Jake Curtis writes at National Review Online about state governments’ pushback against one of the Obama administration’s most controversial dictates.

The federal government’s increasingly oppressive treatment of state governments has not gone unnoticed. In fact, this treatment has prompted an interesting development. Following the Obama administration’s issuance of its May “Dear Colleague” letter relating to local school districts’ transgender-student policies, close to half of the states have made the decision to sue the federal government.

The Founders’ original understanding of federalism did not envision subservient states that exist only to serve the federal government. Nor did it contemplate overbearing states. It stood for a competitive arrangement, whereby the federal government exercised clearly enumerated powers while states remained within the sphere of reserved powers. And a competitive environment among the states ensured a limit on the growth of state government.

Unfortunately, this constitutional framework has been eroded at a frightening pace over the last seven years. As I recently noted, while the transgender letter issued by the Departments of Justice and Education is the most recent and well-known letter, the Obama administration has been very effectively utilizing federal agencies to bypass both Congress and state governments.

But since the administration’s issuance of the letter, a very encouraging development has occurred. Numerous states, local units of government, and parents have stood up and demanded the federal government defend the legal positions it has taken in the letter. And they are doing so not in the name of “states’ rights,” but in order to reestablish a constitutionally prescribed form of competitive federalism.