Affiliation between independent sovereignties is represented by the word federal. According to The Oxford Guide to the U. S. Government, powers of the government in federalism in USA are divided between national and state governments. But state government does not have the power to ignore or repudiate federal statutes, which are guided by the constitution, the supreme law. A state in federal republic cannot have the full or supreme power over its internal affairs.
If there is conflict between the state and federal government, then it is mandated that the federal laws are paramount by supremacy clause. The national government powers are usually specified in the written constitution. (Drake & Nelson, 2002) Any powers in USA, which have not been particularly granted to central government, are assumed to be possessed by the state government and state government too have their areas of jurisdiction and have been acclaimed as testing workshops for various governmental analysis and observations.
It has been argued even in the USA that states can effectively respond to the policy issues of public rather than national government. However some uphold the national government strength especially during the crisis time. (Drake & Nelson, 2002) There are five basic characteristics of Federal System in USA: Legal authority is divided between state government and national government by the federalism.
No doubt there is overlap also but there is legal existence of separate areas of government powers; there are some areas in which states are subservient to central government such as foreign affairs management and interstate commerce regulation; Constructive and effective cooperation is provided by federalism in areas such as education, social security concerns, unemployment, environment protection and interstate highway construction; Supreme Court has an authority to solve legal matters or any dispute arising out of the differences between the state and national governments; and there are two layers of government posing authoritative control over the people within their territory. A person can attain dual citizenship with everyone having the power to exercise their rights with freedom having to attain privileges from both the state and national governments. (Drake & Nelson, 2002) For the political scientists, there are two kinds of federalism: dual and cooperative with both having the powers to ascertain the rights and privileges.
The roots of the federalism lie in the fact that issues which are not significant could be addressed at the lower level of the governmental hierarchy, secondly the national government has been created by the people who have designated it with the powers as enshrined in the constitution and the relationship between the governments whether at the state or national level is also followed within the rules mentioned in the constitution and protected under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. (Drake & Nelson, 2002) People in all the states have complete freedom but according to the restrictions of constitution. The framers of the constitution were aware of the fact that the states have to be possessed with the authoritative power, and all the abilities to meet the requirements of the people.
Though several federal principles established in the Constitution have been fostered to attain the good and healthy democratic government for the people yet as America is growing into the complex reigns of society and commercial endeavors, there have been several problems in its effective implementation. There is an utmost need for the complete demarcation between the state and federal powers. For e. g. in the arena of environment there is an increase in the powers of the federal government to exercise complete control over the local population all in the name of protecting environment. Yet if it is said that interference of federal government is a necessity to provide protection at the state level, but now it is not the case as many of the laws framed for the protection of the environment could not be justified. For e. g.
there are various assumptions like Superfund Law which states that several thousands of local sites from industrial zones to waste dumps pose a considerable threat to the human health until the federal government acts, regarding the Safe Drinking Water Act, there is also a feeling that the federal Environment Protection Agency has more interest for the protection of the human health rather local officials have, and the wetland provisions for the Clean Water Act also wanted the federal bureaucrats to impose their regulations. But there is no validity in these assumptions because all these assumptions are the clear violation of the very basis of federalism as these areas are beyond the federal jurisdictions. (Jeffreys, 1995)
It has been routinely seen that people in authority violate the principles of federalism, as these federal laws do not allow any local powers to make decisions and often pursue the policies, which do not involve any funds especially if it involves welfare of the people and the environment. There are also violations in the principles of federalism when it comes to subsidies for the relief work in case of any disaster. The funds that arrive involve many strings or legalizations, which put the state and federal officials in the perplexing situations and often disputes because of the issues like unfunded mandates or unjustifiable subsidies. There is also backlash among states against the federal officials regarding their undue interference in the affairs of the government. (Jeffreys, 1995)
These and many other reasons like several flaws in the principles of federalism when it comes to practical application at the local level open the doors for the controversies and struggles between the intergovernmental relations. Reference List Cameron, M. A. (2007). Three Theories of Constitutional Democracy. Retrieved on January 25, 2009 from W. W. W: http://democracy. ubc. ca/fileadmin/template/main/images/departments/CSDI/working_papers/CameronCSDIWorkingPaper2007CG1. pdf Drake, F. D. & Nelson, L. R. (2002). Teaching about Federalism in the United States. Retrieved on January 25, 2009 from W. W. W: http://www. ericdigests. org/2003-1/usa. htm. Jeffreys, K. (1995). Guide to Regulatory Reform: The Federalism Rule. Retrieved on January 25, 2009 from W. W. W: http://www. ncpa. org/ba/ba151. html