Judicial Luncheon



What Should be Local and What Should be National in American Judicial Review?

Presented by: Hon. Jeffrey S. Sutton, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

One question dominates every other in American history: What should be national and what should be local? Over the last 100 years or so, we have tended to favor national answers over local ones when it comes to American constitutional law. Often with good reasons: dealing with the imperatives of the Great Depression; bringing Jim Crow to heel; addressing policy challenges that have emerged from an increasingly national and global economy. Even as we recall the reasons not to forget these chapters in American history and even as we contend with chapters still unfolding, I wonder whether, halfway through our third century, we should pay more attention to the localism side of federalism and be more patient when it comes to the nationalism side of federalism. In debates about American constitutional law, there are many ways in which our 50 state constitutions and 50 state courts have critical roles to play.