Shield of Federalism: Interstate Compacts in Our Constitution

From the Texas Public Policy Foundation
Center for Tenth Amendment Studies

by Ted Cruz

Senior Fellow, Center for Tenth Amendment Studies

Mario Loyola
Director, Center for Tenth Amendment Studies

Key Points

  • As shields, interstate compacts can protect areas of State regulation from federal power.
  • Interstate compacts allow States to initiate changes in federal law.
  • Interstate compacts are one way that States, working together, can reassert their proper role within the Constitution?s balance of federalism.
The American Republic is facing one of the greatest challenges of our history. In Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike have indulged the runaway spending and regulatory overreach of a federal government that continues to expand the scope of its powers 
unabated. ! e Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (?ObamaCare?) marks a dramatic new milestone in that expansion. Americans are starting to realize that restoring and protecting self-government requires a return to our founding principles of limited government and local control.
As this nationwide movement gathers momentum, Americans are searching for tools to restore the Constitution?s founding principles. Among the most promising is the interstate compact. Its power as a constitutional device to regulate a multitude of regional issues has already been demonstrated: More than 200 interstate compacts are currently in force. And yet, as this paper shows, that power remains largely unexploited.

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