The Yale Law Journal



Ghostwriting Federalism

Adam S. Zimmerman

Drawing on interviews and historical accounts, this Article explains how federal agencies help states write legislation. Even as the Supreme Court has curtailed administrative power in the name of federalism, this Article shows how agency collaborations with statehouses may further values associated…


The Right to Amend State Constitutions

Jessica Bulman-Pozen & Miriam Seifter

This Essay explores the people’s right to amend state constitutions and threats to that right today. It explains how democratic proportionality review can help courts distinguish unconstitutional infringement of the right from legitimate regulation. More broadly, the Essay considers the distinctive …


De-judicialization Strategies

Mila Versteeg & Emily Zackin

Constitutions have long been understood to empower courts. We argue, however, that constitutions can also be used to de-judicialize politics. We focus on the de-judicialization strategy of adding detailed provisions to U.S. state constitutions, and demonstrate that it has been employed throughout U.…


Tar Heel Constitutionalism: The New Judicial Federalism in North Carolina

Anita Earls

Like many other state constitutions, the North Carolina Constitution contains unique provisions guaranteeing individual rights not present in the U.S. Constitution. This Essay explores the extent to which political and civil rights in the North Carolina Constitution have been enforced by the state s…


The “Bounds” of Moore: Pluralism and State Judicial Review

Leah M. Litman & Katherine Shaw

This Essay examines a potential version of the “independent state legislature theory” (ISLT) that, were it adopted, could require states to adopt particular interpretive methods for state laws regarding federal elections. That ISLT variant, however, has no basis in history, federalism, or democracy.


Navigating Between “Politics as Usual” and Sacks of Cash

Daniel C. Richman

Like other recent corruption reversals, Percoco was less about statutory text than what the Court deems “normal” politics. As prosecutors take the Court’s suggestions of alternative theories and use a statute it has largely ignored, the Court will have to reconcile its fears of partisan targeting an…


What Are Federal Corruption Prosecutions for?

Lauren M. Ouziel

This Essay considers the role of prosecutors in the Supreme Court’s decades-long contraction of public corruption law. It examines how federal prosecutors’ reliance on broad theories of liability has paradoxically narrowed federal criminal law’s reach over public corruption, and considers how prosec…


Demoralizing Elite Fraud

Zephyr Teachout

The Supreme Court’s effort to avoid interpreting morally weighted terms like “fraud” and “honest services” has led it to make bad and confusing law in wire-fraud cases. These cases, unlike Citizens United and its ilk, are unanimous, joining liberal and conservative Justices, reflecting a shared skep…


The Stakes of the Supreme Court’s Pro-Corruption Rulings in the Age of Trump: Why the Supreme Court Should Have Taken Judicial Notice of the Post-January 6 Reality in Percoco

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

In Percoco, the Supreme Court squandered opportunities to contextualize political corruption. This Essay argues that the Supreme Court should have taken judicial notice of the post-January 6 circumstances which surround the decision. This is a perilous time in American democracy for the Justices to …


Coordinated Rulemaking and Cooperative Federalism’s Administrative Law

Bridget A. Fahey

Distilling patterns across cooperative federalism programs, this Article uncovers the distinctive cross-governmental administrative law—and the unusual rulemaking it facilitates—in our most consequential federal-state collaborations.


General Citizenship Rights

Jud Campbell

This Article explores ideas of citizenship rights from the Revolutionary Era through Reconstruction and challenges the conventional view that citizenship rights came in only two sets—state and national. It argues that Americans also widely recognized general citizenship rights, reflecting an older c…


The Limits of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act

David Horton

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act was supposed to eliminate forced arbitration of cases involving sexual misconduct. This Essay explains why the Act fails to do so. In addition, it outlines what lawmakers and courts can do to fix this problem.


Divide and Conquer? Lessons on Cooperative Federalism from a Decade of Mental Health Parity Enforcement

Caroline V. Lawrence & Blake N. Shultz

This ten-year retrospective on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) traces the law’s ambivalent track record to its merely partial adoption of a cooperative-federalist framework. Drawing from enforcement data, state settlement documents, and other cooperative-federalist statute…


Federalism by Contract

Bridget A. Fahey

Just as private parties use contracts to facilitate joint projects and nation-states use treaties to organize joint undertakings, our domestic governments use written instruments to formally coordinate their activities. This Article analyzes these distinctive contract-like instruments in which both …


Fidelity and Construction

Amul R. Thapar & Joe Masterman

Lawrence Lessig’s Fidelity & Constraint: How the Supreme Court Has Read the American Constitution makes an important contribution to “New Originalism.” This Review explores how Lessig’s theory of fidelity to role can inform an originalist understanding of constitutional construction.


