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State Autonomy in Germany and the United States

Daniel Halberstam and Roderick M. Hills, Jr.
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 574, The Supreme Court's Federalism: Real or Imagined? (Mar., 2001), pp. 173-184
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1049063
Page Count: 12
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State Autonomy in Germany and the United States
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Abstract

Both the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany have mechanisms by which their component jurisdictions-states or Länder-can either implement federal law or resist such implementation. The authors describe the different constitutional mechanisms by which the two federal regimes induce state cooperation and protect state autonomy. They then offer some speculations as to how such constitutional rules might affect cooperative federalism in the two nations, arguing that the German system provides more categorical and therefore more secure protection of the Länder, whereas the U. S. system provides for a more flexible system of cooperative federalism. This flexibility of the U. S. system, the authors suggest, allows for vertical competition between the federal government and the states, which may provide a valuable tool to combat inefficiency in policy implementation.

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