Patterico's Pontifications

8/21/2017

On Making Federalism Great Again

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Ilya Somin has an insightful op-ed up over at National Review Online. It is well worth the read:

The Republicans are supposed to be the party of state autonomy and strict limits on federal power. But you would not know it based on the first six months of the Trump administration. On a variety of major issues involving immigration, law enforcement, and the “war on drugs,” the administration’s policies exemplify the phenomenon of “fair-weather federalism”: respecting limits on federal power only when politically convenient….

Sadly, the Trump administration and the GOP are far from the only fair-weather federalists in politics. Many of the liberal Democrats currently relying on federalism principles to protect sanctuary cities against Trump decried those very constraints in the past, when they impeded progressive priorities.

Both the Left and the Right could benefit from a more principled commitment to limiting federal power…. This is especially true in an era of deep partisan polarization, when Democrats and Republicans are farther apart on most issues than they have been in decades….

Decentralization of power can also help defuse the partisan hatred that is poisoning our politics. If the federal government had less control over our lives, both sides would have less to fear from their opponents’ victories at the national level.

Some people understandably fear that restricting federal power might open the door to oppressive state and local policies. The federal government undoubtedly has a role to play in enforcing constitutional rights and preventing unconstitutional discrimination by state and local governments. But carrying out those functions does not require anything approaching the sweeping authority currently wielded by Washington.

Since the election of Trump, leading progressive scholars such as National Constitution Center president Jeffrey Rosen and Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken have urged the Left to take a more favorable view of federalism. Left and Right are unlikely to come to a complete consensus on federalism any time soon. But there is considerable potential for agreement nonetheless. A new bipartisan and cross-ideological appreciation for limits on federal power could become one of the few beneficial developments of the Trump era. Together, we might yet make federalism great again.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Solar Eclipse

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:52 am

I saw what appeared to be a solar flare at 5 o’clock on the sun. With my naked eye.

Crazy.

UPDATE: My daughter took this picture with an iPhone through my father-in-law’s solar-safe telescope.

These images are from the NASA site.

If you look at the proximity of the moon to the sunspots, the NASA photo was taken perhaps 3 minutes after my daughter’s photo — but from a completely different place in the country, from Wyoming.


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