Fay Hartog-Levin : Courses and Seminars
The Evolving Relationship between the Federal Government and the States
This seminar will examine the current legal parameters of federalism, with an emphasis on the policy considerations that affect and have changed the relationship between the federal government and the states. Each session will examine a separate substantive area and use case law as a starting point for a deeper discussion on how and why the rights of the states have expanded or contracted in any given area, in the context of other political and policy changes. In this Seminar, we will examine the fundamental principles of federal and States’ power, how conflicts between the two have been resolved, how and why there has been an expansion or contraction of States’ power in specific substantive areas, and what factors can explain or predict where States’ rights might be headed in the future. The topics to be assigned include: The Foundations of Federalism; Education ( K-12 ); Elections and Voting Rights; Environmental laws; Health Care; the Legalization of Marijuana, Gun Control and Gay Marriage Rights. Students will be expected to contribute meaningfully to the discussion, with questions and answers to be predicated upon assigned readings and independent research. The underlying question on each of the selected topics will be: why is the federal government active in this area ( or has been active in this area), and should it continue to be exclusively active, given the fundamental purpose of government and the current status of public policy, politics, economics and other relevant factors. Resources will include current news articles and commentaries. Guest lecturers who have been invited include practitioners and elected officials. Seminar requirements are engaged class participation (40% of grade) and a final paper (60% of grade) on a seminar -related topic of the student’s choice. Final papers should be 12-15 pages for 2 credits; 16-20 pages for 3 credits. The last session will be devoted to students’ presentation of their topics with a short summary of what their papers will address.