Empire States: The Coming of Dual Federalism

Gregory Ablavsky

In the standard account of federalism’s eighteenth-century origins, the Framers divided government power among two sovereigns to protect individual liberties. This Article offers an alternative history. It emphasizes that federalism was a form of centralization—a shift of authority from diffuse quas…


State Courts and Constitutional Structure

Goodwin Liu

Justice Goodwin Liu of the California Supreme Court reviews Judge Jeffrey Sutton’s new book,  51 Imperfect Solutions: The Making of American Constitutional Law.



A Response to Justice Goodwin Liu

Jeffrey S. Sutton

Judge Jeffery Sutton responds to Justice Goodwin Liu’s Review of 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law.


The Past, Present, and Future of Section 1115: Learning from History to Improve the Medicaid-Waiver Regime Today

Anthony Albanese

This Essay argues that section 1115 waivers in the Medicaid program have increasingly bee misused, opening the door to ideologically motivated cuts or preconditions on coverage, and suggests a response. 


Wayfair Undermines Nicastro: The Constitutional Connection Between State Tax Authority and Personal Jurisdiction

Allan Erbsen

This Essay exposes connections between two controversial cases that unsettled two ostensibly distinct areas of constitutional law—Wayfair v. South Dakota and J. McIntyre Machinery, Ltd. v. Nicastro—arguing that Wayfair’s underlying logic warrants narrowing or overruling Nicastro. 


The Treaty Problem: Understanding the Framers’ Approach to International Legal Commitments

Jade Ford & Mary Ella Simmons

Bond v. United States failed to answer important questions about the scope and limits of the treaty power. This Comment highlights an underexplored factor driving the Framers’ formulation of that power—the threat of war inherent in all treaty violations—and its implications for Bond’s lingering ques…


The Reach of Local Power

James Horner & Christine Kwon

Recent litigation has challenged local California prosecutors’ power to seek and receive statewide relief for violations occurring outside county lines. This Essay argues against this trend and explains why it is inappropriate to apply the constitutional norms that state-versus-federal conflicts to …


An Avoidance Canon for Erie: Using Federalism to Resolve Shady Grove’s Conflicts Analysis Problem

Joshua P. Zoffer

Since the Supreme Court's tripartite split in Shady Grove, federal courts have struggled to determine whether a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure and a state law conflict under Erie. This Note proposes a novel federalism-based avoidance canon to identify such conflicts.



A Cooperative Federalism Approach to Shareholder Arbitration

Zachary D. Clopton & Verity Winship

Arbitration has begun to take a new form: mandatory arbitration provisions built into corporate charters and bylaws. The debate about the merits of arbitration is well worn, but its application to shareholder claims opens the door to a different set of responses. This Essay provides one, explaining …


Sexual Harassment Law After #MeToo: Looking to California as a Model

Ramit Mizrahi

The #MeToo movement has motivated people to speak out about sexual harassment, but many of those speaking remain vulnerable to retaliation. This Essay provides the perspective of an employment lawyer on the shortcomings of sexual harassment law and how state law can afford greater protection.


Local Action, National Impact: Standing Up for Sanctuary Cities

Christine Kwon & Marissa Roy


Over the past year, cities have emerged as crucial sites of resistance. Using San Francisco and the sanctuary city litigation more broadly as a case study, this Essay argues that cities can and should take advantage of the Constitution’s federalism protections to resist federal intrusion onto loc…


Asking for Directions: The Case for Federal Courts To Use Certification Across Borders

Michael J. Wishnie & Oona A. Hathaway

For more than a decade, the bench, bar, and commentators have disagreed as to whether judges should look to decisions of international and foreign courts for guidance in resolving disputes that appear in U.S. courts. In 2003, Justice Scalia’s dissent in Lawrence v. Texas warned darkly that…


Health Care Exchanges and the Disaggregation of States in the Implementation of the Affordable Care Act

Bridget A. Fahey

Introduction Federalism scholarship and doctrine have long viewed the states as monoliths.1 It is New York that is commandeered,2 Florida’s sovereign immunity that is violated,3 and Indiana that is coerced4—not officials, agencies, or political parties within the state, but the state…


The Sum of All Delegated Power: A Response to Richard Primus, The Limits of Enumeration

Kurt T. Lash

In his provocative article, The Limits of Enumeration,1 Richard Primus rejects what he calls the “internal-limits canon” and challenges the assumption that the powers of Congress do not add up to a general police power, such that “there are things Congress cannot do, even without refe…


