Utah, California v. Secretary of Transportation Essay

1198 Words 5 Pages
Significant facts In 1994, Congress pass a bill, with President approval, that withheld ten percent of federal highway funds from states who fail to penalize drug offenders by suspending the drivers license for six months. A condition the federal government placed on the grants for highway funds is states’ must suspend the drivers license for any drug conviction, regardless of severity, including marijuana possession. However, states do have the ability to “opt out” by passing their own state law stating they will not suspend drivers licenses for such violations. The clause was used by Congress in the hope that states would not want to be recognized for allowing drug offenders to keep their license, but most states opted out.
Issue
Both
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Dole, 483 U.S.203, (1987), doctrine. Utah has also brought to light there is an absence of federal uniform drug laws and sentencing for violations.
Question
1. Does Congress have the authority to withhold federal highway funds from states who fail to comply with suspending drug offender’s drivers license for six months, or failing to “opt out” by the state passing a law that specifically states they will not suspend drivers license for drug violations? 2. Does Congress intrude on the state sovereignty by requiring the state legislature and governor to debate about a particular federal regulation? 3. Does Utah fail to comply with the conditions placed upon the federal highway funds by decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, then reclassifying as a misdemeanor “burning without a permit?”
Recommendation
Firstly, Congress does have the authority to withhold federal grant moneys from states’ that fail to comply with conditions clearly indicated in the terms of receipt of such moneys. Although there is no uniform nation policy concerning state regulating and enforcing drug laws and sentencing, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution give Congress the authority to “lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general

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