by Rob Natelson

Effectively defending American federalism requires us to remember that federalism was not created by the states – nor was it created for state benefit.

Federalism was fashioned by the American people – for the benefit of individuals and of the people as a whole. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, possibly the most eminent defender of the Tenth Amendment to sit on the modern Supreme Court, put it this way:

The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: “Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.”


Rob Natelson