Court. As a result, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 and declared it unconstitutional since the act was beyond their control under the commerce clause and regulated an area that wasn’t based off of interstate commerce. Moreover, the Supreme Court ruled that it was up to the states to decide on how they want to pursue these issues on their local areas, which ignites more power for the states than the federal government. Generally, the Tenth Amendment was vague in ways in which it failed to draw a bright line to pinpoint the limitations of the federal government, which caused various issues between the powers of the federal government and the states.
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