Commandeering and Constitutional Change

Wesley J. Campbell

122 Yale L.J. 1104 (2013).

Coming in the midst of the Rehnquist Court’s federalism revolution, Printz v. United States held that federal commandeering of state executive officers is “fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.” The Printz majority’s discussion of hi…


Curing the Blind Spot in Administrative Law: A Federal Common Law Framework for State Agencies Implementing Cooperative Federalism Statutes

Josh Bendor & Miles Farmer

122 Yale L.J. 1280 (2013).

This Note examines whether state or federal principles of administrative law should govern suits challenging state agency action pursuant to cooperative federalism statutes. Despite the prevalence of cooperative federalism statutes, courts and scholars alike have given scan…


Intrastatutory Federalism and Statutory Interpretation: State Implementation of Federal Law in Health Reform and Beyond

Abbe R. Gluck

121 Yale L.J. 534 (2011).

State implementation of federal law is commonplace, but has been largely ignored by the interpretive doctrines of legislation and administrative law.  We have no Chevron, federalism canon, or anything else for state implementation, nor any doctrines that ask how Congress’s…


Intersystemic Statutory Interpretation: Methodology as “Law” and the Erie Doctrine

Abbe R. Gluck

120 Yale L.J. 1898 (2011). 

Do the Erie Doctrine and its “reverse-Erie” mirror require state and federal courts to apply one another’s statutory interpretation methodologies when they interpret one another’s statutes? Surprisingly, the courts have no consistent answer to this question—even though s…


Puerto Rico’s Eleventh Amendment Status Anxiety

Adam D. Chandler

120 Yale L.J. 2183 (2011).


Multiplicity in Federalism and the Separation of Powers

Josh Chafetz

120 Yale L.J. 1084 (2011). 

The Ideological Origins of American Federalism

By Allison L. Lacroix

Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 19th ed., 2010, PP. 312. $35.00.


How To Review State Court Determinations of State Law Antecedent to Federal Rights

E. Brantley Webb

120 Yale L.J. 1192 (2011). 

In Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 130 S. Ct. 2592 (2010), a plurality of the Supreme Court endorsed a judicial takings doctrine for the purpose of policing wayward state property law decisions. The plurality’s opinio…


The New Judicial Takings Construct

Timothy M. Mulvaney

[To] halt the law's evolution... would be to sever property's link to the culture it serves. In time, a static property regime would inevitably become an anachronism and would gradually be perceived as an obstacle to progressIn Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmenta…


CAFA and Federalized Ambiguity: The Case for Discretion in the Unpredictable Class Action

Michael D. Y. Sukenik & Adam J. Levitt

A statute pointedly described as an “opaque, baroque maze of interlocking cross-references” is unlikely to represent an intelligent response to a fundamental failing in one of the most complicated and divisive areas of law. Yet, the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), ostensibly enacted by Congres…


Tremors of Things To Come: The Great Split Between Federal and State Pleading Standards

Roger Michael Michalski

On June 24, 2010, the Washington Supreme Court issued its opinion in McCurry v. Chevy Chase Bank, declining to follow nonmandatory but highly persuasive federal pleading standards. In doing so, Washington State became the first state supreme court post-Iqbal to abandon the ideal of national procedur…


The States as Laboratories of Statutory Interpretation: Methodological Consensus and the New Modified Textualism

Abbe R. Gluck

119 Yale L.J. 1750 (2010). 

This Article offers the first close study of statutory interpretation in several state courts of last resort. While academics have spent the past decade speculating about the “death of textualism,” the utility of legislated rules of interpretation, and the capacity of ju…


Bankruptcy as Constitutional Property: Using Statutory Entitlement Theory To Abrogate State Sovereign Immunity

Joseph Pace

119 Yale L.J. 1568 (2010). 

In the decade following Seminole Tribe’s ruling that Article I is not a grant of authority to abrogate state sovereign immunity, scholars and courts overwhelmingly agreed that the Eleventh Amendment barred Congress from subjecting states to suit in bankruptcy proceedings…


When the Interests of Municipalities and Their Officials Diverge: Municipal Dual Representation and Conflicts of Interest in § 1983 Litigation

Dina Mishra

119 Yale L.J. 86 (2009). 

In many cases, municipal attorneys defend both a municipality and a municipal official against § 1983 claims. Some defenses available to the two types of defendants are incompatible and may give rise to conflicts of interest. This Note analyzes the problems associated with…


Uncooperative Federalism

Jessica Bulman-Pozen & Heather K. Gerken

118 Yale L.J. 1256 (2009). 

This Essay addresses a gap in the federalism literature. Scholars have offered two distinct visions of federal-state relations. The first depicts states as rivals and challengers to the federal government, roles they play by virtue of being autonomous policymakers outsid…


