Federalism, the Intersection of Law and History – 6710
The relationship between 50 sovereign states and the United States. From the founding of the republic to the present day, federalism issues have vexed the American people, their political institutions, and their judiciaries. Federalism decisions are often driven as much by cultural, social, and political forces as they are by any discernible legal doctrine. This seminar will enable the student to explore how historical currents have shaped the law of federalism, and how the law, in turn, has influenced historical developments. Students will be assigned Supreme Court cases and legislative enactments to research, write about, and present to the class. The topics will look at how Americans have viewed federalism from Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 US 419 (1793)(whether individual states enjoy sovereign immunity) to National Federation of Independent Business et al. v. Sebelius, et al., ___ US ___, 132 S. Ct. 2566 (2012)(whether the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)threatens state sovereignty, and/or exceeds the power of Congress under the commerce clause).