Democracy Works: When States Sue The Federal Government
It seems like every few weeks, we see headlines about states banding together to block actions taken by the federal government. You might even remember former Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott quipping that he goes to the office, sues the federal government, then goes home.
How do those lawsuits take shape? How does a state decide whether to join or not? How does that impact the balance of power between federal and state governments? This week's guest is uniquely qualified to answer all of those questions.
Since taking office in January 2017, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has been involved with more than a dozen suits brought against the federal government on matters ranging from family separation at the border to EPA emissions regulations. Though Shapiro is a Democrat, he says his chief motivation in joining these suits is the rule of law and a commitment to do what's right for people of Pennsylvania.
Whether or not you agree with Shapiro's politics, he does present an interesting take on the role that states play as a check on the federal government. This power is a unique part of the American experiment and speaks to the power of democracy in the states.
Before the interview, Michael Berkman and Chris Beem dive into the origins of federalism, including Federalist 51, the 10th Amendment, and the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
This episode of Democracy Works was originally released in October.