74 votes
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A new proposal suggests subdividing Washington D.C. into 127 new states so that they can change the Constitution at will. Is this possible?

It looks to me as if the Harvard Law Review is engaging in a rather laboured joke, in the spirit of Swift's A Modest Proposal. To be more precise, it seems to be a satire on the temptation to change ...
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50 votes
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Why are national guards in states nowhere near the US Mexico border getting involved in border security with Mexico?

Because it is good politics for them. When you have states with a large number of people who are opposed to immigration it makes the politicians who send the troops look better. Because the governor/...
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  • 8,783
50 votes

Why are German local authorities taxing DoD employees, despite the protests of the US and of the German federal government?

The literal answer to the question So why are the local/land tax authorities going after the US DoD personnel on this issue, when it is clearly annoying the federal government of Germany? is "...
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48 votes
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Why did some places with a large population become states within a country when other places with smaller populations became countries of their own?

History. India did consist of many more-or-less sovereign countries before the British came. When decolonization came around and the colonizers left, it split into India and Pakistan, and then ...
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36 votes

Why does there not seem to be more support for state-specific border walls in the US?

It is essentially not allowed. States may not usurp the federal power over immigration. State attempts to regulate concurrently in a field already occupied by a federal statute have been struck ...
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  • 2,292
31 votes

Why are German local authorities taxing DoD employees, despite the protests of the US and of the German federal government?

Germany is a federal state, and it is thus expected that policies and political goals of the federal government and of the state governments will not always align. The US currently exhibits plenty of ...
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30 votes
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Why does there not seem to be more support for state-specific border walls in the US?

In addition to the issue David S identifies: Cost. Texas has a state budget that runs about $108B/year. Cost estimates for a border wall vary a lot, but the most recent request to Congress from the ...
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  • 2,336
27 votes

Why are national guards in states nowhere near the US Mexico border getting involved in border security with Mexico?

Joe W gets part of it, but to address the aspect about U.S. Federalism: National Guard members have the ability to accept voluntary assignments to various postings if the governor allows it. For the ...
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23 votes

Can a monarchy become a US state?

Article IV of the US Constitution says: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, [...] So no, the Constitution explicitly forbids Congress ...
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22 votes

A new proposal suggests subdividing Washington D.C. into 127 new states so that they can change the Constitution at will. Is this possible?

Could they do it? Probably. Several things could go wrong, though. I think changing our system in such a fundamental way with such a contrived method would shake faith in our democracy. It would be ...
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  • 2,297
21 votes
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What additional measures, within presidential authority, do people say the president should take against Covid-19?

Here's a non-exhaustive list: Trump could've warned the American people about the dangers of the virus earlier, instead of downplaying the threat and constantly telling citizens it will "go away&...
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18 votes
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How could Philadelphia join New Jersey?

Precedent suggests that this would require Pennsylvania and New Jersey to consent, with the approval of Congress; Philadelphia would have absolutely no legal say in the matter, although it would be ...
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18 votes
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Can state governments be overthrown without national government involvement?

Can state governments be overthrown without national government involvement? Yes. It happens sometimes when there's an election. Could state militaries over throw their own state government and ...
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18 votes
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What does the Tenth Amendment actually do?

The Ninth and Tenth amendments are something of an inseparable pair. The Ninth in particular has been almost entirely subsumed into the Tenth, and almost never gets mentioned in any binding opinion/...
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14 votes
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Have congressional Republicans taken a position on whether they will give "consent" to the United States Climate Alliance as an interstate compact?

No, but there's really no need for them to do so either. Remember, The Paris Accords were largely a do-it-yourself framework Here’s how the game works: The negotiating framework established at a ...
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13 votes

Why should I care about federal vs state rights?

Practically, two main advantages to state level policies: Not all states have the same basic conditions. In California, with a sizeable Hispanic minority, it may make sense printing government forms ...
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12 votes
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Is much of what the US federal government does unconstitutional?

Yes and no. It really depends on which view of the Enumerated Powers you subscribe to, as there have been differences of opinion on them since their inception. James Madison subscribed to a very ...
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  • 2,317
11 votes

How much is Russia actually a federation?

There are different subjects of federation in Russia: republics, krais, oblasts, one autonomous oblast and two or three federal cities. Each of them has their own laws and elected legislatures. But, ...
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  • 9,501
11 votes

Can states nullify the president's pardoning power by making federal offenses state offenses?

If someone is prosecuted for a federal crime, a state cannot interfere with the president's power to pardon the convict for the federal crime. The same act that led to the person's conviction under ...
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11 votes
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Is there a ranking of states based on how unitary/federalized they are?

Yes, such an index indeed exists: The Regional Authority Index (RAI) tracks regional authority on an annual basis from 1950 to 2010 in 81 countries. The sample consists of all EU member states, all ...
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11 votes

Are federal laws "optional" as a practical matter?

No You are confusing whether or not state and local governments are required to enforce federal laws, with whether or not following those laws is optional. Regardless of what state and local law ...
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11 votes
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Can the federal government of the United States influence when ballot totals are announced?

Federal-level elections in the US are a state matter. Every state does their own election according to their own laws. But there is precedent for the federal government to regulate the states in this ...
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11 votes

Why do non-federations need bicameral parliaments?

The UK has been a unitary state for much of its history, and its Parliament has had two Houses for most of that time. The role of the House of Lords is as the quote in the question states. It's not ...
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10 votes

What type of organization is an American political party?

As best as I can tell, political parties are entities unto themselves under the Federal Election Campaign Act. They may also be corporations (the DNC is a not-for-profit corporation in DC, according ...
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10 votes

Why did some places with a large population become states within a country when other places with smaller populations became countries of their own?

Some possible historical reasons for areas to come together to form countries: (1) Similar cultures. If all the people in the region speak the same language and follow the same religious beliefs, ...
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  • 1,588
9 votes
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Why does a federation need so many laws?

Yes, Professor Brunnermeier is correct. Let's start with a simple unitary state. The national government makes all laws. It needs however many laws it needs. Now, supposing all other things are ...
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9 votes

In the USA, who decides who can run for president, the states or the federal government?

The election for the president is the Electoral college. You are talking about how a state chooses its electors, and this is a matter for the state. The people in Maryland get to choose between the ...
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9 votes

What does the Tenth Amendment actually do?

The tenth amendment has been called a "truism" by the SCOTUS, As such it formally never mattered. It was always implicit. The amendment states but a truism that all is retained which has ...
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