Skip to main content
77 votes
Accepted

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 ...
John Dallman's user avatar
  • 10.5k
51 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 "...
Eike Pierstorff's user avatar
49 votes
Accepted

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/...
Joe W's user avatar
  • 17.5k
49 votes

What would happen if an American state didn’t follow a ruling by the Supreme Court?

I don't know if this is the worst case confrontation, but I suppose it ranks pretty high; following Brown v. Board of Education there were numerous attempts to resist, some solved with troops and some ...
got trolled too much this week's user avatar
48 votes
Accepted

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 ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 112k
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 ...
David S's user avatar
  • 3,116
31 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 2,618
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 ...
Arno's user avatar
  • 14.1k
28 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 ...
William Walker III's user avatar
26 votes

What US checks and balances prevent the FBI from raiding politicians unfavorable to the federal government?

phoog gave an answer regarding the legal checks and balances. But that is only part of the picture. The real checks and balances are in the political culture. In the so-called Saturday Night Massacre ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 112k
23 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 ...
D M's user avatar
  • 2,386
22 votes

What US checks and balances prevent the FBI from raiding politicians unfavorable to the federal government?

If an administration intent on increasing the power of the federal government and or destroying the reputations of specific mayors, governors, senators wanted to what is stopping them from ruining a ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 18.1k
21 votes
Accepted

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&...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 51.2k
18 votes
Accepted

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/...
zibadawa timmy's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

What would happen if an American state didn’t follow a ruling by the Supreme Court?

The President can take control of a state's national guard and enforce martial law in extreme cases. This happened a lot with desegregation of schools. A less drastic option is finding the governor in ...
Ryathal's user avatar
  • 13.9k
16 votes
Accepted

Is there a ranking of states based on how unitary/federalized they are?

Yes, such an index indeed exists: The Regional Authority Index (RAI) measures the authority in self rule and shared rule exercised by regional governments with 96 countries on an annual basis over ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 51.2k
14 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 50.4k
14 votes

Can a U.S. county secede from a U.S. state?

As said in the US constitution: Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the US Constitution states: New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected ...
user2501323's user avatar
  • 11.8k
12 votes
Accepted

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 ...
RWW's user avatar
  • 2,369
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 ...
phoog's user avatar
  • 18.1k
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 ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 15.7k
11 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 77.9k
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 ...
Steve Melnikoff's user avatar
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, ...
user3153372's user avatar
  • 1,970
9 votes
Accepted

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 ...
indigochild's user avatar
  • 23.9k
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 ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
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 ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
9 votes

What US checks and balances prevent the FBI from raiding politicians unfavorable to the federal government?

I will assume that you're talking about a maliciously-baseless raid conducted purely for political reasons. If the target actually did commit the crime in question and there is probable cause to ...
bta's user avatar
  • 1,405

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible