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Redefining Federalism: Listening to the States in Shaping "Our Federalism".


Edited by Douglas T. Kendall. 2000 L Street NW, Suite 620, Washington, D.C. 20036: Environmental Law Institute, November 2004. (202) 939-3800. ISBN 1-58576-086-2. 176 pp. $39.95 Paperback.

Redefining Federalism highlights work performed by state and local leaders in environmental fields and uncovers a broader, state-driven conception of federalism. This book poses the following question: If federalism is about protecting the states, why not listen to the states?

In the last decade, the United States Supreme Court has reworked significant areas of constitutional law with the professed purpose of protecting the dignity and authority of the states, while frequently disregarding the states' views as to what federalism is all about. The Court, according to the states, is protecting federalism too much and too little. The Court is too protective when it strikes down federal law in cases where even the states recognize that a federal role is necessary to address a national problem. The Court is not protective enough when it inappropriately limits state experimentation. Redefining Federalism argues that, by listening more carefully to the states, the Supreme Court could transform its federalism jurisprudence from a source of criticism and polarization to a doctrine that should win broad support across the political spectrum. Six authors redefine federalism and reaffirm Justice Louis Brandeis's vision of states and localities as the laboratories of democracy in Redefining Federalism.

Douglas T. Kendall is the founder and executive director of the Community Rights Counsel.
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Publication:Environmental Law
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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