States Rights

Michael Bitzer

When the constitution’s framers developed the American system to handle governing power, they divided power in two distinct ways: the first is horizontally, by giving pieces of different powers (law-making, law-executing, law-adjudicating) to different branches of government. Hence, our “checks and balances” approach to government.

The second distinct way is by dividing power vertically, through a system we now call federalism on the levels of national, state, and local.