J.D. Tuccille on Ballot Initiatives That Revive Federalism


Smoking joint

There's an important constitutional issue on ballots across the country next month, but it's not labeled by its name anywhere that it appears. That issue encompasses concerns traditionally considered both conservative and liberal, even if it is embraced oh-so-selectively by its new-found friends. That's right, says Reason 24/7 Managing Editor J.D. Tuccille, federalism is back, though you'll find it labeled "marijuana legalization," "health care choice," or even "state sovereignty." In all cases, the ballot measures are criticized as symbolic or futile challenges to federal policy—but, as such, they also represent tests of just how much free rein the states retain in a country increasingly dominated by the behemoth on the banks of the Potomac. And, hell, if you don't tweak D.C. from time to time, you're just not trying.