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Published on Jul 10, 2019
How can we restore federalism today? Judge Jeffrey Sutton argues that there are many people that have the ability to use the principles of federalism: elected officials in Congress, citizens in general, law schools, judges on state courts, and others. He points out that state courts have a very significant role, in particular, in reaching decisions based on state constitutional law, though to accomplish this perhaps more law schools should better educate students about state constitutional law, which would encourage more attorneys to make state constitutional law arguments on behalf of their clients. Put another way - there are 50 state constitutions that each independently protect rights, not just one U.S. Constitution, and revitalizing that understanding is a critical way federalism can be used today to promote liberty.
Jeffrey S. Sutton sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Sutton was a partner with the law firm of Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Columbus, Ohio, and served as State Solicitor of the State of Ohio. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (Ret.), the Honorable Antonin Scalia and the Honorable Thomas J. Meskill. He is the author of 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law.
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As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.