Faux Federalism

cpThere is an interesting article in the Christian Post entitled, “The Faux Federalism Argument Against DOMA”. In it, Dr. John C. Eastman, Professor of Law & Community Service at the Chapman University School of Law, argues that the principles being used to attack the merits of the Defense of Marriage Act is a clear misunderstanding of federalism.

Proponents claims that DOMA is unconstitutional because it usurps authority over issues rightly carried out on the state level rather than the federal.  Eastman states that the federal government has always maintained certain jurisdiction in what are largely state issues within the bounds of federalism and with good reason.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

The arguments reflect a serious misunderstanding of federalism, as a simple analogy will demonstrate. Property law, too, is a core function of state governments. But every year, millions of Americans deduct from their income taxes mortgage interest paid on their primary residence. Suppose Massachusetts were to redefine “residence” to include “automobile.” Under the faux federalism argument being urged to the Court, any Massachusetts citizen would thereby be able to deduct from their federal income taxes the interest on their automobile loan, and the federal government would have no power to define “residence” for federal purposes as it had always been understood, lest it intrude on that core state power. Such a conclusion is absurd.

Clarifying the purpose and extent of DOMA:

DOMA does not force states to accept the federal definition of marriage. That would indeed run afoul of federalism principles. But it does prevent any single state from forcing its definition on the federal government (Section 3), or on any other state (Section 2). That allows each state to chart its own path, as federalism requires, but it does not allow any state to chart a path for the rest of the country. That is federalism as it should be.

Read the entire article here: