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Assess the Changing Relationship between the Federal Government and the States

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Assess the Changing Relationship between the Federal Government and the States One of the biggest issues that divided the framers of the constitution was the role of Federal government in relation to the states. Eventually federal and state government were given separate powers, and the responsibility of checking on each other. The doctrine of nullification saw power to the states with a limited federal government. Since then different powers have swayed between state and federal governments, on balance the federal government has come out on top. A case example in 1816 where Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, saw that the judges of the Supreme Court of Virginia asserted that they had the power to decide whether a federal law was valid. This case involved the interpretation of a federal treaty; the judges felt that the federal Supreme Court was no more authoritative than they were in interpreting federal law. The Marshall court rejected that argument and established that when a federal law is ambiguous the US Supreme court (rather that any other state court) ...read more.


US (1935) and the Agriculture Adjustment Act of 1933 in US v. Butler (1936) FDR threatened the court with his Court Packing Plan, which helped him secure further policies such as the National Labour Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin (1937) this became considered a turning point in the federal state relations, for the first time the Federal government was allowed to intervene in state affairs. This period became known as Co-operative Federalism. Later in the 1960's the federal government took on new responsibilities, such as social and welfare issues, known as Presidents Johnson's Great Society, involving increased welfare provision through Medicaid and Medicare, his vision was an America, free of socials ills, such as poverty, squalor, ignorance, fear or hatred and where the quality of life opened the door for all Americans; "For the first time in world history, we have the abundance and ability to free every man from hopeless want" L Johnson 1964. Again this cause another large rise in the federal budget, and bureaucracy, where planning and funding came from central government and implementation was carried out locally. ...read more.


This slashed his Federal spending bill and impacted schemes such as Medicaid - This was conceptually a return to Duel Federalism. Consequences are being noticed, now that States have lost Federal revenue, and most States have an unconstitutional budget-deficit. Causing States to raise its own income by raising taxes, and cutting spending. Showing that states had become subordinate to the needs of national government. Today State power is an significant force, with the power to control elections and law enforcement, they are responsible for public education and transport, and they set their own tax rates, as shown in the 6th Amendment. To conclude the influence of Federal Government has been strengthened throughout, through its increase in budget, personnel and military; becoming vitally important to the well being of the people. The Supreme court being the arbiter of disputes between State/Federal, has often permitted a considerable increase in the size of national intervention, by emphasising the broad and permissive character of the clauses in the constitution, however the Federal relationship has always avoided becoming unitary, so allowing acceptable degrees of state independency. ...read more.

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