Recent Events and Federalism

The topic of federalism has once again popped up with the recent United States Supreme Court decisions relating to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and to the initiative passed by the voters in the state of California, Proposition 8.  In the case involving the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a key piece of the law was overturned as irrelevant to today’s society.  In the Act, officials from fifteen states would have needed to receive federal permission if they wished to change voting laws in their states.  Most of the states in question were in the South and had a history of discrimination at the ballot box.  That portion was overturned by the Court.
With regards to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), married same-sex couples can now receive federal benefits which were once prohibited by DOMA.  In the case of Proposition 8, two lower courts overturned a ban on same-sex marriage. The ban, which was Proposition 8, was passed in a public initiative.  The Supreme Court upheld the ruling in the lower courts.  Same-sex marriage will be legal once again in California.

Where do you stand on the topic of federalism in regards to “hot button” issues regarding race, culture, and morality?  Which level of government should decide the outcome to these issues?


5 responses to “Recent Events and Federalism

  1. On the level of Prop 8 (California) I believe the Supreme Court overturned the descision because the parties bringing the the suit to light were not directly “injured” parties to Prop 8 and to bring a suit you have to show some direct ties to it and being “injured” so to speak, in some way. They weren’t in this case.

    I think States should be able to run elections like they want, isnt that the way the Constitution reads? There should be installed equality in the Federal Govt. and how they let States run their own elections. Plus it was 50 years old and out dated.

    DOMA is a Federal call and the Supreme Court ruled in its favor of same sex couples getting benefits.

  2. I definitely believe the states should be in charge of what happens within. I agree with the person above me (Jack) that it states in our own constitution that the states should have power. Checks and balances can come in play but when it comes to same-sex marriage, I believe that we should let individual states decide without the federal government have a say-so.

  3. Matt O'Connor

    I believe while every state is unique and in a different position, The federal government should handle the more high profile cases such as DOMA and any other cases that may or may not violate equality and freedom, and let the state government handle more local issues within their area. If we were to let every state decide every rule and cases their own way, what would make us a nation and not just 50 independent mini nations that happen to share the same name. There would be hardly any unity and over time our ideals morals and values can become so different that whose to say some states would secede from the nation because they didn’t believe in other states laws

  4. What I believe in regards to the issue of federal government intervention in certain hot button issues is that they have to intervene. Without the federal government intervention’s slavery would still be legal and women would still not have equal rights in all states of this nation. I don’t believe you can leave it up to the states to legislate these issues, they will just drag their feet until it is convenient for them to pass such legislation. Only the federal government has the power to enact such laws that benefit all citizens of the United States.

  5. I believe that in a perfect world that all state legislatures could handle, decide and vote on all legal issues within their state. However, it’s not a perfect world and neither is the federal government, but when it comes to “hot button” issues, such as the issues that were mentioned, I feel that it is necessary for the federal government to intervene. State legislatures are more likely to be either prejudice, one-sided or interests are involved in the decision making, especially with hot-button issues. The federal government’s decisions on these issues are more likely to come down to equality. So I believe that the federal government should have the right to step in when necessary and decide the outcome.

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