Federal Preemption Must Be Explicit

AZ: Obama Administration Sues to Block Arizona Immigration Law

Supreme Court 2009-2010: Pro-Corporate, But Continued Trend Towards Deferral to State Authority

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ended its term with a bang with a ruling in McDonald v. City of Chicago that state gun control regulations can be struck down by federal courts based on the Second Amendment. While the number and scale of blockbuster decisions was not so high this session, the singular impact of the Citizens United case earlier in the term unleashing unregulated corporate money on elections, combined with the dangerous implications of the Rent-A-Center, West v. Jackson arbitration decision, emphasizes the pro-corporate bias the Supreme Court has increasingly exercised in recent years.

Debating Federalism: Conservative False History and Hypocrisy vs. Progressive Collaborative Federalism

The challenge for progressives from this “states rights” movement is not that any of these laws are likely to survive in court, but that conservatives too often get away with claiming to stand for constitutional values without significant challenge from progressives.  The reality is that the right wing has no credibility in promoting their states’ rights arguments and should be challenged more directly.  As this Dispatch will outline, their arguments fail on multiple grounds.

What States Gain and Lose Under Proposed US Senate Climate Change Bill

After years of states leading the fight to promote clean energy and reverse climate change and the House passing an energy bill last year, U.S. Senate leaders have finally introduced climate change legislation, the American Power Act (APA).  The bill is lengthy and complex with compromises that many leading environmental groups object to, although other groups have more positive evaluations of the bill as a flawed, but important step forward.

Financial Reform: Keep State AGs and State Law on the Beat Against Predatory Lending Practices

As Congress debates federal financial reform legislation, a key priority for financial industry lobbyists remains gutting provisions that would strengthen enforcement by state attorneys general and stopping the partial restoration of state powers to regulate national bank abuses against consumers.  As we detailed three years ago, much of the damage to communities from subprime lending might have been avoided if the Bush Administration had not been able to shut down most state anti-predatory lending laws early in the decade.

Tuesday's Lesson: Bold State Leadership Needed More than Ever

Gridlock.  Slow fulfillment of promises of change in D.C.  A health care bill so compromised that even supporters are unhappy with many details. Frustration with D.C. seemed to be the clearest message from Massachusetts voters on Tuesday. But what can we expect other than gridlock and resistance when a 59-seat super-majority in the U.S. Senate is insufficient to pass serious legislation?  Or when monied interests in D.C. buy off support to block serious reforms on financial regulations, health care and climate change legislation? This is why bold, progressive leadership in the states matters. 

Compromise Preserves State Power to Protect Consumers from Abuses by National Banks in Proposed U.S. House Bill

Yesterday, the U.S. House Banking Committee defeated amendments that would have gutted provisions in law to restore state powers to protect consumers of national banks.  Instead, the Committee approved compromise language that, while not as expansive in the protection of state legislation as the Obama administration had urged, is still a significant victory overall against large financial interests.  By a vote of 29-38, the committee defeated a proposed amendment by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) that would have preempted all state regulation of national financial institutions.

Protecting State Consumer Protection from Preemption in Federal Financial Reform

The context of this call is that, in the wake of the financial meltdown that engulfed the country last year largely caused by fraud and predatory lending, Congress is now debating the Consumer Financial Protection Agency Act (CFPA Act, H 3126). The act would create a consumer product protection agency for financial products analogous to the Consumer Product Safety Board.