[Tagging] Should admin_level=1 tag be applied to EU?

Alan Mackie aamackie at gmail.com
Sat Aug 1 15:18:32 UTC 2020

On Fri, 31 Jul 2020 at 19:56, Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 5:07 PM Alan Mackie <aamackie at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Many if not most of the entities mentioned in this discussion as being
>> candidates for "admin level above country" do have geographic reach
>> encompassing multiple countries, but are also limited in scope, often
>> severely. To tag such a limited body as fully encompassing a higher admin
>> level seems fundamentally flawed as a concept. If their powers were
>> expanded to have unlimited scope within that geographic area you would
>> effectively have a single larger country. Having an entity grow in scope
>> from "admin levels that includes (largely) independent countries" down to
>> admin level of a country seems counter to the general structure.
> The defining test probably has to be the power to engage in foreign
> relations with entities at the same admin_level without deferring to the
> next higher level.
> Possibly. My main thrust is that I think the top level, "doesn't formally
have to defer to anyone", should share a common admin_level.

The test as you have stated it fails in federal systems. In the US, at
> least, the plenary power to govern belongs to the States (Or to the People,
> but constitutionally this is enforced only by a requirement that each State
> have a republican form of government.)  The national government has only
> those powers that are delegated to it from the states under the
> Constitution. When it tries to exercise plenary jurisdiction (as, alas,
> we're seeing nowadays!), it tends to unfold as a constitutional crisis.
> The States are above the Federal government, not beneath it.
> The reason that this principle is not obvious from abroad is that the
> States have delegated to the Federal government the sole power to engage in
> foreign relations; a State may not engage in diplomacy abroad because the
> States have relinquished that power.  Which is why, when you arrive at JFK,
> you clear US customs and not New York's.
> Above/below is often rather fuzzy when talking about systems with
elections. An overwhelming majority of states need to ratify constitutional
amendments for them to become effective, but as states representatives form
the federal legislature that pass them anyway this seems like another path
to the same conclusion (not that requiring multiple paths is a bad thing
when it comes to big decisions). What may be relevant here is that states
that vote against an amendment in congress and refuse to ratify the
amendment when passed would still see powers transferred from them to the
federal government.

> By the way, a 'containment' test fails as well in the US.  While there are
> no municipal governments that cross state lines (there are some
> special-purpose entities that do by the consent of both states and the
> Congress, such as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey), it's not
> uncommon for a city to lie in more than one county, or a village in more
> than one township.  Having a clean hierarchy of admin_levels just isn't
> important to USAians.
> I'm OK with higher admin levels cutting across lower ones or overlapping
when they share jurisdictions. What may be useful is some way of recording
who does what in broad, "visible to the mapper", categories.

And I have Absolutely No Idea what to do with extraterritorial dependencies
> or domestic dependent nations.
> Feel free to stop reading here. I'm going off topic.
> The nearest problem case to me is Ahkwesáhsne, a territory of
> the Kanien'kehá:ka Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy that straddles
> the US-Canadian border, and whose government is recognized by neither
> state. The political situation there has deteriorated into shootings as
> recently as 1990, and sabre-rattling among US, Canadian and Akwesáhsro:non
> persons as recently as 2009. The disputes usually stem from one or the
> other large nation deciding to deny the Kanien'kehá free pratique to travel
> and trade within their own nation, requiring customs and imposts every time
> the US-Canadian border is crossed.
> I don't know how I'd map this. Do you have to pass through border
checkpoints when you enter or leave the area?
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