Apparently I am a little bit behind the times. In January, the federal government struck another blow to federalism by giving the president more power over state national guards which were normally under the control of state governors.

To the dismay of the nation’s governors, the White House now will be empowered to go over a governor’s head and call up National Guard troops to aid a state in time of natural disasters or other public emergencies. Up to now, governors were the sole commanders in chief of citizen soldiers in local Guard units during emergencies within the state.

The fact that all 50 state governors were against this strongly suggests that it was totally unnecessary. If there were real problems with the old system, the governors would probably be at least partially split. I very much doubt this sort of thing would happen if state legislatures still had an effective voice in congress.

As a side note, I used to think, that the decline of federalism was in large part due to the 17th Amendment, as many people do, but this paper suggests that the election of federal senators by the state legislatures basically fell apart by itself. I don’t know what institutional arrangements would have continued to protect federalism. I intend to read Federalism, the Supreme Court, and the Seventeenth Amendment as well as Todd Zywicki’s law reviews on the issue.

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