Federalism and a state policy that was in opposition to the United States government policy. You will assume the role of a U. S. Supreme Court Justice. You will weigh the facts of the case and provisions from the United States Constitution to decide whether South Dakota policy or the United States government policy should prevail (“win”) in this situation.


The material below presents brief arguments from each side.

Federalism-a South Dakota case

South Dakota’s legal drinking age was 19 years old. Young people from neighboring states with higher drinking ages would drive to South Dakota to buy beer. Selling beer was also profitable for small businesses so that there were many business supporters of the current state drinking age.

Congress then passed a law requiring all states wanting money from the United States government to help take care of their portions of interstates to raise their drinking ages to 21. If states did not raise their drinking ages, they would lose five (5) percent of their federal highway funding.

South Dakotachallenged the federal law in court. It argued that:
*Establishing individual state drinking laws is not part of Congress’s express powers in the Constitution.

*the 10th Amendment (1791) allows states to make laws unless the U. S. Constitution prohibits states from dealing with a certain topic. There is nothing in the Constitution about drinking ages or highways.

*the 21st Amendment (1933) gives states exclusive (sole) power to regulate the use of alcohol within their jurisdictions

The U. S. Government argued that different drinking ages across states created an “incentive to drink and drive,” creating danger on the nation’s interstate highways.
*Congress is charged with promoting the general welfare of the country, which in this case means uniform state drinking laws.

*States are not forced to take federal money or to obey this law. This federal law was simply to encourage all states to raise their drinking ages.

If you were a member of the U. S. Supreme Court would you rule for South Dakota or the United States government? And why?

Begin with a one (1) sentence paragraph like this:
I, Justice [your name here] would rule in favor of [the state of South Dakota OR the United States government.

Then give your reasons for voting as you did in a longer second paragraph. Frame your reasons this way:
My arguments in favor of [which level of government] include the following:

This assignment calls for a clear, well-written sentence for paragraph one. And then in 2-3 paragraphs give your reasons in logical order.

Submit this decision of yours in an attached WORD document.



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