President Donald Trump has been insistent that he wants to reopen the economy as soon as possible. According to University of Alabama political science professor Dr. Allen Linken, Trump may or may not have the power to do so. Under the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution, the federal government has exclusive rights to regulate interstate commerce. However, states also have some say.

“Even in a world that is highly international, highly interstate, there still are certain things that the states do that are separate and distinct from the federal government,” Linken said. “While the president has exclusive authority for interstate commerce, the question is, is the health and safety of the citizens of the state interstate commerce? The court has generally said it is not. The court has generally said that what is referred to as police powers: health, safety, morals belong to the state government.”

While Trump has the ability to encourage states to completely reopen, states do have some autonomy.

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