Comparative Federalism and the Issue of Commandeering

Daniel Halberstam

in The Federal Vision

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199245000
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599996 | DOI:
 Comparative Federalism and the Issue of Commandeering

Show Summary Details


Examines the difference between the European and American perceptions of the effects and desirability of commandeering (the issue of binding commands by central government that force its component states to take regulatory action with respect to private parties) as a mechanism of central–component system interaction. Whereas the USA constitutional jurisprudence prohibits commandeering, the founding charters of the European Union and Germany permit such action. In successive sections, the chapter explores the relevant political and institutional background against which commandeering takes place in the USA, the EU, and Germany. It discusses (1) commandeering in international law and the apparent paradox in American views; (2) the formal supremacy of central law within component legal systems; (3) the ‘viscosity’ of the central legal system, i.e., the intensity of the obligation to adhere to the central legal system's norms; (4) the specificity of commands issued by central to component units of government (the directive as a limited tool of commandeering); (5) the corporate representation of component state systems within the law‐making bodies of central systems; and (6) the relative completeness and effectiveness of the levels of governance and the prominent alternatives to commandeering in each system, with specific reference to central government dependence (or not) on component state resources.

Keywords: central law; central legal system; central–component system interaction; commandeering; component legal systems; component state resources; corporate representation; directives; EU; Germany; governance; international law; law; legal systems; state legal systems; USA

Chapter.  18949 words. 

Subjects: European Union

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.