Federalism and Conflicts
The United States operates under a unique system of federalism in which power, authority, and responsibility are divided or shared between the federal government and the state, tribal, and local governments. This decentralized or fragmented system helps the government remain responsive at the grass-roots level and avoid totalitarianism, but also contributes to inherent conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws. One reason that conflicts occur is because the Constitution is somewhat vague about how the powers of the federal, state, and local governments are divided or shared. Another reason is because the interests and needs of federal, state, and local governments related to policy areas, such as education and healthcare, often overlap. For this Discussion, you explore federalism and how it sometimes contributes to conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws. Later in the week, you explore how such conflicts are resolved.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review the online article, “ Federalism Checks the Power of the Central Government.” Pay particular attention to the definition of federalism and the overlap between federal and state interests and powers.
- Review the article, “Federalism and Environmental Policy: The Case of Solid Waste Management” and the course media “The Courts–Federal, State, and Local Conflicts.” Think about how federalism might contribute to conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws.
- Review the article, “Federalism: How the Principle Works on State and Local Levels.” Consider how federalism might contribute to conflicts between state and local laws.
- Select a policy area (e.g. – education, healthcare, drug use, immigration, the environment, etc.) to use for this assignment.
- Using the Internet and/or the Walden Library, find an example in which federalism contributed to a conflict between federal and state laws or between state and local laws related to the policy area you selected.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 4 a brief description of the policy area you selected. Then explain how federalism contributed to a conflict between federal and state laws or state and local laws related to the policy area you selected. Be specific.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.
Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.
Respond by Day 6 to at least one of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:
- Ask a probing question.
- Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
- Offer and support an opinion.
- Validate an idea with your own experience.
- Make a suggestion.
- Expand on your colleague’s posting.
Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights you have gained as a result of the comments your colleagues made.