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[Fwd: Fw: Court Strikes Down Federal Mandates Again]



Forwarded message:

> While I have not found this case decision posted anywhere but in this
> usenet posting, I have found some background info:
> http://www.rcfp.org/NMU/961216b.html

> Local Sovereignty Update
> US Court Again Upholds State Sovereignty and Strikes Down Federal =
> Mandate
> This month we have another case in which the federal courts have =
> recognized that the federal government has no authority to impose any =
> mandate on state or local government.
> Printz v. US ruled that  '[t]he Federal Government may neither issue =
> directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor =
> command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, =
> to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.'   That across =
> the board prohibition is simply being applied to various federal =
> mandates one after the other.=20
> =20
> CONDON v US,  Decided: September 3, 1998 =20
> 
> =20
> In 1994 Congress passed the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), =
> which tried to set federal standards governing how and when information =
> in driving records could be released.   The DPPA said that  "Any State =
> department of motor vehicles that has a policy or practice of =
> substantial noncom- pliance . . . shall be subject to a civil penalty =
> imposed by the Attorney General of not more than $5,000 a day."=20
> =20
> South Carolina, joined by several other states, refused to implement the =
> Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), and sued the Federal government =
> in US Court demanding that the law be recognized by the federal courts =
> as a violation of the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments to the United States =
> Constitution.
> =20
> The Fourth Circuit Court struck down DPPA ruling that
> 
> 
> "Under our system of dual sovereignty, "[t]he powers not delegated to =
> the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the =
> States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." U.S. =
> Const. amend. X. Because Congress lacked the authority to enact the DPPA =
> under either the Commerce Clause or Section 5 of the Fourteenth =
> Amendment, we affirm the judgment of the district court."
> 
> 
> The Court also stated plainly that: "Congress may not enact any law that =
> would direct the functioning of the States' executives or legislatures." =
> 
> 
> Citing the New York and Printz cases the court said that the Supreme =
> Court's ruling with respect to federal mandates "has been a model of =
> consistency."=20
> 
> Some of the more important quotes from the case follow:
> 
> 
> In New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992)  the Supreme Court =
> held that Congress could not "commandeer[ ] the legislative processes of =
> the States by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal =
> regulatory program."  ... In Printz v. US the court held "that Congress =
> cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the State's officers =
> directly." Id. at 2384. The Court went on to note that  '[t]he Federal =
> Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address =
> particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their =
> political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory =
> program.' "
> =20
> 
> "The Supreme Court, in both New York and Printz, has made it perfectly =
> clear that the Federal Government may not require State officials to =
> administer a federal regulatory program."
> 
> 
> "Although Congress has regulated the disclosure of personal information =
> by some private parties, the Constitution permits Congress to regulate =
> the conduct of individuals. In contrast, Congress may not, as a general =
> matter, regulate the conduct of the States. See New York, 505 U.S. at =
> 166 ("[T]he Framers explicitly chose a Constitution that confers upon =
> Congress the power to regulate individuals, not States." (quoted with =
> approval in Printz, 117 S. Ct. at 2377)). "
> 
> "The United States also contends that the DPPA was properly enacted =
> pursuant to Congress's power under Section 5 of the Four- teenth =
> Amendment. In light of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in City of =
> Boerne v. Flores, 117 S. Ct. 2157 (1997), we are constrained to =
> disagree."
> 
> Congress's power to enact legislation under the Fourteenth Amendment is =
> not unlimited, however. See, e.g. , City of Boerne v. Flores, 117 S. Ct. =
> 2157, 2171 (1997) (holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is =
> "a considerable congressional intrusion into the States' traditional =
> prerogatives," and that Congress exceeded its power under the Fourteenth =
> Amendment in enacting the statute); Gregory v. Ashcroft, 501 U.S. 452, =
> 469 (1991) (stating that "the Four- teenth Amendment does not override =
> all principles of federalism"); Oregon v. Mitchell, 400 U.S. 112, 128 =
> (1970) (noting that "[a]s broad as the congressional enforcement power =
> is, it is not unlimited"). For instance, Congress's power "extends only =
> to enforc[ing] the provi- sions of the Fourteenth Amendment." City of =
> Boerne, 117 S. Ct. at 2164 (emphasis added) (internal quotation marks =
> omitted). Of perhaps equal importance, it is only a preventative or =
> remedial power, not a substantive power. See id. at 2167. As a result, =
> Congress does not possess "the power to determine what constitutes a =
> constitutional violation." Id. at 2164.=20
> 
> 
> "neither the Supreme Court nor this Court has ever found a =
> constitutional right to privacy with respect to the type of information =
> found in motor vehicle records.   Accordingly, Congress did not have the =
> authority under Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to enact the =
> DPPA."


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