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


Conservative Hypocrisy on Local Power

By Ted Galen Carpenter. National Interest (Online). June 1, 2016.

Brexit and the Lessons of American Federalism

By Doug Bandow. American Conservative. May 3, 2016.

US Should Follow Australia’s Lead: Return to Federalist System Founders Envisioned

By Daniel J. Mitchell. CNSNews.com. April 5, 2016.

Cato Studies

The Federal Emergency Management Agency: Floods, Failures, and Federalism

By Chris Edwards. Policy Analysis No. 764. November 18, 2014.

Public Attitudes toward Federalism: The Public’s Preference for Renewed Federalism

By John Samples and Emily Ekins. Policy Analysis No. 759. September 23, 2014.

Libertarianism and Federalism

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


Dragooning State Officials into Federal Service

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

Public Filings

Energy & Env’t Legal Inst. v. Epel

By Joshua P. Thompson, Anthony L. François, Jonathan Wood, Ilya Shapiro, & Randal John Meyer. Legal Briefs. November 13, 2015.

Corr v. Metro. Washington Airports Authority

By S. Kyle Duncan and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. September 18, 2014.

Cannon v. United States

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

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).


“A Loaded Weapon”: The Growth of Executive Power

Featuring Gene Healy. May 18, 2016. Capitol Hill Briefing.

James Buckley on Reviving Federalism

Featuring Roger Pilon and Chris Edwards. December 1, 2014. Capitol Hill Briefing.

Roots of Liberty: Unlocking the Federalist Papers

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

Downsizing the Federal Government

Fiscal Federalism

By Chris Edwards. February 2009.