Professor John Kincaid has been asked by the National Governors Association (NGA) to advise on legal and intergovernmental issues pertaining to the efforts of governors across the country to send aid to Ukraine. Among other things, Kincaid believes that channeling humanitarian aid through existing non-profit organizations, as some governors are doing, will not be problematic but that seeking to send certain kinds of technology and equipment deemed to be of military value to Ukraine will trigger federal-law issues that should be worked out with appropriate federal agencies. He also believes that states’ Russia divestment moves will not trigger the kind of federal preemption authorized in Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council (2000) because these divestment policies are compatible with U.S. foreign policy toward Russia.
Professor Kincaid suggested that NGA seek to play an intergovernmental coordinating role between the governors and the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce. Because both Democratic and Republican governors are sending aid to Ukraine, a coordinating role would be a good way for NGA to reassert its bipartisanship in this era of political polarization.
Professor Kincaid was one of the first political scientists to examine the roles of the states and their governors in foreign affairs, and published an article on governors roles in foreign affairs in 1984.