Federalism

Thoughts on Trump's Potential Plan to Cut Federal Grants to "Anarchist Jurisdictions"

For the moment, the executive "memorandum" is long on rhetoric, but short on actual action. If it ever does lead to action, it could be yet another attack on federalism and separation of powers.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Yesterday, the White House issued a memorandum on cutting federal grants to "anarchist jurisdictions," by which they seem to mean local governments that don't pursue the sorts of aggressive law enforcement policies the administration favors. In and of itself, the memorandum is long on rhetoric condemning supposed "anarchy," but short on actual action.

It could be that the document is mostly a PR move intended to stoke Trump's base, and bolster the "law and order" theme of his presidential campaign. If the administration does end up actually trying to condition federal grants on adherence to the policies outlined in the memorandum, it would be yet another attack on federalism and separation of powers, similar to that resulting from Trump's attempts to deny federal grants to "sanctuary cities" unless the latter began assisting federal deportation policies.

Unlike the executive order and Justice Department policies targeting sanctuary jurisdictions, the new memorandum on "anarchist" jurisdictions doesn't actually order any denial of federal funds or impose any new conditions on grant recipients. Rather, it merely instructs the Director of the Office Management and Budget (OMB) to, within 14 days, "issue guidance to the heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) for each agency to submit a report to the Director of OMB detailing all Federal funds provided to Seattle, Portland, New York City, Washington, D.C., or any components or instrumentalities of the foregoing jurisdictions." In addition, "[w]ithin 14 days of the date of this memorandum, and updated as appropriate but no less than every 6 months thereafter, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB, shall publish on the Department of Justice website a list identifying State and local jurisdictions that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions)."

Among the policies used to identify supposed "anarchist jurisdictions" are factors such as "whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments," whether it "unreasonably refuses to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the Federal Government," and whether it bars "the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction."

Significantly, however, the memorandum doesn't actually identify any particular federal grants that are to be cut or denied until such time as the jurisdiction in question ends law enforcement policies the White House disapproves of. The only actual mandate the memorandum imposes is a requirement that OMB and the Justice Department require a "review" of federal grants to several cities, and create a list of "anarchist" jurisdictions based on the vague criteria described above. It is far from clear what, if any, federal grants the administration would deny the offending "anarchists."

If the administration ultimately does identify specific federal grants that it wants to cut unless the targeted jurisdictions adopt law-enforcement policies that are more to the White House's liking, it could end up raising the same sorts of federalism and separation of powers issues as the administration's campaign against sanctuary cities. In that field, the administration has suffered a long series of defeats in court because the conditions the administration sought to impose on federal grants either were never authorized by Congress (which controls the power of the purse), infringed on state and local autonomy under the Constitution, or both. The same thing could easily happen here if the administration once again tries to make up its own spending conditions in order to force states and localities to do its bidding. Trump has attempted to do the same thing on a variety of other issues, including trying to use the threat of funding cutoffs to prevent states from expanding vote-by-mail opportunities in the upcoming presidential election.

If the administration succeeds in these efforts, it would set a dangerous precedent enabling the president to circumvent congressional control over federal spending, and bully states and localities into submission on a wide range of issues, that go far beyond immigration, law enforcement, or voting. Conservatives who may cheer Trump's attacks on "anarchist jurisdictions" and sanctuary cities may not be so happy if Joe Biden or some other future Democratic president uses the same sweeping powers to force state and local government to adopt left-wing policies on gun control, education, environmental regulation, and much else.

Conservatives and others who value local and state autonomy should be wary of federal efforts to impose uniform policies on such quintessentially local issues as combating street crime. If even that must be brought under the control of the White House, it is not clear what, if anything, would be left to the states.

More generally, both right and left have reason to fear the kind of increasing concentration of power in the White House that would occur if the president had a free hand to control the federal budget and use it to pressure states and localities on a wide range of policies. That would both threaten valuable diversity in state and local policy, and undermine one of the best ways to mitigate the dangerous political polarization between "red" and "blue" states.

Condemning the administration's approach here does not require us to approve of all the law-enforcement policies adopted by liberal Democratic localities, some of which have indeed been overly tolerant of violence and rioting. As I have emphasized in the past, we should be able to take strong action to curtail police abuse and racial profiling, while simultaneously also rejecting rioting, looting, and private violence. The latter are both intrinsically evil and likely to undermine the cause of ending racial discrimination and other unjust law enforcement practices. I'm also skeptical of indiscriminate "defunding" of police, even though there are beneficial ways to cut funding and limit police activity in a more targeted fashion.

