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Federalism

Journal

2015

Catholic University Law Review

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The Roberts Court And Penumbral Federalism, Edward Cantu Apr 2015

The Roberts Court And Penumbral Federalism, Edward Cantu

Catholic University Law Review

For several decades the Court has invoked “state dignity” to animate federalism reasoning in isolated doctrinal contexts. Recent Roberts Court decisions suggest that a focus on state dignity, prestige, status, and similar ethereal concepts—which derive from a “penumbral” reading of the Tenth Amendment—represent the budding of a different doctrinal approach to federalism generally. This article terms this new approach “penumbral federalism,” an approach less concerned with delineating state from federal regulatory turf, and more concerned with maintaining the states as viable competitors for the respect and loyalty of the citizenry.

After fleshing out what “penumbral federalism” is and its …