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See New York v. United States, 326 U.S. 572, 598, n. 4, 66 S.Ct. ", This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings, Hail, Michael W. and J. Gregory Frye. §§ 203(e)(2)(C)(i) and (ii). Id., at 297, 13 S.Ct., at 389. pending, No. For example, Hamilton argued that the States "regulat[e] all those personal interests and familiar concerns to which the sensibility of individuals is more immediately awake. 438, 442, 90 L.Ed. SATS received its first UMTA subsidy, a $4.1 million capital grant, in December 1970. §§ 3(d), 13(a)(9), 52 Stat. Appellees have not argued that SAMTA is immune from regulation under the FLSA on the ground that it is a local transit system engaged in intrastate commercial activity. Faced with the identical question, three Federal Courts of Appeals and one state appellate court have reached the opposite conclusion.1. Ante, at 550 (emphasis added). . 1307 (1934), that "[w]hen a state enters the market place seeking customers it divests itself of its quasi sovereignty pro tanto," sound more of ipse dixit than reasoned explanation. See Brief for National League of Cities et al. See Indian Towing Co. v. United States, 350 U.S. 61, 64-68, 76 S.Ct. 82-1913, p. 24a. . Wechsler, The Political Safeguards of Federalism: The Role of the States in the Composition and Selection of the National Government, 54 Colum.L.Rev. ." . § 152(2); 29 U.S.C. Rather, it explains why the Framers could believe the Constitution assured significant state authority even as it bestowed a range of powers, including the commerce power, on the Congress. 171, 173, 79 L.Ed. Subsequent decisions indicate that Congress, in order to regulate an activity, needs only a rational basis for a finding that the activity affects interstate commerce. Apparently in an effort to reassure the States, the Court identifies several major statutes that thus far have not been made applicable to state governments: the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. The Tenth Amendment also is an essential part of the Bill of Rights. 95, 97 (1916). Central to our inquiry into the federal interest is how closely the challenged action implicates the central concerns of the Commerce Clause, viz., the promotion of a national economy and free trade among the States. A. Howitt, supra, at 8; Bureau of the Census, U.S. Dept. The fact that an unregulated market produces less of some service than a State deems desirable does not mean that the State itself must provide the service; in most if not all cases, the State can "contract out" by hiring private firms to provide the service or simply by providing subsidies to existing suppliers. See id., at 583, 66 S.Ct., at 314 (opinion of Frankfurter, J., joined by Rutledge, J. . This principle requires the Court to enforce affirmative limits on federal regulation of the States to complement the judicially crafted expansion of the interstate commerce power. The Court maintains that the standard approved in National League of Cities "disserves principles of democratic self-goverance." Indeed, the "traditional" nature of a particular governmental function can be a matter of historical nearsightedness; today's self-evidently "traditional" function is often yesterday's suspect innovation. Federal legislation is drafted primarily by the staffs of the congressional committees. This result is inconsistent with the fundamental principles of our constitutional system. 326 (1946) (dissenting opinion). 310, 321, n. 4, 90 L.Ed. We doubt that courts ultimately can identify principled constitutional limitations on the scope of Congress' Commerce Clause powers over the States merely by relying on a priori definitions of state sovereignty. This rephrasing is not a distinction without a difference; rather, it reflects the Court's unprecedented view that Congress is free under the Commerce Clause to assume a State's traditional sovereign power, and to do so without judicial review of its action. 836. 1535, as amended, 15 U.S.C. In the present cases, the five Justices who compose the majority today participated in National League of Cities and the cases reaffirming it.2 The stability of judicial decision, and with it respect for the authority of this Court, are not served by the precipitate overruling of multiple precedents that we witness in these cases.3. For example, Congress might rationally conclude that the location a State chooses for its capital may affect interstate commerce, but the Court has suggested that Congress would nevertheless be barred from dictating that location because such an exercise of a delegated power would undermine the state sovereignty inherent in the Tenth Amendment. A variety of sovereign powers, for example, are withdrawn from the States by Article I, § 10. 2202, 72 L.Ed.2d 639 (1982). The Federalist No. . That the Court shuns the task today by appealing to the "essence of federalism" can provide scant comfort to those who believe our federal system requires something more than a unitary, centralized government. Congress also declined to impose any obligations on state and local governments with respect to policymaking personnel who are not subject to civil service laws. It also has led to the separate requirement that the challenged federal statute "address matters that are indisputably 'attribute[s] of state sovereignty.' Entering judgment for SAMTA, the District Court held that municipal ownership and operation of a mass-transit system is a traditional governmental function and thus, under National League of Cities, is exempt from the obligations imposed by the FLSA. Lane County v. Oregon, 7 Wall. The emasculation of the powers of the States that can result from the Court's decision is predicated on the Commerce Clause as a power "delegated to the United States" by the Constitution. In Powers, the Court upheld the application of the federal income tax to the income of trustees of a state-operated commuter railroad; the Court reiterated that "the State cannot withdraw sources of revenue from the federal taxing power by engaging in businesses which constitute a departure from usual governmental functions and to which, by reason of their nature, the federal taxing power would normally extend," regardless of the fact that the proprietary enterprises "are undertaken for what the State conceives to be the public benefit." The Court does not explain the basis for this judgment. 384 (1926); Coyle v. Oklahoma, 221 U.S. 559, 31 S.Ct. 110, 116, 50 L.Ed. The Framers' comments indicate that the sphere of state activity was to be a significant one, as Justice POWELL's opinion clearly demonstrates, ante at 570-572. Our references to UMTA are not meant to imply that regulation under the Commerce Clause must be accompanied by countervailing financial benefits under the Spending Clause. See also, e.g., Fry v. United States, supra; Metcalf & Eddy v. Mitchell, 269 U.S. 514, 46 S.Ct. National League of Cities (NLC) - Find your next career at NLC Jobs Online. In Flint, the Court stated: "The true distinction is between . In any case, they hardly are as accessible and responsive as those who occupy analogous positions in state and local governments. . 426 U.S., at 856, 96 S.Ct., at 2476 (BLACKMUN, J., concurring). The FLSA obligations of public mass-transit systems like SATS were expanded in 1974 when Congress provided for the progressive repeal of the surviving overtime exemption for mass-transit employees. See also Oregon v. Kennedy, 456 U.S. 667, 691-692, n. 34, 102 S.Ct. The Court emphasizes that municipal operation of an intracity mass transit system is relatively new in the life of our country. 772 (1893), a defense quoted with approval in Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 78-79, 58 S.Ct. If the power was not given, Congress could not exercise it; if given, they might exercise it, although it should interfere with the laws, or even the Constitution of the States." But the Framers were not single-minded. 371, 386, 76 L.Ed. We believe, however, that there is a more fundamental problem at work here, a problem that explains why the Court was never able to provide a basis for the governmental/proprietary distinction in the intergovernmental tax-immunity cases and why an attempt to draw similar distinctions with respect to federal regulatory authority under National League of Cities is unlikely to succeed regardless of how the distinctions are phrased. Const., Art. App. See also Nagel, Federalism as a Fundamental Value: National League of Cities in Perspective, 1981 S.Ct.Rev. Id., at 50-51. See Abel, The Commerce Clause in the Constitutional Convention and in Contemporary Comment, 25 Minn.L.Rev. In Long Island R. Co. the unanimous Court recognized that "[t]his Court's emphasis on traditional governmental functions and traditional aspects of state sovereignty was not meant to impose a static historical view of state functions generally immune from federal regulation."

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