I just read that the topic of federal preemption was considered arcane only a few years ago. This surprised me, since the issue seems to pop up all over the news these days, particularly regarding immigration, clean air laws, and consumer products standards.
Complaints against federal preemption ring a powerful chord with me, since they typically revolve around the very American notion of self-determination for states and protecting states’ historic mandate to protect their citizens from corporate rapine.
I have to note, however, that corporations ~ on which the very prosperity and well-being of our economic way of life depend ~ insist that federal preemption offers a consistent and vital safeguard against unwarranted and inconsistent state interferences with the national economy, chiefly by insulating carefully crafted regulatory compromises from the machinations of aggressive trial lawyers and state attorneys general.
Then states’ autonomy is something to be safeguarded and fought for at every turn; but it is also fair that federal mandate should have the power to rein in states that pursue extremities of autonomy such that they interfere with the smooth integration of the country’s fifty parts into a single, federated whole.
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