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American Federalism: October preview

37 policies have been added to the Policy Tracker, ranging from new rules on Ghost Guns, proposals in Congress to increase access to abortion, to major court battles over American Elections. As of writing, 14 policies have been added to the State Actions tracker.


With midterm elections looming, it seems likely that Americans will be paying closer attention to major rules, regulations, and decisions that affect states and local government. Here are a few of the policies and cases we will be watching over the next 30 days:

  • The Supreme Court case Sackett v. EPA is now scheduled for October 3. The Supreme Court's decision in this case will shape how the EPA determines its regulatory jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act (CWA)

  • The Office for Civil Rights and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are seeking comment for a proposed rule entitled "Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities." Comments close October 3, 2022.

  • The Supreme Court case Merrill v. Milligan is now scheduled for October 4. SCOTUS is preparing to rule on the question of whether Alabama's 2021 redistricting plan violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

  • In August, a federal Agency Working Group released a strategy to develop standardized environmental-economic statistics to "provide a centralized domestic framework and to promote international norms." Interested persons and organizations are asked to submit comments by October 21, 2022.

  • As of writing, 17 states have proposed or adopted anti-ESG legislation. A newly released chart by Morgan Lewis law firm summarizes the anti-ESG and administrative mandates (Anti-ESG bills) proposed or adopted in 17 states.

  • The Education Department recently changed its guidance around which borrowers should qualify for student debt relief. In addition, Opponents of President Biden's student loan forgiveness have been working on a strategy to formulate opposition in courts. Although one case recently failed in court, more litigation like this could have significant federalism implications. As one observer noted, "possible litigation raises the prospect of a broader, precedent-setting courtroom tussle over the scope of the president's economic authority."

  • On September 13, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a new bill that would effectively ban abortions after 15 weeks. The legislation divided voters, and Senate Candidates in Swing States. We expect the proposal to continue to elicit strong reactions, and some on federalism grounds.

  • A legal battle over state regulation of social media is now clearly on the horizon. On September 21, The Supreme Court was asked by the State of Florida to review a US Court of Appeals decision that blocked a Florida law aimed at preventing social media platforms from suspending accounts of elected leaders. Because of these conflicting court rulings, the Supreme Court may now be in a position to review social media laws in the states of Texas and Florida.

  • In September, the Veterans Administration announced it would begin offering services "even in states where it is not legal." Look for more news and discussion of the concept of "Intergovernmental immunity,"which Constitutionally prevents federal government and individual states from intruding on each other's sovereignty.

Missing a policy? Please let us know if you would like us to add any topic to the list. If you found this helpful, please share this post and add us to your bookmarks for monthly updates on the American Federalism policy world.

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