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Vanderbilt University Law School

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Constitutional Law

2012

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Can The States Keep Secrets From The Federal Government?, Robert A. Mikos Jan 2012

Can The States Keep Secrets From The Federal Government?, Robert A. Mikos

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

States amass troves of information detailing the regulated activities of their citizens, including activities that violate federal law. Not surprisingly, the federal government is keenly interested in this information. It has ordered reluctant state officials to turn over their confidential files concerning medical marijuana, juvenile criminal history, immigration status, tax payments, and employment discrimination, among many other matters, to help enforce federal laws against private citizens. Many states have objected to these demands, citing opposition to federal policies and concerns about the costs of breaching confidences, but the lower courts have uniformly upheld the federal government’s power to commandeer information …