Historically, federalism acted as a safeguard of American freedoms. Under the Constitution, the federal government was assigned specific limited powers and most government functions were left to the states. Unfortunately, policymakers and courts have mainly discarded federalism in recent decades.

More on Federalism


On Constitution Day, Remember the Anti-Federalists

By Trevor Burrus. Daily Caller. September 17, 2013.

Next Steps for Marriage Equality

By Trevor Burrus. Huffington Post. June 28, 2013.

Time for Real Federalism

By Doug Bandow. American Spectator (Online). April 8, 2013.

Cato Studies

Libertarianism and Federalism

By Ilya Somin. Policy Analysis No. 751. June 30, 2014.

State-Based Visas: A Federalist Approach to Reforming U.S. Immigration Policy

By Brandon Fuller and Sean Rust. Policy Analysis No. 748. April 23, 2014.

How States Talk Back to Washington and Strengthen American Federalism

By John Dinan. Policy Analysis No. 744. December 3, 2013.


Dragooning State Officials into Federal Service

Roger Pilon. Federalism and Separation of Powers News. Fall 1996.

Public Filings

Cannon v. United States

By Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus and Julio Colomba. Legal Briefs. August 21, 2014.

Lepak v. City of Irving

By Ilya Shapiro and Matt Gilliam. Legal Briefs. January 28, 2013.

Shelby County v. Holder

By Ilya Shapiro and Matt Gilliam. Legal Briefs. January 2, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Immigration and the Public Coffers

Policy Report. September/October 2014.

Fiscal Federalism

Chris Edwards. Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 7th Edition (2009).


Roots of Liberty: Unlocking the Federalist Papers

Featuring Roger Pilon. August 27, 2014. Book Forum.

Suspending the Law: The Obama Administration’s Approach to Extending Executive Power and Evading Judicial Review

Featuring Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Andrew M. Grossman and Ilya Shapiro. May 21, 2014. Policy Forum.

Funding the REAL ID Act: Improved Homeland Security or More Washington Waste?

Featuring Jim Harper. July 20, 2007. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Fiscal Federalism

By Chris Edwards. February 2009.