State-Federal Relations: States Still on the Defensive

11 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2014

Date Written: September 5, 2014

Abstract

Party polarization continues to sustain gridlock in Washington and produce state-federal tensions. States could reduce Washington’s polarized gridlock by eliminating partisan gerrymandering and reforming primary elections, but states also are more polarized along red and blue lines. Polarization contributes to coercive federalism, and states are on the defensive in their relations with the federal government. State-federal conflicts over the Affordable Care Act, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, REAL ID and other issues marked 2013–14. Many observers tout state innovation as a counterbalance to Washington’s gridlock, but many innovations are polarizing because they are produced by one-party states and thus lack bipartisan traction. The federal government also pre-empts some state innovations and nationalizes others. The U.S. Supreme Court decided eight federalism-relevant cases during its 2012–13 term and four in early 2014, with 10 to be decided as of April 2014.

Suggested Citation

Kincaid, John, State-Federal Relations: States Still on the Defensive (September 5, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2492163 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2492163

John Kincaid (Contact Author)

Lafayette College ( email )

Easton, PA 18042
United States

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