Writing in the DC Examiner, the Cato Institute's Gene Healy cautions against getting too excited about President Barack Obama's alleged commitment to federalism:
Friends of federalism cheered last month when the Obama administration reversed the Bush policy of prosecuting medical marijuana cases in states that have legalized the practice. Welcome though that change was, let's hold the applause.
Not yet a year into his administration, Obama's record on 10th Amendment issues is already clear: He'll let the states have their way when their policies please blue team sensibilities and he'll call in the feds when they don't. Thus, he'll grant California a waiver to allow it to raise auto emissions standards, but he'll bring the hammer down when the state tries to cut payments to unionized health care workers….
Our federal system shouldn't be a red team/blue team issue, respected or flouted depending on who's up and who's down. Conservatives are learning to rue their abandonment of federalist principles during the last administration; liberals may come to regret their rush toward centralization during the next.