Federal Preemption of State and Local Policies
The Constitution assigns certain responsibilities to the federal government and reserves the balance to the states. When federal policies preempt the roles of state and local governments in areas of responsibility which legitimately belong to the states, they violate the principles of our federal system of government. For example, the federal Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Relief Act grants special property privileges to the railroad industry and preempts state and local government taxing authority.
Federal intervention in areas that rightfully belong to state and local governments cannot be condoned. Where the federal government has a legitimate policy concern, it should work with state and local governments, who are partners with the national government in our federal system. The federal government should not unduly limit states' autonomy and usurp state and local governments' authority to perform their functions and meet the needs of their citizens who are also the citizens of the United States.
- Publication date: May 1990