South Dakota v. Dole, 483 U.S. 203 (1987) p.244
State of South Dakota brought action challenging constitutionality of federal statute conditioning states' receipt of portion of federal highway funds on adoption of minimum drinking age of 21.
The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota, Andrew W. Bogue, J., dismissed complaint, and state appealed.
Whether the 21st Amendment constitutes an independant constitutional bar to the conditional grant of federal funds.
Congress may attach conditions on receipt of federal funds. We find this legislative effortwithin constitutional bounds even if Congress may not regulate drinking ages directly.
The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, 791 F.2d 628, affirmed, and state petitioned for writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court, Chief Justice Rehnquist, held that statute conditioning receipt of highway funds on adoption of minimum drinking age is valid use of Congress' spending power. Affirmed.
We find this legislative effortwithin constitutional bounds even if Congress may not regulate drinking ages directly.
General test of spending power constitutionality:
1. the exercise of the spending power must be in pursuit of the general warefare;
2. should Congress desire to condition the States' receipt of Federal funds, it must do so unambiguously;
3. conditions on federal grants might be illegitimate if they are unrelated to the federal interest in particular national projects or programs.
Created on: Monday, September 20, 1999 at 16:20:53 (PDT)