But the sins of some liberal local governments do not justify White House efforts to undermine federalism and separation of powers. Nor do they justify abuses by federal law enforcement agencies, such as those we recently saw in Portland. It would be better if the White House stuck to actual responsibilities of the federal government, and left local law enforcement alone, except in cases where the latter violates constitutional rights or properly enacted federal law.

NEXT: Cancelling Justice Jackson?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “seem to mean local governments that don’t pursue the sorts of aggressive law enforcement policies the administration favors”

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?

    Arresting arsonists and looters constitutes “aggressive law enforcement policies”?

    No, issuing a “shoot to kill” order and actually shooting the arsonists and looters would constitute an “aggressive” policy and it’s actually been done with some frequency in the past. Chicago’s Mayor Daley did it in 1968 and Mississippi did it after Hurricane Katrina.

    1. Re: Chicago:
      “Use of excessive force in the apprehension of the Blues Brothers has been approved.”

    2. But Trump is NOT incharge of enforcing law on the state level it is all comes under the authority the constitution gives the states. The states then delegates some of that authority to the local governments. The time that the president can step in is if the local authorities either will NOT enforce the law or for some reason cannot or if the federals are invited in. The only place that has happened is Kenosha when the mayor ask for national guard forces.

      1. Well, no, Kenosha may be the only place they asked for the national guard forces, but it’s hardly the only place local authorities refused to enforce the law.

        Equal protection of the law is a core 14th amendment right, so the systematic decision to let certain groups prey on certain other groups IS a federal matter.

        1. Yes, and the 14th Amendment explicitly anticipated that, and further made it an individual rather than a group right.

        2. Brett, that legal theory is bullshit and you know it.

          1. Now, that’s a silly thing to say; Perhaps it is bullshit, but why on Earth would you assume I know it?

            I see this all the time on the left: Not just assuming that you’re right about something, (Everybody does that, of course.) but assuming that your foes privately agree with you that you’re right, and pretend otherwise for some reason or other.

            It’s like you can’t wrap your heads around the idea of people genuinely disagreeing with you!

            In this specific instance, I’m asserting that the meaning of “equal protection of the law” is that states can’t deprive particular groups of the protection of the law: If burning down your house is going to be prosecuted as arson, burning down MY house must be. If I would be prosecuted for committing that arson, so would you be.

            The states aren’t allowed to play favorites. But that’s exactly what is going on with these riots. The local governments have decided that they won’t enforce existing laws in the case of the rioters.

            And does anyone genuinely think that they’d stick by that position if the right decided to riot? Well, obviously some people ARE stupid enough to think that, (See my point above.) but is this a common expectation? Is it your expectation, that if the Proud Boys came into Portland, and started looting and burning, they’d receive the same deference?

            Is it?

            1. You just argued EPC makes all riots a federal matter.
              Your position is not supported by facts, history, or caselaw.

              You oftentimes find yourself caught up defending a particular Trump action that requires you to espouse a wild theory that you have not, and will not, follow generally. Like this big government bit of nonsense.

              I wouldn’t come here if I wasn’t fine with people disagreeing with me. But this isn’t an argument; it’s a rationalization. Which explains your sweaty wall of text I’m replying to.

              1. “You just argued EPC makes all riots a federal matter.”

                No, I didn’t. I argued that the EPC makes a political decision not to prosecute rioters a federal matter.

                The riots aren’t a federal matter, the failure of the local government to act against rioters when they like their politics is.

                Just as, during Jim Crow, the Klan wasn’t a federal matter, but local governments letting the Klan run wild was.

                The EPC doesn’t entitle you to not have crimes committed against you. It entitles you to equal protection of the law. It’s not equal protection of the law if a local government decides it isn’t going to enforce the law where the victims of crime are people it doesn’t like, or the perpetrators of crime are people it does like.

                1. Rioters are getting prosecuted, though.

            2. “I see this all the time on the left”

              But you can never see it when it comes from the right, for some reason. It’s almost like anything that doesn’t fit your expectations doesn’t really exist.

              ” Is it your expectation, that if the Proud Boys came into Portland, and started looting and burning, they’d receive the same deference?”

              Take this for example. You think the Proud Boys AREN’T coming into Portland and rioting.

