(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

It's Not About Federalism
Federalism, state's rights, whatever you want to call it -- it's big news in the legal world these days, and in the political world. It's the buzzword of many folks on the right, who argue that it is a set of neutral principles that are merely about where political power is located rather than being a mask for a certain set of policy goals. I say "hogwash," but you knew that. Medical marijuana, tort "reform," Bush v. Gore, "partial birth abortion," on and on the list goes -- most folks on the right prefer intrusive federal government actions when those intrusive federal government actions are to their substantive liking, and don't when they aren't, and the same is true of me, I happily admit. So it's useful to show that the "federalism"/states'-rights talk is (on the part of all but a handful of people, who might actualy believe it and be willing to abide by the consequences even when they don't like them on specific policy issues) just hooey. Towards that end you would likely enjoy reading a new series of periodic reports put out by the Brennan Center at NYU, called "It's Not About Federalism," that focuses on rightwingers' departures from the putative principles of federalism when it serves their purposes. You can sign up to receive these by email at this page, and can then also view the back issues that you've missed. Highly recommended.

posted by sam 2:46 PM 0 comments


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