Issues of Federalism in Response to Terrorism


John Kincaid Richard L. Cole


The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, provoked, among other reactions, considerable commentary about the future of American federalism, particularly predictions of administrative centralization. To assess the potential impact of terrorism on U.S. intergovernmental relations and the ways the federal system should respond, members of the American Political Science Association’s Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations were surveyed in late 2001. Generally, these federalism scholars believe the September 11 terrorism will have little effect on intergovernmental relations or on the U.S. Supreme Court’s state–friendly jurisprudence, and the surge in public trust and confidence in the federal government will be short–lived. The scholars tend to support a highly federalized response to terrorism, but with intergovernmental cooperation. Partisan differences among the scholars on policy options, however, mirror the party differences in Congress and the resurgence of “politics as usual” less than a year after September 11, 2001.