            3. It’s like you can’t wrap your heads around the idea of people genuinely disagreeing with you!

              Says Brett Bellmore. Not all accusations are confessions, but some are.

  2. If a local jurisdiction attempts to “defund the police”, they get defunded, thus guaranteeing that police funding gets cut. This is the kind of well-thought-out federal policy Mr. Trump is known for.

    1. As opposed to the 55 MPH or Age 21 mandates?

      1. Get it brought to a vote and maybe then you can get all these laws you don’t agree with repealed or changed to your liking. But if you fail the laws are still laws and even you will have to follow them or suffer the consequences.

        1. What you’re saying, somewhat incoherently, is that we must reject Prof. Somin’s claim that Trump’s (so far hypothetical) executive actions violate principles of federalism as currently understood, since as long as it’s put to a vote the federal government can use its spending power to coerce states into pretty much anything. But you endorse his claim that the current understanding of separation of powers is violated. Not sure how you (or he) square this contention with the precedent of President “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” Obama, but TDS generally precludes rational discussion, so I won’t expect a cogent answer.

          1. ” TDS generally precludes rational discussion, so I won’t expect a cogent answer.

            Get your TDS treated, and join the conversation.

            Hint: Mr. “pen and phone” Obama was referring to the fact that he could (and did) call up Congress people and get them to pass bills through the House and even, occasionally, past Mitch. That phone he had worked to call people and remind them he had broad popular support. Something Mr. Trump can only dream about.

            1. “Stroke of the pen, law of the land.” referred to executive orders, not statutes.

            2. Hint: Mr. “pen and phone” Obama was referring to the fact that he could (and did) call up Congress people and get them to pass bills through the House and even, occasionally, past Mitch.

              What shameless revisionism. Obama actually said exactly the opposite:

              We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating,” the president said.

              I’ve got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life, nonprofits, businesses, the private sector, universities to try to bring more and more Americans together around what I think is a unifying theme: making sure that this is a country where, if you work hard, you can make it,” he added.

              https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-i-will-use-my-pen-and-phone-to-take-on-congress/

              1. BFD. So because Obama wanted to use executive orders for some purposes that means any order trump wants to issue is legal? That’s a fucking idiotic argument.

                I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Trump cult repeats it endlessly, but that doesn’t make it valid.

                1. BFD. So because Obama wanted to use executive orders for some purposes that means any order trump wants to issue is legal? That’s a fucking idiotic argument.

                  As usual, please try to focus on what people are actually saying before spouting off. From the top, with small words and short sentences:

                  1. JP flatly… erm, misstated what Obama was referring to in his “pen and phone” statement.
                  2. I provided a sourced quote of the actual words from Obama’s mouth.
                  3. The two didn’t match. At all.

                  Not complicated in the least unless you’re trying to make it so.

        2. ” But if you fail the laws are still laws and even you will have to follow them”

          You mean like the Anti-Klan Act of 1871?

          Yes, that’s still valid law and unless/until it is repealed, Trump has every right to use it.

          1. “unless/until it is repealed, Trump has every right to use it.”

            Assuming he pays attention when a staff member brings it up.

          2. Perhaps you and Prof. Volokh should co-author a law review article explaining why the Anti-Klan Act of 1871 entitles, if not compels, a a law professor to use a vile racial slur every chance he can find.

  3. “abuses by federal law enforcement agencies, such as those we recently saw in Portland”

    There goes yesterday’s agreement with Prof. Somin.

    No “abuses” actually happened. One dude without evidence made allegations and then the Dem propaganda arm ran with it.

    1. Then the federal agency involved said “yeah, that was us”, and then the President appeared on television and bragged about how tough he was because he sent people 3000 miles away from him to fight his fight.

      1. And yet, a federal court, actually hearing evidence instead of simply spewing TDS like Prof. Somin, couldn’t find anything worthy of a remedy.

      2. It is NEVER the president that does the fighting and never has. But you will not have to worry about that if Biden is elected for two reasons. First one you will not have anything to fight with except clubs (again M-15 and M-240) and Second reason expect a federal police force who will be armed just the same as the military.

        1. “It is NEVER the president that does the fighting and never has”

          I believe President Eisenhower had some fighting experience, and Grant; probably a couple of others will come to mind if I stop to do the homework.

          “expect a federal police force who will be armed just the same as the military.”

