The Federalism Project
Publications Events

The AEI Federalism Project conducts and sponsors original research on American federalism, with particular emphasis on federal and state business regulation, legal developments and the role of the courts, and the prospects for rehabilitating a constitutional federalism that puts states in competition for productive citizens and businesses. Through its AG Watch, the Federalism Project monitors and comments on the increasingly active role of state attorneys general.

The AEI Federalism Project disseminates its research results and opinions through frequent conferences and other public events; through the Federalism Outlook, a newsletter written by the Project’s Director, Michael S Greve; through its website; and through books and publications in scholarly journals.

Supreme Court Update

January 24, 2006

Court Decides Sovereign Immunity Case

posted by Will Wilson @ 10:49 am

In what was likely Justice O’Connor’s final foray into federalism matters, the court issued a 5-4 decision in Central Virginia Community College v. Katz.

Justice Stevens penned the opinion. Justice Thomas dissented, joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy, as well as Chief Justice Roberts.

January 18, 2006

A Banner Day for Federalism?

posted by Will Wilson @ 10:24 am

Yesterday, the Court ruled unanimously (8-0, with Justice Thomas sitting out) that, for the purposes of diversity, a national bank is located in the state where it has headquarters. The result of Wachovia Bank, N. A. v. Schmidt conforms to federalism principles nicely, as it precludes an interstate regulatory war fought in fifty state courts.

The Court’s decision in the highly-publicized Gonzales v. Oregon was not so clear-cut. Justice Kennedy wrote for a six-member majority that the Controlled Substances Act does not allow the US Attorney General to block the Oregon Death With Dignity Act by prosecuting doctors who assist suicide. On the face of it, this appears a victory for federalism. But appearances may deceive: the decision refrains from broad Constitutional claims regarding federal authority over the states. Instead, the opinion provides a narrow statutory interpretation that leaves to the states (rather than the Attorney General) the authority to define “medical practices” in the absence of a clear Congressional statement.

Justice Scalia dissented, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Thomas joining. Justice Thomas also wrote a separate dissent contrasting this opinion with Gonzales v. Raich.