Woodrow Wilson observed in 1908 that “[t]he question of the relation of the States to the federal government is the cardinal question of our constitutional system.” “It cannot . . . be settled,” he said, “by . . . one generation, because it is a question of growth, and every successive stage of our political and economic development gives it a new aspect, makes it a new question.” The relation of the states to the federal government has been a dominant constitutional issue throughout our history covering a wide range of issues–such as enumerated and implied powers, scope of the commerce clause, taxing and spending powers, enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment, and criminal due process. In recent years none has been more important than federal preemption of state law by administrative agencies.. . .

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