          They’re already deployed in Portland.

      3. “Then the federal agency involved said “yeah, that was us”, and then the President appeared on television and bragged about how tough he was because he sent people 3000 miles away from him to fight his fight.”

        He said “abuses”, neither of those are abuses.

        1. The dead guy counts as an abuse until further notice.

          1. The dead guy was shot resisting arrest with a firearm. According to eye witnesses.

            1. According to the guy who shot him. Possibly an unreliable witness.

          2. A dead guy who fired 40-50 rounds at the cops.

    2. And Trump got the local media to come out against arresting arsonists and looters right after they’d just finished claiming a change of heart.

    3. ” the Dem propaganda arm ran with it.”

      So President Trump is part of the “Dem propaganda arm”, then?

      (as conspiracy theories go, that’s a pretty good one.)

    4. “abuses by federal law enforcement agencies”

      A stack of dead bodies would be “abuses” — these claims are bullshite.

      1. There’s only one dead body in the stack at Portland (thus far)

        1. ….you mean outside of the guy that that particular man shot?

        2. Fire 40-50 rounds at the cops and what do you think happens next?!?

  4. The 2A protects these people as they are in the “unorganized militia”. So a historical example of the unorganized militia in action was when white Tulsa residents burned down the black part of town because a black teenager allegedly looked at a white woman. So in the Tulsa incident no criminal actions were brought against the whites because they were the unorganized militia. Another example of the unorganized militia would be lynch mobs.

    1. You’re conflating a mob with the militia.

      Why?

      1. Because the “unorganized militia“ has to be something and especially in the South lynch mobs went unpunished because they were exercising their 2A rights. Can you give me an example of the unorganized militia??

    2. It’s still a violation of the 14th Amendment.

      1. Now it is, so lynch mobs can’t be racist anymore. Is the mob racist? If not then they are unorganized militia exercising their 2A rights.

  5. I wonder if Portland, Oregon will qualify as an Anarchist Jurisdiction?

    Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler moving to avoid rioters targeting his home

    https://nypost.com/2020/09/02/portland-mayor-wheeler-moving-to-avoid-rioters-targeting-building/

    1. 1: I think he was kicked out.

      2: This is a terrible precedent.

    2. And just how many homes does the poor trodden down mayor have?
      Can he stay mayor if he moves to one of that is out of town limits?
      Is he going to pay for all the damage done to the condo building, or just have a special assessment against all the residents?
      Portland would qualify as an Anarchist Jurisdiction if they had actually dragged him out and executed hime and the full city council, but not at the moment.

      1. I still say this is a dangerous precedent.

        Could a democratic condo association expel a Jew because of antisemetic protests?

        1. The key is—are they acting as unorganized militia pursuant the 2A. So a great example of the unorganized militia was the KKK which patrolled America protecting Americans from Catholics and Jews and Blacks. The KKK’s actions were lawful at the time because it was exercising its 2A rights. So in a free polity the unorganized militia has the RKBA.

            1. State governments seceded and passed Jim Crow laws and the Framers thought very highly of the state governments. The unorganized militia just so happens to have presented as the KKK and lynch mobs and Justice Thomas apparently believes the unorganized militia should continue to be respected just like the government of Georgia which considered him an inferior person.

      2. “And just how many homes does the poor trodden down mayor have?”

        Not quite as many as the President.
        and housing shortage in Portland is old news, from before the protests.

  6. There are bad ideas, and then there are spectacularly bad ideas. This is a spectacularly bad idea from POTUS Trump. Why? Because many of his successors will assume the same powers in other contexts, and that will be at the expense of our liberty. No thanks.

    As a citizen, I am frustrated with the violence and mayhem. I can understand the motivation to want to be seen doing something, and especially in an election year. I get all of that, and I also get that right now all we have are words on a piece of paper; it is only a memo. I worry a lot what the next POTUS will do. Will it just be a memo, or something much more.

  7. Isn’t there some part of the Constitution which requires states to have a “republic form of government”? I am much too lazy to look for it. Maybe it is “representative” or “democratic”.

    Seems a pretty good case that if some city is not enforcing laws, such as letting looters and vandals off scot-free, it has failed to maintain the type of government required by that clause. Whether the current conditions suffice, I do not know. Whether a city devolving to anarchy taints the state, I do not know.

    It’s just a thought. IANACL.

