South Dakota v. Dole (1987)

A federal law that would withhold 5 percent of highway funds from states that did not raise their minimum drinking age to 21 was ruled constitutional.

The Court believed it was passed in the interest of the “general good” and by “reasonable means.” In its authority under the Spending Clause, Congress had the power to attach conditions to the receipt of federal funds provided that “the exercise of the spending power must be in pursuit of ‘the general welfare.’”

The case touched on constitutional principles including federalism and limited government.