Federalization in Information Privacy Law

Patricia L. Bellia

118 Yale L.J. 868 (2009). 

In Preemption and Privacy, Professor Paul Schwartz argues that it would be unwise for Congress to adopt a unitary federal information privacy statute that both eliminates the sector-specific distinctions in federal information privacy law and blocks the development of str…


Preemption and Privacy

Paul M. Schwartz

118 Yale L.J. 902 (2009). 

A broad coalition, including companies formerly opposed to the enactment of privacy statutes, has now formed behind the idea of a national information privacy law. Among the benefits that proponents attribute to such a law is that it would harmonize the U.S. regulatory ap…


Medicaid and Beneficiary Enforcement: Maintaining State Compliance with Federal Availability Requirements

Jon Donenberg

117 Yale L.J. 1374 (2008).

When states accept federal funding to administer a joint federal-state program, what assurance is there that they will conform to the requirements of governing federal law? This question takes on a new urgency in the Medicaid context since the § 1983 lawsuits that have hi…


Of Property and Federalism

Abraham Bell & Gideon Parchomovsky


A Private Idaho in Greenwich Village?

Robert C. Ellickson

Should a landlord and tenant negotiating the lease of an apartment in Greenwich Village be entitled to spurn New York law and instead agree that their relationship is to be governed by the law of Idaho? Bell and Parchomovsky (B&P) apparently would answer yes. Their potentially revolutionary proposal…


Property Rules Without Borders

Stephen F. Williams

First, the good news: Bell and Parchomovsky (B&P) see federalism’s potential to foster benign competition in the production of legal rules. This vision takes federalism beyond the traditional view of states as laboratories for experiment. It looks to federal structures that create a market for leg…


The Duty To Defend

Barbara Allen Babcock

114 Yale L.J. 1489 (2005)

Through the lens of history and doctrine, combining personal narrative, memoir, and stump speech, Barbara Babcock recalls John Ely's contributions to criminal defense.


Applying Section 5: Tennessee v. Lane and Judicial Conditions on the Congressional Enforcement Power

Kevin S. Schwartz

114 Yale L.J. 1133 (2005)

Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment grants Congress the "power to enforce, by appropriate legislation," the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses. Yet in the past seven years the Supreme Court has invalidated five different laws--including three landmark civil rights la…


Overlooking a Sixth Amendment Framework

Jason Colin Cyrulnik

114 Yale L.J. 905 (2005)

As the Supreme Court further plunges the world of criminal sentencing into turmoil, state courts in particular are scrutinizing their own statutory sentencing schemes and judicial practices. Ever since the Court's holding in Apprendi v. New Jersey (recently reformulated and…


The Federalist Dimension of Regulatory Takings Jurisprudence

Stewart E. Sterk

114 Yale L.J. 203 (2004)

Federalism concerns, underappreciated in the takings literature, play an important role in shaping the Supreme Court's takings jurisprudence. The Takings Clause does not guarantee any particular property rights; instead, the Clause protects primarily against change in backgro…


What Kind of Immunity? Federal Officers, State Criminal Law, and the Supremacy Clause

Seth P. Waxman & Trevor W. Morrison

112 Yale L.J. 1943 (2003)

When, if ever, may a State prosecute a federal officer for violating state criminal law while discharging his federal duties? Over the past decade, developments in the doctrines associated with "federalism" have redefined the constitutional status of federal attempts to regu…


The Tenth Amendment and Local Government

Jake Sullivan

This Comment posits that the Constitution may well carve out a limited space for the people to express themselves and exercise certain powers through local self-government—without interference by the state. More specifically, the Tenth Amendment endows the people with the right to choose and define …


Vigorous Race or Leisurely Walk: Reconsidering the Competition over Corporate Charters

Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Assaf Hamdani

112 Yale L.J. 553 (2002)

Does American corporate law work effectively to enhance shareholder value? The recent corporate governance crisis makes this time as good as any for reexamining the basic structure of this body of law. This Essay provides such a reconsideration of a defining feature of U.S. c…


Section 1983, Statutes, and Sovereign Immunity

Nick Daum

112 Yale L.J. 353 (2002)

This Comment argues that a significant, but unnoticed, way around state sovereign immunity has become available under current law. Although sovereign immunity now generally prohibits actions against states for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a plaint…


The Law of Nations and the Offenses Clause of the Constitution: A Defense of Federalism

Michael T. Morley

112 Yale L.J. 109 (2002)

One of the most important features of the United States government as originally conceived by the Framers is that, even before the addition of the Bill of Rights, its powers were strictly regulated by the Constitution. Instead of being a supreme parliament, able to do whate…