      1. The Supreme Court found that it was up to the President and Congress to enforce this clause and that, as an inherently political question, it was outside the purview of the Court.

        That the supreme court found the guarantee clause not justicable in the courts does not mean that Congress and/or the President couldn’t act to enforce it.

        1. A law passed citing the power of the Guarantee Clause would be interesting.

          Not what we got here, though.

          1. “Not what we got here, though.”

            Agreed.

      2. On the other hand, cities aren’t states and the guarantee clause only applies to state government.

        1. From a federal constitutional standpoint, cities are just parts of states. They’re not independently recognized by the Constitution, city governments are just subdivisions of state governments.

        2. Cities are defined as “persons” under Section 1983….

          1. Which would be helpful information, if it were in any way relevant.

  8. Trump does a lot of stupid shit.
    He does some evil shit.

    However he also says a lot of shit he never acts on.

    In my opinion, he says a lot of shit he has no intention of ever acting on, just to watch the twitteraty’s heads explode.

    1. I think he generally has an intention of acting, it’s just that he lacks the knowledge and perseverance to follow through. Imprisoning Hillary Clinton is a classic example.

      The problem is that over time he’s purged a lot of the officials who restrained his more outrageous actions. And he’s getting more and more desperate as the election approaches to stay in power.

      I fully believe that Trump intends to spend the next two months doing whatever he can to remain in power. That includes interfering with mail-in ballots, trying to stir up trouble among urban black communities, and getting foreign countries to interfere on his behalf.

      I’d even say it’s more likely than not he’s trying to get intelligence agencies to spy on Biden’s campaign for him.

      1. “I fully believe that Trump intends to spend the next two months doing whatever he can to remain in power.”

        You say two months, I say six. He’s already asking people to try to vote for him twice.

    2. Trump is ADHD.

      He has to hear himself saying shit to determine if he agrees with it or not.

    3. He’s lazy, has a short attention span, and is kinda dumb, so yeah, he’s ineffective a lot of the time. But he wants these things.

      That’s what makes Barr dangerous – he’s actually a competent operator who for whatever reason likes the taste of Don’s anus.

      1. That has to do with judges and the other Republican operatives that Trump has surrounded himself with. The two outsiders that actually succeeded, Jackson and Reagan, succeeded because it was obvious 4 years out that they had a very good chance at winning so the establishment better get on board. Carter and Trump failed because they couldn’t staff up with loyalists and ended up with backstabbers like Tillerson and Cyrus Vance.

        1. That’s the problem with coming to Washington as an outsider: You don’t have a portfolio of trustworthy people to staff your administration with, and the only people who you can get advice from on who to hire do NOT have your best interests at heart.

          1. Are you saying that Mr. Trump wasn’t able to find people loyal to himself outside his own family? Because apparently Blago is quite loyal.

            1. He eventually found loyalists like Barr, but even someone like McGhan was acting a Republican operative and not a Trump loyalist. Quite frankly it is Trump’s fault because he appointed Tillerson on Condi Rice’s recommendation and Tillerson was obviously loyal to the Bush family and not Trump. Contrast that with James Baker who was loyal to Bush but knew the best way to advance Bush’s career was to be loyal to Reagan.

              1. It is somewhat Trump’s fault. He was too used to business, where people generally do change their loyalties when who signs their paycheck changes. I think he’s learned better, but it would have been nice if he’d come into office already aware of that problem.

                1. It is all his fault—I was telling Trump supporters I was around he was nuts for appointing Tillerson while they were saying it was a great pick. The huge blind spot that Republicans have, that I don’t, is they still don’t quite grasp how vile Bush loyalists are…so I am one of the very few Never Bush Republicans and after witnessing Jeb! spend $100 million attacking Rubio simply because he wants his son to be the first Latino president solidified my Never Bush stance more than ever.

                  1. W poisoned Jeb!’s chances.

                    Trump’s M.O. is to do nothing, then take credit for whatever was accomplished by somebody else no matter A) how little he understands what was accomplished, or B) how much he was against it while it was being accomplished.
                    That’s why he talked up a big game about how much he would get done in his first 100 days, starting with the repeal of the ACA on “day one”. Oops! Turns out that none of the Republicans in Congress had anything that was more popular than ACA, so they couldn’t pass anything even in the half of Congress they controlled. So he latched onto something popular in the ACA, and now claims to have protected people with pre-existing conditions.

