SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: This article synthesizes and interprets contemporary research on the changing relationships between American federalism and the U.S. political system. It does so by examining how three important political trends—nationalization, polarization, and delegitimation—have affected intergovernmental relations and intergovernmental policy across a range of venues: electoral politics, policymaking, and public administration. In each of these areas, traditional scholarly perspectives on the relationship between federalism and the political system are contrasted with the findings of contemporary research and analysis.
Journal Article 3.2: Boushey, G., & Luedtke, A. (2011). Immigrants across the U.S. Federal Laboratory: Explaining state-level innovation in immigration policy. State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 11(4), 390–414.
Abstract: The passage of a restrictive immigration law in Arizona in 2010 rekindled an old debate in the United States on immigration policy and the role of federalism. Despite periodic constitutional controversies, scholars of federalism and U.S. state politics have not adequately explained variation in state-level policy making on immigration. The authors explore pressures leading to state immigration policy innovation and adoption in the United States. The article evaluates factors leading to the introduction and adoption of two types of policies: those dictating the cultural and economic incorporation of immigrants and those attempting to control their flow and settlement. Factors such as fiscal federalism, ethnic contact, and ethnic threat generate incentives for states to pass such laws. The authors compiled a comprehensive data set of state immigration laws from the past decade to explain how factors commonly associated with national immigration policy development—economic conditions, rates of immigration, demographics, party control, and political institutions—influence state-level immigration policy activity.
Journal Article 3.3: Seamon, M. J. (2006). The legal status of medical marijuana, 40(12), 2211–2215.
Abstract: Aspects of an entrenched constitution that were essential parts of founding compromises, and justified as necessary when a constitution was first adopted, may become less justifiable over time. Is this the case with respect to the structure of the United States Senate? The US Senate is hardwired in the Constitution to consist of an equal number of Senators from each state—the smallest of which currently has about 585,000 residents, and the largest of which has about 39.29 million. As this essay explains, over time, as population inequalities among states have grown larger, so too has the disproportionate voting power of smaller-population states in the national Senate. As a result of the ‘one-person, one-vote’ decisions of the 1960s that applied to both houses of state legislatures, each state legislature now is arguably more representative of its state population than the US Congress is of the US population. The ‘democratic deficit’ of the Senate, compared to state legislative bodies, also affects presidential (as compared to gubernatorial) elections. When founding compromises deeply entrenched in a constitution develop harder-to-justify consequences, should constitutional interpretation change responsively? Possible implications of the ‘democratic’ difference between the national and the state legislatures for US federalism doctrine are explored, especially with respect to the ‘pre-emption’ doctrine. Finally, the essay briefly considers the possibilities of federalism for addressing longer term issues of representation, polarisation and sustaining a single nation.