Greg Sargent: SCOTUS Sides with Federal Power





Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left. He joined the Post in early 2009, after stints at Talking Points Memo, New York Magazine and the New York Observer. He lives in Maryland with his wife, son and daughter.

...In the broadest possible sense, this can be seen as the start of a third era in which the Court wrestles with questions surrounding the expansion of federal power — each era different from the other, says James O’Hara, a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society.

During the New Deal, Franklin Delano Roosevelt sought to expand the federal government’s management of the economy to cope with the Great Depression. While the court initially dealt Roosevelt plenty of setbacks, the era as a whole can be seen as a ratification of Roosevelt’s broad contention that the crisis merited expansive federal intervension.

During the Warren Court, a liberal era, questions surrounding federal authority were different — and were more directly concerned with the battle between federal power and states’ rights. The Court frequently upheld the federal government’s authority over states on matters ranging from civil rights to voting to education....

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