                    Now that his true feelings towards fallen military members is out there, I wonder if he’s losing support in the military, too, nowadays. At least W would put on flightsuit for his photo op. All Mr. T could do is to tear gas protesters so he could have a photo op holding a Bible like it was the first time he ever touched one.

                    1. I know W poisoned Jeb’s chances, so why do you think Jeb even ran?? He ran specifically to tank Rubio’s campaign—the Bush family is the most powerful dynasty in America for a reason.

    4. “In my opinion, he says a lot of shit he has no intention of ever acting on”

      This is certainly a reasonable interpretation of observed behavior, but so is this:
      He says a lot of shit he WOULD do if he could figure out HOW.

    5. “In my opinion, he says a lot of shit he has no intention of ever acting on, just to watch the twitteraty’s heads explode.”

      Conservatives can remember all of that fun when the mainstream is shaping even more American progress that Republicans hate (but with which all clingers will comply).

      1. Or they can sit and fume as the owners of Twitter place more restrictions on how their stuff can be used, by whom.

    6. In my opinion, he says a lot of shit he has no intention of ever acting on, just to watch the twitteraty’s heads explode.

      He does say a lot of shit he never acts on, though I don’t think that’s the reason. Partly he’s just incompetent and has no idea what he can or can’t do, or how to go about doing things. Partly he just wants to throw some meat to his cultists.

  9. What the President Trump has done is start the ball rolling that could in the long run reduce the number and type of grants any community could get. As the administrator of the public trust if taxpayers funds are given to a state or city or county for a specific purpose and that grant is not used for that purpose then that political subdivision should lose all federal grants until it proves it will follow the requirements. But none of these subdivisions can be denied a grant until those rules are published.

    1. If your goal is to get the localities no to “defund the police”, as one of the elements of Trump’s memo claims, then defunding them is probably not the right tool in the toolbox.

  10. Exactly where is it written that the federal government must share general tax revenues with any city for any purpose?

    1. The issue is the executive doing so unilaterally.

    2. “Exactly where is it written that the federal government must share general tax revenues with any city for any purpose?”

      Anywhere that prints the appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the President. I believe the official rule is “no backsies” once he’s signed a bill.

  11. An comparison. Trump administration is threatening to treat cities that accommodate rioters in the same manner that those cities treat real estate developers. They will regulate and slow process everything the developer needs in the hopes that they can create the greatest discomfort and hurdles to the development as possible without being sued. Trump is very familiar with planners, permitters, and government agencies who will always find another round of studies and hearings to drag out the approval process to pressure the developer. In a similar vein, consider the regulatory time and hurdles for a nuke plant, a dam, or a hazardous waste facility. The anarchist supporting city can eventually get funds but, they will have to keep filling out reports, forms, and complete studies to get the funds. It’s using the federal bureaucracy against the people who use the bureaucracy to bludgeon thoughts and ideas the bureaucracy abhors.

    1. I’m not sure how much worse Trump and the clingers can make things for better Americans in the next five months. There will be plenty of quacking, though, even after the lame duck status is established to the satisfaction of everyone except Fox News presenters and fans.

    2. ” It’s using the federal bureaucracy against the people who use the bureaucracy to bludgeon thoughts and ideas the bureaucracy abhors”
      Until it’s enjoined for being arbitrary and capricious.

  12. I’m not sure I see a federalism angle to either side of this. In what world is ‘states rely on feds for money’ federalism? I mean, the feds applying more strings might mean slightly more direct federal control, but federal control was already locked in with the funds. (And conditions are inevitable once the federal government controls the purse strings, it’s just a matter of time).

    OTOH, more federal demands might finally stop making it worthwhile for localities to depend on federal funds. There’s some threshhold beyond which at least some states are going to say ‘no thank you’ and walk away. And *that* is the only pro-federalism outcome here – states cutting their dependency on federal money and telling the feds to take a hike. I can’t see a way to get there that doesn’t involve the feds ratcheting up conditions to the point its intolerable. But will this change do it? Probably not.

    1. “OTOH, more federal demands might finally stop making it worthwhile for localities to depend on federal funds. ”

      Gosh, if the feds won’t keep giving cities the “urban assault vehicles” and the money to maintain them, the cities might discover how little they actually need any tanks.

      1. Better yet, they might find that they do not need any tanks, or machine guns

  13. Obama set the precedent eith the infamous 2011 “Dear Colleague” Letter.

Please to post comments