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When You Can’t Sue the State

“Controversy over the meaning of federalism is not new. In the 1700s the nation’s founders heatedly debated the need to define and protect the position of states relative to the federal government. Throughout the 1800s Southern states repeatedly invoked states’ rights in an effort to preserve first slavery and then segregation. In the 1990s and into the year 2000, the Court has again revived debate about the fundamental nature of American federalism. Yet despite a perhaps valiant effort to develop a principled and workable doctrine, the Court has generated more questions than answers by its recent decisions.”


Anita Brown-Graham