A principle of government that defines the relationship between the central government at the national level and itsconstituent units at the regional, state, or local levels. Under this principle of government, power and authority is allocatedbetween the national and local governmental units, such that each unit is delegated a sphere of power and authority only itcan exercise, while other powers must be shared.
The term federalism is derived from the Latin root foedus, which means “formal agreement or covenant.” It includes theinterrelationships between the states as well as between the states and the federal government. Governance in the UnitedStates takes place at various levels and branches of government, which all take part in the decision-making process. Fromthe U.S. Supreme Court to the smallest local government, a distribution of power allows all the entities of the system to workseparately while still working together as a nation. Supreme Court justice hugo l. black wrote that federalism meant
a proper respect for state functions, a recognition of the fact that the entire country is made up of a Union ofseparate State governments, and a continuance of the belief that the National Government will fare best if theStates and their institutions are left free to perform their separate functions in their separate ways. (Younger v.Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 91S. Ct. 746, 27 L. Ed. 2d 669 )
The Constitution lists the legislative powers of the federal government. The Tenth Amendment protects the residual powersof the states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, arereserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”