Federalism: The Big Issue

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Of course most of the noise about what’s at stake in this and other Supreme Court nomination battles concerns the hot-button ‘cultural’ issues: gay rights, abortion, etc. That’s understandable: passions are high, motivated constituencies are well-formed, and the issues are clear, at least on a emotional level, to a wide swath of the public.

A couple of conservative nominees will of course, cause progressives headaches on all these issues, and with enough time reverse a lot of important gains that have come through the courts. But even more damage can be done if the Supreme Court starts chipping away at the federal government’s authority to make laws for all states. There has already been some movement in this direction under this court, but another justice à la Thomas would firm up the anti-federalist block, and put 60 years of laws at risk.

So it is certainly good news that Senator Arlen Specter, the Republican Chair of the Judiciary Committee, has decided to bare his moderate chops and demand some answers from Roberts on his thoughts about how far Congress’s authority to regulate interstate commerce ought to go. I have little doubt that Roberts will say the right answers. But at least he’ll be asked the right questions.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate