930                                 ARIZONA LAW REVIEW                                       [Vol.31


to challenge the Constitutionality of an Internal Revenue Code provision denying a federal income tax exemption for interest earned on unregistered long-term state and local bonds.140 The Supreme Court assigned a special master to hear the case and the National Governors Association intervened.141 In response to South Carolina's exceptions to the special master's findings in favor of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Supreme Court ruled that the statute does not violate the tenth amendment and that state bond interest is not immune from nondiscriminatory federal tax.142 In reaching its conclusion, the Court extended its position in Garcia, observing that in order to invalidate an act of Congress as violative of the tenth amendment, the states would have to show that the federal political process operated in a defective manner.143 The Court declined to identify or define the defects that might lead to an invalidation.144




Garcia and Baker concluded a long line of cases that interpreted the tenth amendment.  The inconsistency in the interpretation of this amendment seems partially due to its lack of express language.145 This lack of specificity caused many disagreements over the relationship between the federal government and the states.146 In a sense, however, the tenth amendment simply provides a general declaration that a line shall be drawn between the federal and state governments. Where the line is drawn, however, is heavily dependant on the decisions of the Supreme Court and, thereby, the ideological makeup of the Court.

Once political influences, such as those of the New Deal era, shifted the ideological makeup of the Supreme Court, the restraints on the federal government's exercise of authority under the Commerce Clause were virtually eliminated.147 Unrestrained, the federal government's power, under the Commerce Clause, grew and the states' power, under the tenth amendment, shrank.148 While the expansion enabled the federal government to combat the "cumulative evil[s] affecting national commerce" and, thereby, produce some positive social benefits,149 it also set the stage for a reduction of state and local government autonomy.150

After Garcia and Baker, the state's influence in the federal political process

Previous < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 > Next 

140. Id. at l359.

141. Id.

142. Id. at 1368-69.

143. Id. at 1361.

144. Id. at 1360-61

145. C. PRITCHETT, supra note 53, at 54.

146. Id,

147. REGULATORY REFORM, supra note 11, 26-32.

148. "Enlargement of [the national government's ability to tax and regulate] involves diminution of [state immunity]." National League of Cities, 426 U.S. at 869 n.10 (Brennan, J. dissenting). "[Furthermore,] by usurping functions traditionally performed by the States, federal overreaching under the Commerce Clause undermines the constitutionally mandated balance of power between the States and the Federal Government, a balance designed to protect our fundamental liberties." Garcia, 469 U.S. at 572 (Powell, J., dissenting).

149. Hodel, 452 U.S. at 309 (Rehnquist, J., concurring) (quoting L. TRIBE, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 237 (1978)).

150. Id.

Previous < 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 > Next