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Federal/state/local government.

The U.S. Constitution established a national government based on the principle of federalism – which delineated federal, state, and local responsibilities. Within the U.S. Constitution federal and state governments are granted a number of ‘exclusive powers’. In addition, the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (U.S. Const. amend X).

Yet, since ratification, federal, state, and local governments have been embroiled in a series of authorial and policymaking debates regarding the Constitutional interpretation of the Tenth Amendment.

This debate between federal power and state’s rights has many contemporary examples.

Provide two specific examples from your state or local government that illustrates the debate between federal power and state’s rights.

An example: federal highway funds are tied to state adoption of highway speed limits, legal drinking ages, and other vehicular laws. As a result, many state governments argue that the federal government has coerced state cooperation through monetary blackmail.


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