1876) (Elliot). The Court's analysis reaffirming Fry explicitly weighed the seriousness of the problem addressed by the federal legislation at issue in that case, against the effects of compliance on state sovereignty. 537-547. . Of course, we continue to recognize that the States occupy a special and specific position in our constitutional system and that the scope of Congress' authority under the Commerce Clause must reflect that position. Even as regards the FLSA, Congress incorporated special provisions concerning overtime pay for law enforcement and firefighting personnel when it amended the FLSA in 1974 in order to take account of the special concerns of States and localities with respect to these positions. The Court's action reflects a serious misunderstanding, if not an outright rejection, of the history of our country and the intention of the Framers of the Constitution.19. National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833 (1976), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Fair Labor Standards Act could not constitutionally be applied to state governments. ; the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 79 Stat. In a practical sense, SAMTA's operations might well be characterized as "local." 71, 19 L.Ed. The States were to retain authority over those local concerns of greatest relevance and importance to the people. Similarly, we have considered whether exempting States from federal regulation would undermine the goals of the federal program. * There are, of course, numerous examples over the history of this Court in which prior decisions have been reconsidered and overruled. In that case, the Court of Appeals looked to (1) whether the function benefits the community as a whole and is made available at little or no expense; (2) whether it is undertaken for public service or pecuniary gain; (3) whether government is its principal provider; and (4) whether government is particularly suited to perform it because of a community-wide need. The States unquestionably do "retai[n] a significant measure of sovereign authority." 7, 11, 22, 42, 45. The proper resolution, I suggest, lies in weighing state autonomy as a factor in the balance when interpreting the means by which Congress can exercise its authority on the States as States. § 1251 et seq. 45, p. 313 (J. Cooke ed. While the Court applied the distinction outlined in South Carolina for the following 40 years, at no time during that period did the Court develop a consistent formulation of the kinds of governmental functions that were entitled to immunity. That case, accordingly, is overruled. The Court based the expansion on the authority of Congress, through the Necessary and Proper Clause, "to resort to all means for the exercise of a granted power which are appropriate and plainly adapted to the permitted end." § 207(k). Madison considered that the operations of the Federal Government would be "most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State Governments in times of peace and security." 44 Fed.Reg. See also Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Recl. But the luxury of precise definitions is one rarely enjoyed in interpreting and applying the general provisions of our Constitution. 426 U.S., at 856, 96 S.Ct., at 2476 (BLACKMUN, J., concurring). Justice BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court. Of course, the Commerce Clause by its specific language does not provide any special limitation on Congress' actions with respect to the States. Nor need we go beyond what is required for a reasoned disposition of the kind of controversy now before the Court.". See also Massachusetts v. United States, 435 U.S. 444, 457, and n. 14, 98 S.Ct. II, § 1. 2202, 72 L.Ed.2d 639 (1982). 106-108 (J. Cooke ed. . A number of the cases it cites simply do not involve the problem of defining governmental functions. This is as true today as it was when the Constitution was adopted. . 2897, 73 L.Ed.2d 1309 (1982). where the federal interest is demonstrably greater and where state . It is at these state and local levels—not in Washington as the Court so mistakenly thinks that "democratic self-government" is best exemplified. SATS received its first UMTA subsidy, a $4.1 million capital grant, in December 1970. 101 (1869). Likewise, George Mason feared that "the general government being paramount to, and in every respect more powerful than the state governments, the latter must give way to the former." 836. 1054, 1064, 75 L.Ed.2d 18 (1983) (STEVENS, J., concurring). City Summit is the only opportunity for all local officials—elected and staff—to learn about the issues affecting local governments and expand their professional network. 2 Schwartz, The Bill of Rights, supra, at 983-1167. 1109, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 206(c), 80 Stat. National League of Cities v. Usery, 426 U.S. 833 (1976), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Fair Labor Standards Act could not constitutionally be applied to state governments. When Congress first subjected state mass-transit systems to FLSA obligations in 1966, and when it expanded those obligations in 1974, it simultaneously provided extensive funding for state and local mass transit through UMTA. Wechsler, The Political Safeguards of Federalism: The Role of the States in the Composition and Selection of the National Government, 54 Colum.L.Rev. Assn., 452 U.S. 264, 287-293, 101 S.Ct. Urban Mass Transportation: Hearings on H.R. Nor does it identify the circumstances in which the "political process" may fail and "affirmative limits" are to be imposed. 291 (1934) ("usual"); United States v. California, 297 U.S. 175, 185, 56 S.Ct. always been regarded as exceptional in our polity, an intrusion to be justified by some necessity, the special rather than the ordinary case." 877-827-2385. 204, 226, 5 L.Ed. 847, 860-868 (1979). FERC v. Mississippi, 456 U.S. 742, 790, 102 S.Ct. 291 (1934). 1448 (1938). 557 F.Supp., at 453.4. Assn., 452 U.S. 264, 276-277, 101 S.Ct. . Fry v. United States, 421 U.S. 542, 95 S.Ct. As a result, there is now a real risk that Congress will gradually erase the diffusion of power between State and Nation on which the Framers based their faith in the efficiency and vitality of our Republic. See Hodel, 452 U.S., at 290 -292, 101 S.Ct., at 2367-2368. In the decades since ratification of the Constitution, interstate economic activity has steadily expanded. 579 (1819) ]. See McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. Apparently the Court believes that when "an unelected federal judiciary" makes decisions as to whether a particular function is one for the Federal or State Governments, the States no longer may engage in "social and economic experiment." Helvering v. Powers, 293 U.S. 214, 55 S.Ct. denied, 459 U.S. 1146, 103 S.Ct. ; and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, 88 Stat. We would do well to recall the constitutional basis for federalism and the development of the commerce power which has come to displace it. The opinion did not explain what aspects of such decisions made them such an "undoubted attribute," and the Court since then has remarked on the uncertain scope of the concept. Sign up for the latest updates to support your virus response efforts! But see United States v. Scott, 437 U.S. 82, 86-87, 98 S.Ct. . Maryland v. Wirtz, 392 U.S. 183, 88 S.Ct. The income tax at issue in Powers, supra, took effect less than a decade before the tax years for which it was challenged, while the federal tax whose application was upheld in New York v. United States took effect in 1932 and was rescinded less than two years later. National League of Cities, 426 U.S., at 846-851, 96 S.Ct., at 2471-2474. 342, 357, 55 L.Ed. 609 (1941), rejected its previous interpretations of the commerce power which had stymied New Deal legislation. In short, Congress has not simply placed a financial burden on the shoulders of States and localities that operate mass-transit systems, but has provided substantial countervailing financial assistance as well, assistance that may leave individual mass-transit systems better off than they would have been had Congress never intervened at all in the area. It was thus generally agreed that consideration of a bill of rights would be among the first business of the new Congress. Arizona v. Rumsey, 467 U.S. 203, 212, 104 S.Ct. Indeed, the Court's view of federalism appears to relegate the States to precisely the trivial role that opponents of the Constitution feared they would occupy.17. Antifederalists raised these concerns in almost every state ratifying convention.14 See generally 1-4 Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (J. Elliot 2d. denied, 459 U.S. 976, 103 S.Ct. The Court does not address this point; nor does it cite any authority for its contrary view. Curiously, the Court then suggests that under the application of the "traditional" governmental function analysis, "the States cannot serve as laboratories for social and economic experiment." .". Id., at 687-689, 102 S.Ct., at 1355-1356.