Wisconsin Discussion Group on Constitutionalism

Workshop Theme for 2013

The last few years have been a time of extraordinary ferment for federal-state relations, both domestically and abroad. In the United States, federalism has been at the center of high-profile public controversies over health insurance regulation, federal Medicaid grants, state legalization of marijuana, voting rights, and same-sex marriage. If anything, the situation abroad has been even more interesting and dynamic. In the European Union, in particular, economic crisis has strained relations among member states and severely tested the capacity of existing EU and national institutions to coordinate a response. These developments present an opportunity to reflect on the present state and future direction of federalism theory and practice. Among other things, discussion might focus on the relationship between federalism and partisan politics; the feasibility of decentralization in an era of unprecedented global economic integration; the disparity between federalism on the books and federalism in action, especially in times of crisis; the role of subordinate governmental units as catalysts for rights protection, environmental regulation, economic justice, etc.; and the sufficiency of "subsidiarity" or "collective action" models as guides to modern intergovernmental relations.


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