The increasingly dicey balance of legal authority between the federal and state governments got a jolt last week. The Supreme Court issued three decisions on June 23 curbing congressional power. The votes in each case were 5-4. In one of the cases, Alden v. Maine, the majority ruled against 64 Maine parole and probation officers who had been denied overtime and had sued under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, a 1938 statute meant to apply uniform wage laws throughout the nation. The opinion, coming as just the latest and perhaps most forceful statement in a string of Supreme Court rulings in recent years reining in Congress and the power of Washington, will likely reverberate for years. Below is a roundup of commentary on the case and its meaning, reported by Legal Times staff reporter Jenna Greene, as well as excerpts from the decision.

Tim Masanz, Group Director for Economic Policy and Commerce, National Governors’ Association: